The Struggle

I’ve been struggling with something lately.

Those who know me will understand that I am a bit of a control freak. Those who know me well will understand that I am also a perfectionist who is very self-critical.

Combine these two, rather charming, characteristics and add a dose of body dysmorphia and you have the perfect recipe for a bad relationship with food and weight management.

I’m not going to call what I’ve struggled with an “eating disorder” because the bad relationship wasn’t with food as such, it was with myself.

I’m not exactly sure if there is a specific point at which I suddenly decided I was fat… I just remember becoming aware of my body. I was 15. I had never ever worried about what I ate before. Mum had tried diets and spoken about them to me but never in a way that instilled them as a quick fix or something I should ever consider. I just became aware.

I was called “chubby” by a school friend but assumed they were jealous because boys fancied me and I never needed make up or short skirts to get attention.

I just became AWARE.

Aware that my body was changing and that I couldn’t stop it.

Aware that I maybe had a bit too much chub around my hips.

Unaware that this was prepubescent, I began not eating. And then eating ALL the things. Thus never losing weight. Thus getting increasingly unhappy.

Things died down in my 5th and 6th year until by 3rd year of uni. I was living with two amazing but very VERY body conscious girls who were MUCH thinner than me. Their dieting and worrying rubbed off on me in new, scarier ways and my relationship with my body deteriorated once more.

Boys still fancied me. Clothes still fitted me. I never starved myself for longer than a day. But I fucking hated the way I looked.

“Oh poor you” I hear you say. “You have a lovely figure with perfect skin what have you got to complain about?”

Nothing. But. Everything. I HATED myself.

And that is sad. I’ve spent a good 50% of my life hating my body. Which has done nothing but exist and take what I’ve thrown at it.

I read about girls who have starved themselves to the brink of death. And girls who binge in secret like I once did, and I feel desperately sad for them. Mostly because I know that it will never go away for them.

Don’t get me wrong, I kicked the arse of my self-hatred. But it still comes back. Sometimes unexpectedly.

(If you don’t know me well, I will have come across in tweets as a cocky and arrogant shit. I am, of course. But it’s mostly for show.)

Now the hard part. The part I don’t want to have to admit to and the part I know will make my mummy sad.

I have to confess that since I lost loads of weight training for the marathon (32lbs), it’s been difficult if I’ve put any back on through overindulging or water weight or hormones.

In the last 4 weeks, I have skipped meals consciously. There. I said it.

I am not using exercise to lose weight any more. But to maintain it. Which is healthy. I’d just like to make that clear.

I am writing this down so that I’ve said it publicly. I don’t want any “oh but you look amazing’s”. No. What I want is for anyone that’s reading this that has had those thoughts ever, to stop for a minute and realise that you are not alone.

And it’s ok. Not to skip meals, but to know that you’ve done it. It’s ok to accept it. But you need to work out why. And get to the bottom of it. Which is what I’m trying to do.

You’ll be told you’re stupid. And self-centred. And aren’t there more important things to worry about in life?

Probably, yes.

But to be honest there is little that is more frustrating than achieving something amazing and not being able to enjoy it because it’s just not enough.

There is little that is more difficult to manage than anger at yourself and a lack of understanding as to how to deal with this.

There is little more frustrating than hating absolutely EVERYTHING about yourself and being told you’re stupid for thinking those things.

You are, of course, perfect in your own, silly, melodramatic, slightly chubby-in-the-wrong-places way.

You won’t like hearing that. But you are.

And you are not alone.

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Wasps, Roadbiking and Ink.

It’s been an eventful 7 days.

Last Sunday, I spent the day on the very edge of my seat cheering some twitter buddies around Ironman Austria. It was a tad emotional watching the boys cross the finish line and it’s firmly cemented the goal of #IronBeanBefore35 massive well done to Nick, Mike and Dougie.

I also finally got my marathon tribute tattoo’s.

IMG_3688 - Copy

IMG_3689 - Copy

The Twentysixpointtwo is even in my own handwriting. Which is a really cool touch, and doesn’t look like a 5 year old scribbled it, as I first protested. (Thank you Jade and Claire for your input… Definitely getting a dolphin leaping over a sunset next time…. HA)

Due to fresh ink, I’m banned from chlorine for a little while which I can just about live with…… My niggly calf has also restricted running and cycling a bit too.

Not on Tuesday though.

No.

On Tuesday, I’d psyched myself up for a relaxing blast on my MTB round the trail. Only to find OH toiling away when I got home. He’d swapped my non-cleat pedals onto the cyclocross.

Once I got over the initial Bike-Tampering rage and protests of “BUT I’M NOT PREPARED”…

“Have a go on the road” he said. “It will be fun” he said.

Well.

I could JUST about cope with the weight. Or lack thereof. It’s a Ridley Crosswind and weighs about the same as my handbag sans makeup bag. I’m used to my MTB that weighs the same as a family sized hatch-back. I could JUST about cope with the almost constant and brutal headwind. I could ABSOLUTELY NOT cope with the saddle. I’m used to my lady saddle. Which is padded with ALL OF THE PADDING. I realise this is a means to an end and at some point I will need to man up and go for something lighter and less arm-chair like. But fuck. my. life. The saddle on the crosswind is Fizik I think. Which I’ve decided is French for “being repeatedly kicked in the chuff”. Because that is what it felt like. For 14 miles.

So. 1:05:26 of SHEER TERROR. I’m not scared of terrible drivers. There’s a comfy grass verge on my left which looked far more welcoming than the hell my arse was enduring. I wasn’t scared of downhill. In fact, I LOVED it!! I didn’t realise how FAST you can go on road tyres. Tremendous. I wasn’t even scared of hills.

I was scared of letting go of the handlebars. At any point. I was glued.

I was scared of the crosswinds heading across the Ballingry – Scotlandwell flats. (Ironic really that the bike is called a Crosswind. Because it’s not fun).

I was baffled by the gearing. With shouts of “YOU CAN’T CROSS THE CHAIN” coming from OH behind me each time I changed down for a hill I’d reply with “I’VE NO IDEA HOW NOT TO. WHY DOESN’T THIS COCKING THING TELL ME WHAT GEAR I’M IN?” I eventually got the hang of it. As we we’re about 1/4 of a mile from the house….

I was also scared when a freaking wasp or bee (I now know it was a wasp) flew up under my Oakley half jacket lens AND GOT FREAKING STUCK AND THEN STUNG ME BELOW THE EYE.

The entire time I couldn’t let go because of my fear of almost certain death so instead I just swore. A lot. At the buzzy stingy bastard stuck under my lens.

Eventually he wriggled free, detached his ass from my eye and fucked off.

Leaving me not being very brave at all at the side of the road.

So.

Moral of the story?

Wasps are bastards. Road Biking is terrifying. I’m NOT ready for Cleats and don’t go for a bike ride after a bikini wax.