Yesterday marked a whole 12 months since I started my new career in the fitness industry. A full year since I walked into Virgin Active with my gym instructor qualification, wondering what the hell I’d be doing, questioning what the hell I was doing, and feeling pretty scared by the whole shabang! Yet here I am, still doing it, and not feeling quite so scared.
I didn’t leave my old job, and everything back at home because I disliked it. I loved my life, I had amazing friends around me, a good team at work and could quite happily have trundled along with it- it was safe, life was safe, my routine was safe. I knew my job inside out, I knew my hometown (and most people in it!) inside out. Sometimes this was comforting, and through recovery it was good to have such stability, but I felt I needed more. Not necessarily some high flying new career, just something different. Anorexia, and such issues, thrive off routine, it’s a vicious circle. The worse you get in the illness, the more you need the routine, the more routine you have, the worse the illness gets. So I wanted to try and push myself, see if I could actually make the London move that I’d thought about so much. And now I’m here, and it’s been a full year since I started so naturally, me being me, I’m mentally quantifying my achievements in that time.
That word, achievement, is a tough one. What is an achievement? What does it actually mean? How can you measure it? As I’ve said in recent Instagram posts, I feel I’ve been a little hard on myself of late. Only focusing on the things I haven’t yet achieved, rather than the things I have. Looking too much at the things I don’t yet have in my life, rather than the things I do. And that brilliant, happiness stomping thing called comparison- looking at those around me and comparing my life to theirs. That is NOT something to do, for a number of reasons- you don’t know that person’s actual life, you don’t know what their own goals are, you don’t know when they started. Only compare yourself to yourself. I don’t want to be in the exact position I’m in now in another 12 months, and hopefully I’ll move forward with different aspects of my life so that won’t happen.
So back to achievements. I’ve mentioned this before, but when I had CBT therapy the doctor asked me to list my achievements for the past year, 6 months and 3 weeks (or similar). I couldn’t think of anything, nothing, mind= blank. He reminded me achievements mean different thing to different people. For someone with severe depression getting out of bed was an achievement. And how true this is, it made me look at things a little differently.
When I started recovery, if that’s a thing, I could only have a cappuccino at Caffe Nero. I could only eat lunch at 1pm. I couldn’t eat out. I had to sit down with my mum and write what meals I would eat for the week, and then stick the plan to the wall in the kitchen- this could sometimes take 2hours. I weighed everything I ate. I got anxiety over tiny things. The thought of living on my own, or even going back to my own house, was awful.
I remember the first time I made a salad and didn’t weight it, huge achievement. I specifically remember the first time I ate goats cheese again, cheese had literally never tasted so good. I hadn’t eaten it for at least a year, so again, big achievement. My mum was a massive help with this as she acknowledged all these things, and that’s a huge help in itself. So back to the last 12 months, and what I’ve ‘achieved.’ No, I’m not London’s hottest PT (I have a long way to go), I’m not devoted nutrition blogger with a huge following, and I’m not training myself for an Ironman, marathon, or similar. BUT I am now a fully qualified PT and I have a handful of clients who I LOVE training. I eat out a lot, probably once a week. I go for drinks with friends and don’t fear a super scary glass of wine! I’ve made new friends, who I love. I totally changed my training, and taken the advice of someone else. I can get up in front of 15 people and instruct a class. I can have a coffee at any coffee shop I like, sometimes I even go super crazy and order a large #YOLO.
All of the above are things I wouldn’t have done 12 months ago. Progress is slow, and it’s never a steady climb upwards. There are big highs, and big lows, but the important thing is to keep going, acknowledging all you ARE doing. Yes, compare yourself, but only to yourself. You are you. The other girl, is the other girl. Who knows what’s going on in her life, focus on you, and our own achievements