Reimagining Health & Fitness Goals
Yesterday I shared a post on Instagram which I found resonated with so many of my friends and has got me thinking about these ideas further. For the past 18 months post second birth, I have been striving to look like the right photo (12 months PP, 65kg, size 8). I have been so frustrated and upset - why can't I get back there. Sure I have had two beautiful (and very large babies), but I train super hard - I just don't understand why I can't look like that anymore?
But is skinny really the goal or has the focus shifted to healthy?
Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves as mums to ‘bounce back’ to our pre-baby body? Whether we have had our first, second or third child - your body will never be exactly the same and we should be okay with that.
Even for those who may not have had a baby, why do we put so much pressure on finding and discovering these miracle numbers on the scale that seem to be synonymous to a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow - you can keep chasing the end, but the goalposts always change and it never seems to happen.
There always seems to be a birthday, a social event or a work lunch that disrupts chasing that pot of gold. Every morning, stepping on those scales and seeing the miracle number not appearing is disappointing and often can make or break your day.
After my first baby, I found the weight ‘fell off’ and I was even skinnier than pre-baby. I tracked every single bite, I went to the gym every day and after 12 months, I was at my goal weight and I was still not happy. I looked in the mirror and I wanted to lose “just five more kg” and then I’ll be happy. I look back on photos now and I am literally a stick. There isn’t an ounce of fat on my body and I still wasn’t happy.
After my second baby, I found the weight has been slower to move. For 18 months, I have been chasing that pre-baby body that I so easily made the first time around. On social media, you can often find me sharing nasty workouts that have a lot of running, or high reps or heavy loads with a picture of me in a crop top and shorts. You’d think I was happy with where I was and shocked at how “fast” my fitness has come back.
However, for months my goal has been that 65kg mark. I am discouraged every day that I don’t see those numbers. I have consistently seen the same numbers for the past 6 months and that was frustrating me. How can my body - that I have put so much work into (training multiple times a day, following the same path as 2017) be so disloyal to me?
It was only recently while I was listening to some audio transcripts for a research project that I came across the notion of transitions. As females, we are consistently transitioning in life - whether it be into motherhood, into a new career, a new relationship or simply getting older. Therefore, why do we put so much pressure on our bodies to go back, when we are moving forward?
I found myself reflecting on my fitness journey over the past 18 months in comparison to my first post-baby journey. I am now reconsidering how we present ourselves on social media and how do I personally define “health & fitness”?
Previously, had you asked me this question, it would have been weight-related. My goals have always focused on being a certain weight and fitting into a certain size of clothes. Why? What use is fitting a size 8 pair of shorts and seeing some magical numbers on a scale that only you see every morning as a measure of success? Is that happiness?
What if we reimagined health & fitness to be just that - fit and healthy?
In 2017, I could barely bench press the bar (20kg). I struggled to press a 7kg dumbbell and I absolutely hated running. I may have looked skinny on the outside, but was I really healthy or fit?
I dreaded going to the gym, but I forced myself to move - walking multiple times a day, turning down family dinners and breaking my own meals - just to reach my "goal weight"
I finally saw these magic numbers on the scales, in fact, I even took a photo of them. You'd think I would be happy and want to maintain however, straight away thought about my next goal - 60kg.
It is now 2020, and I have decided I will no longer be chasing the above image. I am not the same person as I was in 2017. I no longer have one baby to look after, I don't sleep through the night, I work full time - we live our life at home. My life is not the same, so why should my body be the same?
I am fit, I am strong and I am healthy. Those goal weight numbers are simply that - numbers. Why does my weight matter if I feel myself getting fitter? I have changed my goals to be focused on increasing my health and fitness, rather than chasing a pot of gold - the numeric figure on the scales. I can now deadlift over 100kg, squat over 65kg, smash a WOD with a good time and in fact, I even enjoy running. I have found a love for discovering new “moves”’ in the gym and perfecting my technique.
I found that once I shifted my mentality from comparing myself to “old me” but focusing on the “future me”, the journey has become so much more enjoyable. If I don’t work out, or If I decide to have a large burger and fries for dinner, I am no longer stressing about the numeric figures raising on the scales. I am happy.
You are more than those numbers and you can’t always compare to yourself to who you were. If we are constantly comparing to our old selves or someone else’s journey that you may see on social media; you will never move forward.
Be kind to yourself. Find something you love doing and work on new goals. Whether that be increasing your weight on a squat, running 2km without stopping or just going to the gym every day.
I hate those quotes floating around social media “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”. Ahhh? that is a lie - you clearly have not had a steak and cheese pie or a cookie on your weekend. Be kind to yourself, let’s put less focus on creating our 'perfect' aesthetic goal and focus on being fit, healthy and happy.
Let’s focus on becoming strong, fit and the best version of YOU. End of the day - you are you and the only goals that should be made are for the future YOU. We transition every single day, no day is ever the same and goals should be adjusted accordingly. In the words of Natasha Bedingfield;
"Feel the rain on your skin, No one else can feel it for you, Only you can let it in. No one else, no one else, Can speak the words on your lips, Drench yourself in words unspoken, Live your life with arms wide open, Today is where your book begins, The rest is still unwritten."