CATHERINE'S JOURNEY AS A BODITONE MEMBER.
Catherine was one of the first people to become a Boditone member, she has very graciously agreed to share her journey on finding a longer term solution for her fitness. We think Catherine's story will really resonate with our members and those of you who follow us on social media. Catherine is a 37 year old mum of two, she works part time as a Research Associate, writing programmes to challenge sexism and gender inequality in schools. Catherine has flirted with her fitness goals over the years, favouring sporadic intensity over progressive longevity. She's tried kickboxing, aerobics, running, gym membership and every other class in-between. The only thing to stick is swimming, however it's not enough on it's own to stop the weight creeping back on. Catherine's fitness goals are about consistency and sustainability now, which is why she's joined Boditone.
Part Two Of My Journey.
So you know all that deeply empowering stuff I said about being fine with the way I am? Well today I'm just not feeling it. The core of my self-confidence, which stems from logic and understanding that perpetually measuring yourself next to unachievable, frankly destructive norms only serves to fester a sense of inadequacy, remains intact - however, on days like today, the distance between my actual self and my ideal self seems that much wider.
When I open that door to self doubt the illumination hits the shadows of my body image and seems to catch on every flaw. I notice the way my body seems to lack definition, even though I spent the morning swimming in an outdoor lake and my thighs still ache from the lowerbodi workout I did the day before. I think about how far I've got to go before I reach that physical 'ideal' and the sheer 'cost' of energy and time (both of which I feel a distinct lack of). I think of how many times I've worked towards shifting that weight, learning a new sport or increasing my fitness and how many times I've started again. And again. I think about that fact that I'm approaching 40. I think about the pizza and wine I've just had for tea.
It's easy to get dizzy on this negative spiral. The view becomes blurred and all those individual feelings begin to feed one another. They become co-dependent, inevitable. I can't see where one negative ideal starts and the other ends. As they swirl around relentlessly that core strength of mine (I'm talking metaphorical here. Planks are still not my friend) is blinking furiously, trying to keep the sand of self-doubt from being kicked up in its eye.
I've been here enough times to know that the sandstorm dies down eventually. I reason with myself, increasing the volume on my logical side (it's very convincing and well-informed), yet still there's the sense that I could look and be so much better than I am.
Ironically my job is all about challenging gender norms. I lead interventions in secondary schools to challenge the ideals of femininity and masculinity. I argue that stereotyping 'feminine women' as 'beautiful' and 'masculine men' as 'strong' negates the importance of intelligence in one and emotion in the other. By placing our emphasis or sense of self on one ideal, regardless of gender, we do ourselves a disservice.
As women, this ideal can stop us from celebrating our own body shape and all the other countless things about us that make us who we are. We are all so wonderfully different and I, for one, see the beauty in that. So why can't I see it in myself?
This is where gathering a community of like-minded women around you can be so important. It can be any number and of any origin. Social media connects us in an impatient, hungry way, however that doesn't mean it has no substance. The media will have us believe that women are in competition with each other. That we judge one-another on our hair, relationships, weight, status and dress sense. My experiences couldn't be more different.
A group of near strangers on the boditone Facebook page told me I was doing well when I was feeling frustrated with my level of exercise. We all regularly post to share our workouts, what we've done and how we felt and we are all met with a resounding wall of encouragement and support.
Tomorrow I'm having my first fitness test after starting up with boditone in February.
"I hope I haven't let you down" I text to Sarah (thinking of that pizza and wine)
"You could never let me down" was the reply.
Sometimes the reflection of ourselves in another's eyes is just enough to calm the storm.