Fitness: The Irony of Climbing This Mountain


In primary school I was a very sporty child. I was on all the sports teams that allowed for girls, even going so far as to start the girls cricket and football teams. I was Captain of the netball, basketball, cricket, football, rounders and relay teams and did dance classes. I was a gymnast. I was a cross country runner. I swam, I roller-bladed, I rode horses, I was brilliant at on the trampoline.

But two days before New Years Eve in year 6, I broke my ankle trying ice-skating for the first time. I ruptured the growth plate in my left ankle and suffered permanent damage to the ligaments.

Throughout secondary school, I participated less, unable to put too much strain on the joint without pain and further damage. I regularly sprained my ankle and slowly but surely dropped out of sports all together. The fact that I had no way to get to the extra-curricular activities helped.

I have, over the last seven years, grown less active and more… sedentary. My passion for academic pursuits manifested more intensely throughout all the weeks I had to spend first in the cast, then in bandages, supports, on crutches, bedridden, in hospital appointments and doctor’s waiting rooms. My love of gymnastics and artistic sports lessened to that of a spectator.

And now, I’m sad to say, I am an unhealthy, inactive lump who watches too much television and, my mother says, hisses at sunlight and the prospect of the outside world.

It dawned on me as I got the bus back from the train station last week that I was being just as bad as every other overweight British or American citizen; I wasn’t helping myself when I have all the resources at hand to do so. I don’t have to load my tea and coffee with sugar, or honey, or any other added sweetness. I don’t have to get the bus all the time. I mean sure, I need to get to the station very early in order to get to college on time and walking for half an hour isn’t ideal for a positive outlook on the day, but what is to stop me from strolling back? Powerwalking back? Blisters? Ha!

I am, as of February 1st, changing my life around. My New Year’s Resolutions always start a bit late, because I see January as a time of reflection. I’ve written out my NYRs, planned them, weighed whether they are realistic or not, and have decided that this is my main one. I will be healthy.

Perhaps I’m too hard on myself. My BMI reads the top end of normal and my favourite pair of jeans need a belt to hold them up. I’m not technically overweight yet.

However being surrounded by skinny people, seeing pictures of skinny people, pictures of flat stomachs and toned thighs make me want to change myself. I love my curves. I don’t love my stretch marks. I love having enough to fill my dresses. I don’t like feeling like I should be wearing Spandex.

That’s the irony of climbing this mountain; in order to get to the level of fitness and health I want to, I have to climb the mini-mountains of self-worth, emotional eating, over-eating and aversion to exercise. My physiotherapist told me that I should continue to exercise wearing the proper supports. It’s my fear of injury that keeps me from trying to do so, that keeps me from starting my trek up the first mini-mountain on my way to the Everest of perseverance.

It’s a weighted realisation (no pun intended) that, if I continue eating and living the way that I am, I won’t be happy with myself. Ever. I’m not happy now, I’m just not unhappy enough to change it yet. Wasn’t unhappy enough. Friday is the last day of the first month of the new year and I will make it count. No more full fat lattes. No more calorie-filled paninis. No more daily white chocolate cookies.

I’ll be healthier, I’ll be happier, and I have to say I’ll be a lot richer than I am. Perhaps I can use the money I spend on food, on new clothes. Perhaps I’ll be able to lose enough in a month to feel confident in a silk blouse and pencil skirt in Paris. Only time, and this blog, will tell.

See you soon,



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