The first week of the Arctic One challenge is completed and boy am I lazy… I have found myself feeling very unmotivated (I blame the weather) and my whole week has felt it.
I started off pretty well. I went to the gym Monday. I cycled there and back plus spend a little time on the exercise bike*. Great start. I then jumped into the swimming pool for 55mins, completing half a mile before loads of kids came and spoilt the atmosphere.
*I’m not using my Fitbit while on the exercise bike as it doesn’t provide an accurate reading. Instead, I’ll take photos of the bike computer as proof.
I was at work for the rest of the week and shamefully admit that I bussed every day (in my defence, it has rained most of the week and I don’t own mudguards). My next day off was Saturday which was much more succesful. I opted to walk to the gym as I had errands afterwards but I did a further 20 mins on the exercise bike and I swam my first mile! And I completed it using nothing but breaststroke. Go me!
All in all, it’s been a very uninspired week. I am a bit shamed of myself. Lets hope I can get my butt in gear for week 2.
Cycling: 14.22 / 621 Miles.
Swimming: 1.5 / 31 Miles
Hours of exercise: 3.18 / 100
For more information on Arctic One and where you can donate money if you wish, please visit www.arctic1.co.uk
*Please be warned that this post talks about body dysmorphia and issues relating to body image and eating disorders. Please do not continue if you are fighting your own ED battle, however do get support. You got this.*
Like a lot of people in this day and age, I have fallen victim to some unhealthy habits that will forever change the way I see food and myself. 4 years on and I am virtually back to my normal ways and that nightmare is locked in a box on my mental, metaphorical shelf. The one thing that I have accepted that I will always have is Body Dysmorphia.
Back in January, I said to myself that I would healthily and sensibly trim down and look after myself by exercising more and eating less brownies. I’m quite proud of how well I have stuck to this. Though, gyms are an odd place for someone with a history like mine and the one thing I absolutely hate is the mirror walls. I don’t currently own a full length mirror so I rarely see my whole body however, when I ‘m at the gym, bright red and covered in sweat, my whole body is the absolute last thing anyone would want to see yet there is no avoiding it. I see my body differently to how I image it and it is not at all an attractive sight. I swear they put fun house mirrors in the gym just to trick us.
I do find it strange (and oddly fascinating) how our minds work and perceive things such as body image. I have definitely noticed a change in my body since joining the gym, I’m sure I have, yet my jeans aren’t any loser and the scales haven’t really moved… Then, I catch myself in the mirror and everything looks 30kg heavier than I remembered. It’s the same with clothes. How can this dress
look great, trim and sexy yet as soon as I zip it up, I turn into Mrs Doubtfire?
Is that just me?
When I’m working, I’ll go days without looking in the mirror or weighting myself and those are the times when I feel most confident. Now, I know I could easily live a life without a full length mirror and scales but I then worry that I’m viewing my body in a unatual way. When I was ill, I saw myself as being big when in reality I was anything but. Now the tables have turned and I see myself in a healthier manner but how do I know that I’m still not just trapped in an illusion that my head has created? When I see how toned my carves have gotten, I feel proud. I might even have a chocolate bar as a reward. What if my toned carfs are part of the illusion and I’m just adding chocolate to an already lumpy podge. In all fairness, this is exactly how I (and many other) gained weight in the first place. The good ol’ “one more slice wont hurt” chestnut until BOOM! It did hurt.
Maybe life is just one giant fun house and I’m currently trapped in the mirror maze.
So I was at the gym earlier today, doing ma thing (I really can’t rock the sass) and I usually finish off with a nice soak in the swimming pool. It’s always nice to spend 20 minutes just chilling in the Jacuzzi, lost in my own world.
I quite like the swimming pool. You feel light as a feather and it always gives me a fresh boost of motivation to complete lap after lap. Though, after my first session, I noticed something about my fellow swimmers. Every single one of them was doing a Breaststroke. I mean every single one. Come to think about it, both my mum and partner swim via the Breaststroke (or ‘The Frog’ as I like to call it). I can see why it’s favoured. It’s a peaceful technique, doesn’t cause too much splashing and works all your key muscles. I was never taught the way of the frog. I learnt to swim at school and we were just taught how to Front Crawl. Not sure why. I guess you could get more laps out of a session as it is a faster stroke? God knows.
As a child, swimming wasn’t my favourite sport. I have had a fear of water/drowning since before I even knew what drowning was. When my Mum used to wash my hair with the infamous bath jug, I would jump up and panic if any drop of water hit my face. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed going to the pool with my family but that was mainly for the watersides and floats. In a rare moment of fun, my Dad and I would re-enact famous movie scenes. Titanic was one of our favourites (I was always Rose on that damn door). But besides that, there wasn’t much swimming. I have been pulled out of pools countless times and even last month, I found myself struggling to resurface from a 2.5 meter deep pool at the end of a slide. It genuinely terrifies me. Because of this fear, my Front Crawl has never looked right. Typically, you are suppose to submerge your head and coming up for air every other stroke, makes you more streamline. I can’t put my head in the water without panicking so I end up looking like a dog fetching a stick regardless.
So it was years before I ever went proper swimming again and all I can really do is some form of doggy paddle or a very messy Front Crawl. I didn’t want to look stupid in front of all these gym goers so I’ve been trying to learn how to Breaststroke. I put a huge amount of emphasis on ‘trying’. Learning to swim as an adult is hard! Nothing seems to go where you want it to. It’s simple. Your arms go out like your parting the waves and your legs look like a frogs legs do. You do them at the same time and boom! You swim somehow…. Nope. After trying to swim like this for several weeks, my Partner joined me and informed me that there has to be a slight delay with my motions. My arms should part as my legs raise for another kick. So I’d been using all my effort to blend in and conform just to be told I’d spend the last 4 weeks swimming like a deformed toad.
I think I am getting the hang of it now. I can swim about half a lap before losing my confidence. That’s much further than I got with my toad technique. I’m hoping I can keep on improving, if not, I might just hide away in the steam room. I don’t think I can look like a tool in there, I hope not, at least.