Once upon a time, a long long time ago, I exercised. Every day. Really hard. I ran on treadmills. I did push ups. I went to cycling classes. In fact during my first pregnancy I continued to exercise and work out with my personal trainer at the gym doing weights. I was one of THOSE women.
And then I had my first child. And then another. And then another. And then before I knew it I’d had four babies in six years and my desire/ability/interest in exercise came to a screeching halt.
Sister, I was tired.
My days became filled with negotiating with at least one toddler with the temperament of Kim Jung Il, being woken throughout the night by someone wanting to do a wee/scared of monsters/needing to urgently discuss Shopkins, trying to walk through rooms strewn with Lego and cutting off the circulation in my hands while I lugged nine bags of groceries up the stairs purely because I didn’t want to do two trips to the car. #GoodTimes #Blessed
I want to exercise but I simply don’t have time.
I want to exercise but I have the kids with me.
I want to exercise but I’m too tired.
I want to exercise but I don’t. What I actually want to do when I have time to myself is to sit down with a cup of tea for FIVE MINUTES OF PEACE.
Bec with her son Fin. Image supplied.
Yet the fact that I rarely exercise right now weighs heavily on my mind.
It’s not because I think I’m shockingly unfit or unhealthy. I’m not. It weighs on my mind because I know that my current size 12-14 shape is deemed unacceptable by society.
We don’t live in a culture that encourages us to exercise. We live in a culture that demands we are thin. Thin. Thin and toned- even better. And if you’re not that as a woman – if you’re not ‘hot’ – then everything about you is wrong. Unattractive. Doesn’t matter what you’ve achieved. Doesn’t matter if you’ve travelled extensively or learnt 10 languages or raised $50,000 for charity or invented Post-it Notes or been an amazing colleague, neighbour, sister, daughter or mother – if you’re anything other than a size 8-10 you lose.
Well screw that. I refuse to believe that. I refuse to take that on as some kind of truth. And what that means is that every day I am in this weird sort of battle to like myself. Turns out liking yourself – or more to the point- refusing to, you know, detest yourself can be exhausting.