Appreciation

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Tuesday I was lent a car to drive for a couple of days and it really woke me up to the world a little bit, simply because it was a little bit like driving a tractor. It made me realise that I had a car that, despite breaking down, actually does a great job. Still feeling slightly down on the world I had to regain focus and move my week forward. Wednesday saw the return of the mighty Fiat Punto and on Thursday I spent the morning bathing her, washing her and treating her as if she were a brand new car. As the week progressed I moved into a new training phase for my fitness and Friday saw the most productive day of training I have had all year. I felt great, and feel like the direction of my training is finally where it needs to be heading. Today, Sunday, I woke up and looked at myself in 3 different mirrors without a shirt on and hated what I saw. I was staying at my sister’s house for the night and felt a bit better about seeing myself in a different mirror to the ones at home. Despite feeling slightly better for a different mirror I still hated looking at my body.

I’ll be honest because that is what I like to bring to this blog, and I think that honesty is more identifiable than me saying that everything is hunky dory now that I have lost weight. Mirror gauging is a bit of an obsession, the first thing that I look for is the curve in my spine which, this is mostly a genetic hyper-kyphosis, but I hate my back because it earned my the nickname of “Quasimodo” back in high school. So I’ll spend a few minutes a day trying to pin my shoulders back and think about the positioning that makes me look less like a Disney character ringing a bell in Notre Dame.

The second place I go to is my belly and 'love handles,' I know they are there and I can feel them all the time. I’m still unsure if it is loose skin or residual fat and skin from weight loss or just fat. It feels different from day to day, if I’m having a good day then it is skin, if I’m having a bad day then it is fat and some days it’ll start as fat and end as skin depending on my mood or in particular what food I have eaten. If I know that I have had a good clean eating day then I’ll go to bed feeling lean and accomplished. If I know that I have over indulged, even when I know that my body is more than capable of dealing with the extra calories, I feel fat and horrible.

These aren’t thoughts that I write about easily, they are simple insecurities that are always on my mind, especially when presenting myself as a personal trainer in an industry that is hell bent on appearance and the ‘perfect physique’.

After deciding that today was a ‘fat’ day I put my clothes on and ventured down for breakfast and shelved the insecure thoughts in the back of my mind until my next passing of a mirror. After breakfast I went out to my sister’s garage where I had been keeping some suitcases and things from when I moved house 2 years ago. I said I would go through them and take what was there. I opened the first bag and the very first thing I found was a blue zipped hoodie that I last wore in 2013. For a bit of a laugh I put it on and then suddenly realised that maybe my recent condemnation of my body wasn’t something that I should be thinking about. Take a look.

Looking at the picture one could just focus on the weight loss and size difference, I jokingly mentioned the hairline that has receded even more since the first picture on the left. Truth be told the real value in the picture is not that I am so much smaller and fitter now, it is that I am alive to tell the tale and not dead at 27 because of a heart attack or heading in and out of hospital for chest infections, shingles and surgery.

The blue hoodie made me think that it is easy to get carried away with our imperfections no matter what stage of fitness and life we are at, it seems a lot harder these days to stop and appreciate what we have. Is it healthy for me to be thinking about my appearance so much? No, I don’t believe so. Am I working on improving that aspect of my life each day? Yes. Is it safe to say that we could all appreciate our lives more and appreciate what we have, regardless of our current situation? HELL YES!

The blue hoodie and the really dodgy car that was lent to me last week made me realise that sometimes looking too far forward, comparing yourself to others and entirely dwelling on what you want rather than what is, can blur the mind and cause imbalance. I thank the blue hoodie and the dodgy car for showing up and reminding me that life is meant for living in the moment, that is why it is great.

My thoughts for you this week are to realise what you have and give thanks for having it. Whether you thank god, the universe, your parents or your pet fish, just appreciate the people around you and the life that you have to live. Then use that fuel of appreciation to take you places in the future, with good intentions and an unbreakable attitude.

Your week and your life will have ups and downs, a little appreciation or gratitude and you can feel right and ready to take on the rest of the world!

Have an awesome week, Stay Strong and Keep Moving!

B