This week is Mental Health Awareness Week in the United Kingdom, and the area of focus this year is ‘ Body Image’
As I have written throughout my blogs previously is the positive impact that walking has had on my own mental health. There is nothing better than spending 10 minutes outside in the sunshine, looking up at the beautiful blue sky hearing the birds sing.
I am a Mum of two Children, I had my first child 13 years ago this year and for years I would always beat myself up and the fact I had stretch marks, I hated the fact my tummy was no where perfect. All this negativity meant all I was doing was attacking my own skin, beating myself up for no actual logical reason. I had become a parent this should of been seen as a positive.
In 2014 I fell pregnant with my Daughter Gia, and by 2015 I had gained a lot of extra weight, some of it was the natural pregnancy gain but some of it was comfort eating because I wasn’t happy again with what I saw in the mirror .
For a few years my mental health suffered, I felt low, anxious, my confidence and ablity to love myself for the women I am, truly went out the window. I remember that random day in November when I saw the post on Facebook, ‘ Walk 1000 miles in a year’
Then out of no where I thought to myself, ‘1000 miles won’t challenge you, 5000 miles will push you mentally and physically to the limit why don’t you just give it your all and see what happens’, around the same time, one of the roads in Freshwater was closed for a few weeks, so it meant that buses would not be going that way and if I wanted to get to where I needed, I had to walk!
Hello to the start of the rest of my life. It dawned on me when I was doing the maths for my 2017 challenge that I would have to walk a half marathon a day to stay on track. I just thought this is impossible, but we all know that my sheer determination and willpower meant I hit my 2017 target 6 weeks early.
When I began my 2017 challenge I had no understanding on nutrition and what it takes to the body to sustain marathon distances on a daily basis, It was a matter of trial and error. I felt so happy when I lost my first stone in weight. By the summer of 2017 I was now around a size 8. I was loving the compliments and feedback I was getting from people.
In 2018 I continued with some serious long distance walking which also meant that my body image would continue to change further, a year later I became a size 6. I was looking in the mirror and I could see the changes all the walking had done. I felt able to stand in front of my mirror and be proud of what I saw.
However in the world we live in, there tends to be a lot of negativity still flying around. I was getting a lot of harsh comments from people. ‘ You look thin’ ‘ Your too skinny now’ ‘ Don’t loose anymore weight’
The first few times it made me feel deflated, but now I just think I’ll take on board what you think, but it is my body after all and I am happy in my own skin, I am happy with the image of my body. In 2019 I finally after 3 long years of hard work hit a 3 stone weight loss, I have to remind a lot of people when doing a lot of long distance walking it takes inches of your waistline, and that has happened to me. I also explain to people that I actually weigh what I should do for my height.
The Positives of a healthy lifestyle, long distance walking have made me love what I see in the mirror, who cares if I’ve stretch marks, who cares if I’ve a few lumps and bumps here and there, in such a short space of time I have done the impossible, and I am glad I did it. I feel confident when I look at my body image, I am always working on staying healthy and physically strong. I no longer feel depressed and deflated, the world is my oyster.