How I got into health and fitness (a love-hate relationship)

I have never been the kid that loved ballet, horse riding, tennis or anything to do with sports. I did take some hip-hop classes when I was little but quitted after a year or so because I couldn’t get myself to remember the moves.

I never really felt fat as a kid until we had to weigh ourselves in secondary school for a BMI test. I was 16 or so and was the heaviest of my friends, I was also the shortest one (1m60). The scales said 59,6kg (I remember that exactly) and my teacher told me that I should not get heavier than this. All of the sudden I didn’t feel like the big booty girl anymore, I felt heavy and incapable. It’s not that I was overweight I think, it’s just that I realized that if there would ever happen anything and I would have to run away, I wouldn’t be able to. I started to focus on it too much and felt like an overweight kid who had to wiggle her way through life. I will only add in a few photo’s of what I look like right now, because it feels wrong and sad to show you pictures of how I looked back then and describing them as “fat”, because I wasn’t, but I just wasn’t happy with the way I looked.

I don’t blame it on my school at all, I think it was a great thing they did weighing the pupils and making them conscious about health. This made me see things I didn’t see before. Important things. It was about my health. My gym teacher started a course we could take during our midday break where we would follow a start-to-run scheme. I applied and loved it. After the course I continued the scheme with my mom. On sunny mornings we would run to the park and back. My mom had always been into fitness and has really encouraged me over the years.

Sure, I gave up some times and didn’t go running for a month or so, but I’ve always picked it back up. I even went to the park just to run 500m. It was better than nothing right? And I was able to built that up to 5km and take part in the “Ladies Run” in Antwerp. My teacher was very proud of me, and I was too.

In the mean time I had lost some weight and had also started exercising my strength. I complained to my mum about my bloated belly (I still struggle with this) and thighs rubbing against each other whenever I walked. She gave me a scheme of ab exercises she had to do for her fysiotherapist and let me use her yoga mat. I did them consequently and really enjoyed it. I continued exercising with Blogilates (an online pilates teacher) and still do to this day (I’ll go deeper into people that inspire me health and fitness-wise in another blogpost).

To this day I still run, I still do pilates, and am going to give Bikram Hot Yoga a try.

All of this sounds very uplifting and motivating, but the road hasn’t been as smooth as it sounds. I did lose a bit of weight at the beginning but gained even more back after I broke up with my ex-boyfriend and stopped caring about it all. I felt really ugly and frustrated after a while. I didn’t know what to do anymore and felt helpless. I was working out enough (I even ran the 10 miles in Antwerp) and thought I was eating healthy but didn’t loose any weight. Looking back I think it might have been due my “very healthy” porridge-granola-caramalised banana-nut butter-breakfasts and sourdough-dates-avocado-salmon-hummus-lunches. I’m exaggerating but all in all I was just overeating “healthy” foods. I was too focussed on it and it made me really unhappy. That summer I quitted University, got accepted for the Film Academy and automatically the weight dropped off. I think it was happiness I needed. I didn’t feel like eating that much anymore. I had other things to do and on my mind. I felt very good at that point.

But then I kept wanting to loose more and more weight. Although I was happy with the way I looked I was very scared to gain weight. I really didn’t want to go back to that dark place where I felt fat. The fear of gaining weight took over my mind. I was skinnier than I had ever been and still didn’t feel happy.

When I weighed myself after New Years eve, I broke down and started crying. The thing I feared so much had happened. I-had-gained-weight. I didn’t feel like myself anymore and was so scared. Luckily my boyfriend supported me and told me he actually thought I looked healthier now that I had gained a little weight. I don’t agree, but I started realising that I needed to step away from the scales and focus on health rather than weight (so cliché right?).

I realise that all I want is to wake up energised, happy and fit. I want to be able to jump around without feeling tired or heavy. I want to be in a good mood more often.

Let me know if you’re interested in this journey and I’ll make sure to keep you posted. I’ve got so much more to tell you about my history with health and fitness and about what I’m doing right now, but I need to keep this short enough so you’d not stop reading. I’m thinking about writing about my struggle with food, people who inspire me, what I do at the gym, what podcasts I listen when I run, what I eat in a day… and way more!

Author: Jeanne

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