You know when you’re both equally excited to write about something and terrified as you don’t know how it will be perceived? Well that’s me right now with my upcoming series. At the end of last year after many months of being incredibly achy thanks to a car accident, my friend and I decided to join the gym. He wanted to do so to lose weight, and I just wanted to be able to go about daily life without constant pain. However, as soon as you start going to the gym as a plus size person, you’re hit with tonnes of questions and expectations. What is your goal? What size do you want to be? How much weight do you want to lose? It’s hard to make people understand that no matter what size I am, I will be happy with it and I’m not doing this to lose weight.
People also perceive that I am wanting to become ‘healthier’ as if I wasn’t a healthy person to start with and that probably annoys me the most. Which is why I wanted to write about my experience with going to the gym, what I’ve been eating, and obviously with being a fashion blog, what I’ve been wearing. I wanted it to be a series where plus size women could find good gym wear, where anyone could find healthier food options and where people could read and hopefully realise that you don’t have to lose weight if you don’t want to.
I thought that if I’m going to be going to the gym to work on my back, it would be pointless to eat rubbish (not that I did much before but to just cut it out completely as it never bothered me) and feeling a little hungry after looking at photos from the Clean and Lean lifestyle, I decided to adapt to that. Basically the Clean and Lean lifestyle is not eating anything processed (foods that haven’t changed from their natural state) so most of our meals normally contain a variation of spinach, cucumber, tomatoes, nuts, spring onions, eggs, salmon, chicken, tuna, prawns, broccoli, leaks, beetroot, rye bread and peppers to just name a few. My family have always ate pretty healthily, until it came to running out of food and no one could be bothered to go food shopping, that’s when we would slip. However, this time after we have all been genuinely enjoying the food, so we’ve made the effort to ensure we have the right stuff in to carry it on.
Eating non-processed food isn’t as expensive as everyone thinks as there will be a lot of food that you’re cutting which are processed, full of sugar or are deemed as ‘unhealthy’ (in large portions anyway). If anything our food shopping for 4 has been roughly the same amount if not a little cheaper and much more enjoyable. I decided to cut out fizzy pops and milk due to not really caring for them. I’ve also quit unnecessary alcohol (dates, catch ups and meals out are deemed as necessary though) and I don’t really have much sugar at all, other than what comes in fruit. Of course, if you are wanting to lose weight then these lifestyle changes can really encourage weight loss.
With the Gym I was a little worried about hurting myself further, however, now that I’ve had enough time for my muscles to rest and they’re still incredibly achy, moving is the next step for me. Being plus size and heading to the gym in January absolutely terrified me after what everyone thinks about ‘January gym goers’ and so on, you’ve probably seen and heard all the comments. Although, I imagine the gym can be a scary place for people of all sizes who are going for the first time. I must admit I was absolutely petrified, but now I’ve even been to the gym alone. I find it incredibly enjoyable and relaxing. I realised that no one is actually staring at you like you think they are, they don’t care, they’re there for their own reasons too and everyone is just getting on with it. I also like that I get to ignore my emails for an hour or two and make myself tired or sometimes more inspired before bed.
I obviously consulted a personal trainer and doctor beforehand as I’m still due an MRI scan to see what’s going on and I would definitely recommend for anyone with an injury to consult professionals first and seek advice. For myself I’ve found that for my lower back aches going on the exercise bikes with back rests, rowing machines on a low resistance, weights on the lowest levels and short walks on the treadmill are the best exercises for me. Unfortunately, being a naturally competitive person, although I’m not intending to lose weight, I have been setting mini goals at the gym but in more of a way of improving my back by doing more and more every time.
For anyone who’s tried exercising with an injury, you’ll know that it’s very easy to over push yourself which is why some days I end up even achier. Through this I can safely say that my best advice would be to take things at your own pace, don’t think you have to be that guy running next to you, or the lady who’s cycling her heart out. An understanding and non-pushy gym buddy is also great for this, but just take things easy and remember the most important thing (as long as you’ve been cleared for it) is to move.
This is just an opening introduction to my series and to put any questions at bay. I haven’t really been posting much about going to the gym until very recently due to how I know it could come across, so I hope this cleared up anything and next week I’ll be moving onto the funner things such as bras, clothes and shoes!