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Face Your Fears, Baby!

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I know there are lots of people in the world doing amazing things every day, and the Olympics are coming to town soon – so my miniscule athletic prowess isn’t all that impressive in the grand scheme of things… But today, for the first time since I broke my knees in 2007 (actually considerably longer than that – I’ve never been particularly fit!)…

…I ran!

On a treadmill!

I’ve had the fear of doing that for years and years – not just because I couldn’t walk without dislocating a knee. When I was in school, I hated running. I’ve just got no natural aptitude for it. Plus, there are all the embarrassing things that come with being the fat girl trying to run – the jiggling boobs, the wobbling butt, the ill-fitting clothes… It’s just not a good look.

So, for the whole time I’ve been trying to get fit, I’ve avoided it.

But today, I woke up with a bit of a fire in my belly and headed out to the gym, determined to stomp into Monday. Music on, head down, I was doing my usual program on the treadmill – and then possibly one of my favourite motivational tunes ever came on. (If you’re interested, you can find it here – forgive the family plug, but she really is fabulous and it’s a great song!)

Next thing I know, I’ve got the finger down hard on the speed button and I was off! Only for a minute, mind – but I did that three times before the end of my workout. You know, rinse and repeat.

Given I thought for a very long time that I wouldn’t be able to walk without discomfort for what was looking like the rest of my life, this was no small thing for me. So you’ll have to forgive me if I’m feeling rather self-congratulatory – I haven’t yet high-fived my reflection… But give it time.

It did make me think, though, how much of both the weight loss, and the PhD, are about squaring up to ‘the fear’ and charging it head on. I know many of my fellow PhDs will be familiar with ‘impostor syndrome,’ whereby you spend your days waiting to be found out as undeserving of your place in academia – and as a fat girl in the gym, you spend a lot of time waiting for the tap on the shoulder asking you to leave. I even feel like a bit of an impostor now – I’m definitely not done being the ‘fat girl’ yet, so writing a blog about fitness seems a little bit wrong.

But these sorts of things can stop you doing what you need to do. God knows it’d be easier to just go home and live up to the stereotype with a bucket of Ben & Jerry’s, drop out of the PhD, cancel my gym membership for pizza money, yadda yadda… That would be easy.

But is easy what you want?

Remember the times you’ve kicked ass, and had that brief flash of not feeling like an impostor. Those moments, basically, where you feel like the business. Take those moments, cling to them – and then get off your ass and make them happen more often! That feeling, I think, is worth a whole lifetime of ‘easy.’

It's Not Just About Weight Loss
Motivation and Maintaining Your Goals
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Comments
  • comment avatar t4nn1e 16 April, 2012

    Another well put blog post!!!

    I’ve been thinking a lot about your message today (I’m yet to reply, sorry, as I’ve been working all day and night even after work) but, while I’m here, I don’t have gym membership, but we’ve got a cross trainer at home…

    I know I should get off my backside and go to the gym.. But, for the time being, or as a starting place at least, do you think going on the cross trainer is better than nothing?

    I can also “attempt” doing some sit ups too… Lol

    Xxxx

    • comment avatar fatgirlphd 16 April, 2012

      Absolutely! You don’t need the gym to do weight training – you can build muscle and tone up by doing things like yoga, and basic floor exercises like the plank, push ups, twisting crunches, etc. If you’ve got a cross trainer at home, you probably don’t need a gym membership anyway! xxx

  • comment avatar GoodGirlGlasgow 17 April, 2012

    You ran! That’s great. I’ve stuck to my mini goal the last few days and ran/walked another 16 mins yesterday. Like you say, it’s nothing compared to an olympian, but if you keep telling yourself that then you’re just setting yourself up to give up. I’m doing an honours degree; about to start my final year but I get that impostor feeling almost every day. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one. Keep up the great posts!

  • comment avatar Andrea @ Andrea out loud! 18 April, 2012

    So glad you followed my blog so I could find yours! I got all caught up and you have a great story! I love hearing awesome success stories that include real life struggles.
    Isnt the “healthy living” blogosphere awesome motivation and full of great people and info? I look forward to reading more of your blog!

    • comment avatar fatgirlphd 18 April, 2012

      Thank you! I’m amazed at the amazing people I’ve already found on here – in all of about three days! Can’t wait to read more about your journey, it’s really inspiring :) x

  • comment avatar nikkiinhighgear 20 April, 2012

    Well done! You deserve to be in self-congratulatory mode! It’s an amazing feeling when you do something to challenge yourself and succeed so keep it up. I started running last summer again, started with 4km runs where I’d walk and run and now I’m running in my first half marathon on May 12!

    • comment avatar fatgirlphd 21 April, 2012

      That’s amazing! A half marathon is no mean feat – good luck :-)

  • comment avatar KK 20 September, 2012

    I WAS DOING 30MINS WALK ON 5% INCLINED @ 6KM/H FOR ALMOST TWO WEEKS. ON MONDAY I DECIDED TO DO INCLINED 15MINS WALK @ SAME SPEED AND THEN TRY RUNNING FOR 25MINS STARTING FROM7.5KM/H INCREASING EVERY MINUTE UNTIL I HIT 9.3KM/H. AMAZINGLY, WEDNESDAY MORNING AND EVENING AND THURSDAY MORNING I WAS ABLE TO RUN @8.5KM/H INCREASING TO 9.5KM/H FOR 45MINS. I WONDER WHERE THE ENERGY CAME FROM BUT I AM VERY ELATED I COULD RUN THAT LONG, COS I NEVER THOUGHT I COULD. MY HEART RATE NEVER REACHED THE 152 RECOMMENDED FOR MY AGE, BUT I REMEMBERED YOUR WRITE UP ABOUT THE HEART RATE REDUCING AS YOU GET FITTER AND FITTER SO I WAS NOT BOTHERED. I CAN FEEL I AM DROPPING BUT SERIOUSLY I AM NOT BOTHERED ABOUT THE WEIGHT ANYMORE AFTER I READ YOUR WRITE UP ON THE SCALES. QUESTION, IS IT HEALTHY TO WORK OUT 75MINS MORNING AND 75MINS EVENING?

    • comment avatar fatgirlphd 23 September, 2012

      Well done – you’ve made great progress!

      It’s certainly not ‘unhealthy’ to work out for that long in the morning and the evening – just so long as you don’t push yourself too far. Make sure to take rest days and give yourself a break once in a while so you don’t suffer burnout :)

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