by Mel Blackwood @troubleon8wheels
I've seen one too many adverts for 'getting myself into shape' this year, and we are only 2 weeks into 2023.
It seems like any time I think about buying 'athletic' wear, my phone assumes I now want to 'get fit' and shows me a load of other adverts related to being athletic. In the broadest sense of the term, I do. I'm actually just buying athletic wear because it is stretchy and comfortable. It also makes a great second layer under my joggers at this time of year. What I am less interested in, is weight loss, and that is because any time I have been a small dress size (size 10 was my smallest) I have also been profoundly unhappy. I'm not equating small size with unhappiness, but for me, I was controlling the amount of exercise I was doing, under the guise of getting fitter or stronger, but secretly I was avoiding other more painful things in my life. The exercise provided escapism from that, for a time. Of course, I've since learned there is no escaping anything. Your past will follow you around like a shadow until you deal with it. It's hard and I needed help from friends and eventually, a therapist. If you want to know more, please read my other blog posts in this series.
This has shaped the values and beliefs I hold today. I happened to watch Dodgeball (not for the first time) the other day and of course, we all root for the underdog, as the traits in the Globo Gym characters are so wildly exaggerated.
In case you don't know the story, Dodgeball tells the tale of two gyms, across the road from each other. Average Joe's is welcoming to all, very person-centred space, although we see ageing equipment and peeling paint. Globo Gym intends to shape people into 'perfection' (I'm already triggered) and we see expensive oversized tech in luxurious surroundings and oiled bodies. Although Globo Gym appear to be a very successful business, they are still not satisfied. They intend to acquire Average Joe's and turn the space into a car park, unless AJ's can come up with a large sum of money in a short amount of time. The human spirit is an amazing thing. AJ's muster up some 11th-hour self-belief, play a sport that is new to them, win the day and their gym. A few years later, they have transformed their business into a thriving company, where all people are welcome to train in their own way. Globo Gym have meanwhile sunk into a sulky mess.
This story feels much like the beliefs I hold for RGG versus the widely held societal beliefs about body image and dieting. The why behind the body change is as important as the how. I used to just want to blend in with what I saw. I'd be comparing my real body to filtered and altered photographs, not realising that these images were all about angles, and some digital alterations! The problem is, folks who are investing in themselves and are getting active to support their physical and mental wellbeing - being purposeful in seeking out spaces to push them out of their comfort zones and grow, make new friends and learn new skills - often are less vocal on social media platforms. Our voices - the Average Joe's - get drowned out.
I'm not here to tell you what's right for you. I'm just here to share my story and let you know what wasn't working for me. I found that doing something for myself, rather than doing something because society tells me to lead to better self awareness, maintained motivation and ultimately a happier version of me!
Movement is important. Our bodies are designed for moving. Our stresses are worked out of our bodies through movement. I invite you to get up right now, and shake your whole body for 30 seconds as much as you can. Please write a comment below if you did this!
If you are thinking 'New Year, New Me', I invite you to reflect on why you think you need to reinvent yourself. What is really at the root of your beliefs around 'getting into shape'?
For Show Up To Grow readers, the online course I created for RGG will challenge how you think about learning to roller skate (it is not like any other activity I know). I'd love to give you a chance to access the materials for less, so here is a code to give you 50% off until the end of January 2023, via the Deluxe membership package. SHOWUPTOGROW