No Pain, No Gain

I've never been the fittest of people. After breaking my arm the day before I started secondary school, leaving me out of PE for a few months, I came to the conclusion that sports just weren't for me. Despite our PE teacher trying to get me involved, I had either "forgotten my gear", "had cramps" or "had a really heavy period". Nine times out of ten, I managed to escape getting hot and sweaty. I remember the only time I willingly did sports was when the huge trampolines were taken out of storage.

That said, I was never too worried about my health, or my weight. While not the most active of children, I was skinny as a rake. Having dodgy knees after being knocked down when I was fourteen meant strenuous activity was out of the question. Swimming wasn't my thing. I went kickboxing a few times with friends, but ended up in hospital with my knees again and had to quit pretty quickly. I tried the gym a few times, but quickly tired of watching super fit people prance around the place in lycra. This may not have actually happened, but merely my mind altering things to ensure I never returned. 

In the few years before I had Caelen, however, the weight slowly crept up. I don't weigh myself, but every time my clothes started getting tight, I'd go out and buy new ones instead of addressing the problem. I always put it to the back of my mind, saying I would lose it at some stage, but it was an issue. It affected my confidence. And instead of addressing it, I would binge on packets of biscuits and crisps, takeaways and all of the drinks on nights out.

Getting pregnant changed things for a while. I stopped drinking all those empty calories. I started eating healthier. While I already walked everywhere, I found myself walking just for the sake of it, for the fresh air, and to clear my head. Even though I was obviously gaining weight around the middle, my arms and legs were looking smaller and more toned. I started, and finished, Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred in the months after I had Caelen. Finally, I was happy in my skin again.

This day last year I was at my cousin's wedding in Galway. Where once I had worn dresses that had skimmed over my stomach and thighs, I now wore a bright blue skintight one. And for once, I felt comfortable in something that clung to every curve. For once, I didn't feel self conscious. I didn't feel the need to constantly check to see if my stomach was bulging, or if my bum looked big in what I was wearing. It felt good. I found myself shopping for more and more fitted clothes. A tight fitting top here, a pencil skirt there. A ridiculously sequinned bodycon dress.

Two months later, I found myself in a new relationship. One where, if the relationship were to continue, would have to be carried out in my house. So, weekly takeaways and bottles of wine became our thing. And with each slice of cheesy pizza and glass of lovely, lovely wine the pounds piled on. The "love stone", if you will. Although, in my case, that stone turned into two, at least.

It may come across as fat shaming, or body bashing, which it isn't. It was my confidence. I tend to gain weight on the lower half of my body, which makes me look out of proportion. I have the smallest of small chests, and when I put on weight, it goes straight to my stomach. So much, that when I do put on a couple of pounds, I have people asking me if I'm pregnant.

I'm finally taking a stand. I'm not happy with how I look anymore. While I'm lucky that I have a lovely boyfriend that makes me feel attractive each and every day (even with crazy all day bed head hair and manky pyjamas), if I don't love the way I look myself, I can't expect other people to. And so, on Wednesday evening, armed with a Couch to 10K app, a banging playlist, and the finest sportswear Penneys had to offer, I set off for the first jog of my adult life.

I'll tell you now, I failed miserably. I panted, I sweated, I would have cried if I had the energy. I couldn't finish the last two jog sessions. But I went back again last night. And this time, I finished it. It may only be thirty minutes for the first few weeks, and the majority of it is walking for now. But I'll get there. I'm determined to lose this "love stone", but I'd rather keep the love, thanks very much.

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