I have no doubt that a huge amount of people, especially females are always thinking of their weight. It is something that unfortunately occupies a huge amount of my thoughts throughout the day. I have always been a bit chunky, I blame swimming at an early age for that, as I always had the bigger broader shoulders than the other girls. It is also a comfort thing for me, if I am upset or that time of the month I always reach for the chocolate, I can not help that. When my triathlon training is ramped up these cravings do become worse as well as I am always hungry. I have always tried to diet and failed but when I was planning my wedding I was determined that I wasn’t going to look back on my pictures and cringe and that was such a great motivator for me, so I joined a popular slimming club and lost 3 stone in weight and I loved my pictures and how i looked on the day. The weight gradually creeped back on though, not to the same extent to where I started at but I put on around 1.5-2 stone again, with this came the unhappiness and self sabotage again, I had lost my goal, my dream which I had previously. I needed a new target to aim for and this is where the triathlons came in. I signed up for a half ironman so I was putting in the training and the weight came off again, slowly. It was only after chatting to one of my friends after this event that the big changes happened really, she had lost a lot of weight by just cutting breads, pasta, rice out of her diet, limiting fruit and sugar and just continuing with her workouts that she had done previously. She looked incredible so I thought I would give it a go, what did I have to loose! Well the weight fell off me, to the point where I actually thought it had gone too far at one point and my work colleagues were concerned for me. It didn’t help that at this point I had just split from my husband so was using the gym as a distraction.
I have been able to maintain a more healthy balance with regards to gym and food etc more recently especially during the triathlon season. Now it’s off season though and I have gained a little bit of weight but that is meant to happen, I can’t maintain the diet and training during winter like I do in the summer and during the season. It’s hard not to feel down about the weight gain though especially when the new jeans are feeling a little tighter but I need to remember that this is allowed to happen and so long as I continue to eat healthy, exercise and maintain a base level of fitness I will soon loose the weight again when things are ramped up, or at least I hope so!
One of the biggest problems I have is that when I look into the mirror I still see the big girl, the person I used to be and no matter what people say to me I still feel like a big whale! As much as I completely love my parents to death I sometimes feel they don’t realise what they say to me actually really hurts me, to the point where I have come away from meals and spending time with them and started crying my eyes out because they have made comments like how I ‘look like a lump’, that I have ‘tree trunk legs’, that I am a ‘big girl’. In fact as I am writing this the realisation of what they say and how I feel about my body probably does come from them as I do think I have tree trunk legs and that I am a big girl. They would be devastated if they knew this and maybe I am too sensitive and shouldn’t really listen to them but equally these are the people I love the most and turn to, to build me up. My boyfriend is so amazing though and he tells me all the time how he thinks I am beautiful and have a great figure but it will be a long time before I ever feel that this is true. I do think he gets frustrated with me because of this and he wishes I saw myself the way he and others do but again I can’t help but see the big girl looking back at me in the mirror. I know though that I am not as bad as I used to be, we were recently in Australia for the World age group Triathlon Championships and the athletes were asked if they wanted to be part of an interview for the BBC while out there. I didn’t think I had anything to loose so I thought I would volunteer for it, not quite knowing what exactly the interview would be about. Anyway it turned out that it was about the triathlon community, how it’s open to all shapes and sizes and that there isn’t a typical shape or age of person that competes in triathlon and about body confidence. I thought it was perfect, we were given the questions beforehand and I went about writing out my answers as I get really nervous talking to groups of people. I felt so passionately about it, this is what I love so much about triathlon, it is so incredibly inclusive of all types of people, it really is a community that is supportive and open and friendly. I talked about how in the first triathlons I competed in I wore a t-shirt over the tri suit so that people didn’t have to see my body and I could keep myself covered up but after volunteering for a few events and being more involved with the local tri club it was very apparent that no one cares, people see you for what you are doing, the achievement of completing the event and pushing your body to it’s limits, that is all that matters. The interview was fantastic and I felt very emotional watching the final product that they released. I just hope it does inspire people to take up the sport even if just one person who watched it thought, you know what if she can do it then I can, then I have achieved something pretty special, what an amazing thing it would be.