Guest Post by Dee
Hey Cranketeers, Crabby here! I'm all excited to introduce Dee from Break out the Skinny Girl with an in-the-trenches perspective on getting back into fitness when it feels anything but "easy" and "fun."
So why am I so excited to introduce Dee? Well, first off, she's very funny. And secondly, she blogs with an adorable British accent. And thirdly, she's just started a new blog which looks to be the sort Cranky Fitness readers might enjoy. New blogs need encouragement! So please, if you like this guest post (I know I did), think about clicking over to her blog and offering some support. Thanks, and enjoy!--Crabby
So when Crabby very graciously extended her invitation to guest-blog a few words, I jumped at the opportunity – I wasn’t put off at all by the hoots of hysterical laughter which the prospect of me writing an article relating to fitness drew from a handful of people (ok, from pretty much everyone I’ve mentioned it to). In my skinny girl blog, I talk about my own battle of the bulge and whilst admittedly the content is a bit light on theory, as someone who’s dieted back and forth with varying degrees of success over more years than I’m ready to admit, I’m at least a tiny bit qualified to offer an opinion.
Where exercise is concerned, I’m speaking from somewhat less than a position of strength.
I would hazard a guess that the most consistently well-developed muscle in my entire body is the one that operates my jaw – it’s definitely the one that’s had the most exercise. Don’t let the fact that it’s currently buried under a couple of extra chins fool you - if it was visible I’m sure it would look very toned indeed.
You will see from the photo at the top of the post that diet and exercise have been alien concepts to me from the earliest possible age. My mum (who ironically has never been a particularly large lady) believed that all babies should look like the Michelin man so in terms of learning about balanced eating, the odds were stacked against me from the get go.
As I moved up the year groups in school, I flirted with physical activity from time to time. I remember joining the gym club, which looked like fun and the added bonus was that the gym teacher was quite dishy. I especially remember loving my royal blue leotard – despite its tendency to get butt-munched I felt like I was in with the in-crowd you know? If ‘selfies’ had been a thing in the 70’s I’d have been all over that…I just don’t recall doing much actual gym stuff. I think I left under a cloud after yelling a naughty word when I got my head wedged between the vault and the crash mat, having changed my mind about how committed I was to the game of leap-frog once I’d already left the springboard…it wasn’t my finest hour.
And therein lies the pattern which pretty much underpins my relationship with exercise – it starts with me feeling that I should do it, then realising I don’t want to do it, but doing it anyway because everyone else seems to enjoy it. Then realising it’s more difficult than I’d thought it was going to be and giving up after the first achy muscle. Over the years I would say that’s been true of every single activity I’ve tried, with the exception of riding a bike.
I had been dating a guy who was a bit of a fitness fanatic (yeah, not exactly a match made in heaven, surprisingly it didn’t last ) and he’d arranged to hire a couple of bikes and have a day out cycling. I was dreading it, in fact I worried it might kill me off. But much to my astonishment I actually really enjoyed it – I wasn’t fit, but neither was I lugging around masses of extra weight and it felt good being out in the sunshine and the fresh air. So when we came home, although the romance with Mr Muscle came to a sticky end when he nobbled my love of cake, I bought a bike, and got really into it. It didn’t feel like exercise, it just felt like fun and it’s the first time in my life I’ve ever really enjoyed doing something physical.
You want to know where my bike is now? It’s at the back of my garden shed, probably covered in spiders.
I stopped riding it when I piled all the weight back on again. The voice in my head (excuse my language but I refer to him as the asshole because…well, he is) kept telling me how ridiculous I looked as a fat lady balancing on two wheels and how much people would point and stare and laugh when they saw Shamu setting off for a spin, so I put it away temporarily till I lost the weight again, and it hasn’t seen the light of day in the five or so years since.
So if any of you lovely people have accidentally wandered into my blog, you’ll know that I’m a woman on a mission – under all this lumpy topsoil lurks a pair of skinny knees which I am determined to rediscover. I am filled with optimism – the diet’s going well, I’m in the sweet spot right now where my willpower is holding fast and I’m very focused on getting the weight off again. Everyone talks about how it’s important to tackle diet and exercise at the same time, but just how does an out of shape fat girl catch the fitness bug and get fit?
I’ve got to be honest, I’m starting from a really low base here…I’ve got the equivalent of a whole extra person squeezed into this body. All the moving parts work ok although some of them creak a bit and most of them hurt like hell. I’ve got a red-hot poker which resides in my knee, a back which aches constantly and feet which swell up like balloons whenever I stand for too long. Not to mention the asshole voice in my head, who’s really good at reminding me just how big of a mountain I have to climb, and constantly chews my ear about whether all the effort is really worth it.
I’m thinking yes..? Which is why I’m really trying. I try and walk the dog further every time we go out, much to his delight. I’ve stopped choosing the flat route every time - it might take me a bit longer to climb up through the nature trail to the point where we can admire the view (and I might have a face like a bulldog chewing a wasp whilst I’m doing it) but I’m sure it will start to get easier. Baby steps, but steps nonetheless. It’s going to be a fair old while before I’m ready to break out the lycra, but watch out skinny girl, I’m coming to get ya!
Dee is a soon-to-be 50 year old lady who is looking forward to a fully blown mid-life crisis and descending into eccentricity as a skinny girl. Her blog can be found at Break Out the Skinny Girl. She live in Yorkshire, England and works full time; most of her writing is done in the kitchen with the dog at her feet. (The dog has also lost weight since she started blogging/dieting/exercising and is looking forward to getting back into his favourite collar).