Happy new year, my friends! I hope 2018 treats you kindly. Last year was overall a great one – ups and downs are inevitable, but try not to let the lows be the most memorable ones. I don’t personally believe that resolutions are all they’re cracked up to be – you can make changes to your life any day of the week. I used to say to myself every year, that this will be the one where I lose weight, or get a boyfriend, or manage my money, or all of the above. And when you get to the end of that year, and you haven’t accomplished exactly what you set out to do, you consider that a complete write-off. I urge you not to be so hard on yourself. Goals are great – but they’re also not everything.
If you still have Facebook – and I do question why I’m still on there when all I ever see are fucking videos and not updates in friends and families lives – you’ll know what I’m talking about when I say that I am plagued by the Memories function. For those unfamiliar, every day Facebook reminds me of what I posted on that exact day in the past ten years I have been on the site. Now, I was sixteen when I joined Facebook – which means that a lot of the early stuff is absolutely cringeworthy and appalling to my mid-twenties current self. It has moments of being quite sweet and reminiscent of some great events, but I don’t need to be reminded of all the complaining I used to do about my philosophy coursework to make myself sounds worldly and interesting.
Every New Year’s Eve, I am reminded of one particular post that I made in 2014. It was a massive year for me. I joined a gym, swapped my fat for muscle, went blonde, got a PT, ran a 5k mud race, travelled, changed my job and started dating. I felt like I’d reached my absolute peak and that my life was forever changed and #newyearnewme had actually full on worked and there was no going back. My twitter feed was full of fitness inspiration and I posted before and after selfies on my Instagram. Then, at the very end of that year, I shared my new lifestyle and improved body with my Facebook peers.
It’s been three years. Three years, and it almost feels like that girl on the right never happened. I am my before pictures. The truth is, I let my lifestyle revert: my routine of finishing work in my little town each day and walking across the street to the gym changed to driving a commute in to London that left me exhausted and unmotivated. My step in to the dating world eventually resulted in a boyfriend who is a wonderful person, bless his heart, but also a bit of a fussy eater and loves his ‘junk food’, and I let his eating habits become my eating habits without much protest. My personal trainer at the time disappeared with my money which was really just my icing on the cake.
Despite my weight fluctuating somewhere between these two pictures the last few years, I’ve tried my best to keep up some kind of regime around my unpredictable work hours – sometimes I have been really good: other times I have not. Here’s the thing: I like exercise. When I am at the gym, I enjoy pretty much every aspect of it, including being red-faced and sweaty and looking like a literal potato. I love spinning, and HIIT, and lifting weights heavier than a lot of the guys in there, and to this day I am surprised by the notion that I even know what HIIT is, and that you spin on a bicycle!?
I even got over my fear of disappearing personal trainers and found a new one who understood that losing weight was not my priority, and this is something I want to iterate to you right now – yes, I would like to lose a bit of weight, because my body is my own to do with what I please. I like the extra energy that it affords me, and I like the way I look. There’s nothing wrong with feeling that way. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to keep your fitness up. I am never going to be “thin” and even if I wanted to be, my genetics blessed me with thick, muscly thighs and massive boobs – my nanna was exactly the same (thank you nanna for my giant knockers). My goal has always been to feel happy in myself, and yours should be too. And if going to the gym isn’t going to make you happy, don’t force yourself to go. Find your own way of feeling good about yourself, even if that way is putting on a face mask and ordering a chinese…especially if this is the way!
I’ll admit openly here, I haven’t worked out in ages. Yes, I do feel some guilt about that. When I stopped going to the gym, I stopped seeing my PT, and I let that go on for so long that I’m now too nervous to get back in touch. But there lies the issue: I’m anxious to go to the gym because people might ask where I’ve been: they will notice that I have not been exercising, or eating as well as I should have been. It’s strange, because when it comes to my everyday life, I worry very little about what people think of me.
So, here lies my thoughts for the year: today is the 2nd January 2018. I set myself no resolutions like I used to. Instead, I will simply make a promise to myself: to be the best version of myself, whatever that may look like; to be kind to myself when I have moments of rockiness; and finally, to not worry about thin people judging me for being fat and happy, or about the fat community judging me for losing weight if I want to. Remember, this is your life. Be kind to yourself.
I don’t look back at ‘before’ Zoe as any less attractive than ‘transformed’ Zoe, although she definitely did. Similarly, I don’t look at myself – Zoe 3.0 – as more or less than than the previous. We’re all the same girl, at different points in her life, and in every single picture I’ve got a massive bloody smile on my face and it doesn’t look any dimmer in any picture. I haven’t always loved my body, but I strive to love it at its biggest and it’s smallest. Remember: all bodies are good bodies.
Happy 2018. Be kind. X