I’ve joined a gym. My membership doesn’t start until the end of this month, but nevertheless I have joined a gym. Its not the first time, nor do I think it will be the last time, but I have very different views and goals this time round.
Before, all I wanted was to be thin but lately I’ve been reading a lot about diet culture and coupled with my focus this year on self-love, my goals are very different.
I no longer want to be thin.
This statement is so freeing because in the past thin was what consumed my thoughts.
I thought being thin would make me happy. I thought being thin would give me more friends. I thought if I was thin I’d feel less anxious. I thought people would like me more if I was thin. I thought if I was thin I would be happier.
I thought thin would solve everything.
But I’ve been smaller than I am now and I’ve been larger than I am now, and it did not change how I saw myself in terms of beauty. In fact when I was eating well and going to the gym regularly I was also at my most depressed and anxious.
Now I’m not saying that mental health does not correlate with physical health, because it definitely does and that’s why I have joined a gym.
But focusing on numbers and on losing kilos is not healthy for my mental health.
And I’d heard that before. I had been told not to focus on numbers but I hadn’t listened.
So no longer do I want to lose weight because I want to be thin or because I think it will make me more beautiful. I am beautiful just the way I am.
But I want to be healthier so I feel healthier. So I am more in touch and in tune with my body and mind. Holistically, not just weight, not just anxiety but my health as a whole.
Yet I still find it hard to dispel the idea of being thin, we are so surrounded by diet culture, a culture where being thin is everything, that it is hard to kick those negative thoughts.
But I am working on it.
I am nervous to go to the gym, because I am nervous that it will make me fall into the trap of wanting to be something I am not, rather than focusing on health. And it made me even more nervous when I was told I would have a few personal training sessions to start with, because I think a personal trainer could be encouraging diet culture rather than encouraging me in my focus.
My dream personal trainer would not motivate me by telling me to imagine my perfect summer body or think about all the fat I want to get rid of. My dream personal trainer would tell me that I am a queen, that I am beautiful and I am strong and I am capable of doing anything.
My dream personal trainer would tell me that I deserve to be healthy. Would never say you look good now, and always make sure I feel empowered.
They would push me to be healthier not thinner. Encourage me to be proud of what my body can achieve rather than insecure about parts of me that society says I need to work on.
And encourage nutrition and balance not restriction and starvation. And not judge me when I am not as healthy as I want to be.
I know there are personal trainers like that out there and I really hope I have chosen a gym that will be supportive in helping me balance my physical and mental health.
I will keep you posted.