What would you try…

if you had no fear?

what would you doI went dragon boating this morning for the first time. It was one of those sparkling Sydney mornings… sun shining, clear blue sky, a slight chill in the air. It was great to be up and alive.

And, turns out, dragon boating is fun. I went with a group of girls from work – but there were 16 other people in the boat with us, all newbies. We weren’t good enough to win any races, but there we were, down in Blackwattle Bay, sun shining down on us, out amongst the tinnies, the rowers, the other dragon boats and a luxury yacht or two, splashing around, having fun.

It made me think how much losing weight and getting fit and healthy has given me. Before I started working out and lost weight, I used to avoid outings like this. It doesn’t stop everyone, but it used to stop me. I was always fearful of embarrassing myself, or being too fat to do something, too unfit to last the length of whatever it was. I would never have said yes to going along.

I used to live with a really high level of background stress. I don’t think I ever really acknowledged it, but I was worried about stuff all the time. Would the seatbelt fit on the plane? Would I be able to get out of the full restaurant without knocking someone’s table? Would I fit in the space?

And that was just the physical stuff. The amount of thought I gave to what other people thought of me was ridiculous. Were they looking at me as I pulled the seatbelt around myself? Were they judging me if I ate the cake?

It probably shouldn’t be like that – certainly no-one should be judging anyone on how they look, and if I had a better self-esteem, maybe I wouldn’t have felt so constrained by it. But being fat made me feel I was able to participate in life less. It made me put off so many things, it made me fearful, it made me anxious. It made me delay life, and have less fun.

Probably the thing I was most fearful about was really putting in the effort to actually lose weight and get fit and healthy. Because what if I tried really hard, and I couldn’t do it. What would that mean? At least if I hadn’t really tried, I could always give it another go. So I didn’t. For a really long time.

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What I know now is I CAN do it. It was not easy – there are many days when it still isn’t. But I can do it. And I can keep doing it.

Losing weight has given me so much. I feel like I’ve been given a whole new chance with life, and I want it all. I want to run, I want to lift, I want to dragon boat, I want to play tennis, to snorkle, to swim, to ride my bike… to do ALL the things! And being fit means I actually can, most of the time.  And the thing is – that’s a great motivator to keep doing the other stuff – the working out, the eating right – because the trade off is everything else I get to do.

The new normal is the me who gets out of bed to train – even on the days I don’t really feel like it. The new normal is the one who thinks consciously about what she eats. And today, the new normal feels great. The only regret – and I try not to focus on regret – is that I didn’t do it sooner.

There’s more of me on twitter!

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