I use my social media platforms and blog to share my wisdom, knowledge and personal experiences to help others. In an effort to be as relatable as I can I believe it’s important to not only share the incredible highs in my life but also some of the lower moments. We are all human, we all struggle and we all have days that are so bleak that it seems hard to imagine how to be happy again. Tune in, I’m about to tell you about one of those days.
This takes a lot of self acceptance of the situation and comfort in myself to share this experience but I feel it’s something many people can resonate with. As a dietitian I encourage my clients to use clothing and energy levels to gauge how their weight is tracking rather than scales. If they are feeling uncomfortable, and it is in line with changes to their lifestyle it’s usually a sign to focus on healthy, wholesome foods, moving the body, getting more sleep and tune into hunger/fullness cues. Just like the average Joe I want to look and feel my best, but as a professional athlete I have goals for weight and skin folds that dictate where I need to be in order to perform at my best. As much as I am striving to build muscle whilst maintaining lower levels of fat mass, it can be a tricky line to tread between being anti-diet and meeting these requirements. I have found recently that this has caused some uneasiness in my self love approach and how best to balance my want to accept myself but also the need to have a lower body fat percentage, because simply put it’s my job.
In addition to these new thoughts are the existing issues with finding clothes to fit my build. Anyone who has even a slight athletic build, can feel my pain that the fashion industry is essentially focused around skinny, 5ft 10 models and not 5 ft 3 athletes. Most of my pants or shorts are stretchy and most of my shirts need to be one size bigger to accommodate my lats, shoulders and biceps. I have one pair of jeans that are an exception to this rule. I bought them whilst overseas and they are actual denim material rather than stretchy. They are a tight fit in all my usual problem areas (i.e. thighs and butt) and have rips that match current trends of course (I’m not totally anti fashion). I wear them on occasion but really they are just my guide for how my size is tracking. This is issue number one, we will touch on this further. They are also shockingly a size 5 US/8 AUS so I wear them with this disbelief that I am also a size 8. Let’s be real, I haven’t been a size 8 since I was 14 and am a comfortable size 10. Issue number 2. Lastly these jeans aren’t even those exceptional ones that make your butt look good or hold you in. They are poor fitting for my build, uncomfortable and sit at hip level, the perfect muffin top pant. For anyone with a booty we know hip level jeans mean butt crack central. 3 key issues, so why do I persist in wearing them?
After a weekend where I was very social with my eating habits, had a hell of a time and not enough sleep, and at the start of my period (TMI sorry but necessary) I was feeling bloated, lethargic and meh about life and the way I looked. And for some reason I packed these unforgiving jeans to wear after the gym. Maybe I wanted to magically fit into them and have remarkable gratification that I was doing a good job, but all I was doing was setting myself up for failure! When I put them on I instantly felt so uncomfortable, I put on my big puffy jacket to hide my possible butt crack and tried to stifle tears in the change rooms because I was feeling ‘fat’. Ryan and I were getting lunch and he is always very receptive to my moods. I do wear my feelings on my sleeve but he soon tried to comfort my sour, sulky demeanour. After I ate some delicious, healthy food I felt a bit better but as we went back to the car horror struck. As I squeezed to sit down whilst avoiding hitting the door on the car next to me, the resistance on the rips on my quad could hold no longer and the material split apart. I also spilled my coffee. Looking back on the situation I can’t help but laugh, it was kind of hysterical that my jeans actually ripped. Poor Ryan tried to help the situation but no words could cover my clear disappointment. I cried most of the drive home feeling absolutely no self love and wondering how I would get myself out of this hole. I’m a pretty positive person so to be feeling so down heartened is always a shock to my spritely system. As soon as we got home I took the jeans off and was comforted by Ryan who of course knew exactly what to say. He said “I think you’re beautiful and I don’t like those jeans anyway. I don’t think you need to change but if you feel you do, you know how to do it”. He is a wise old Yoda my Ryan. I’d like to report to you that after some R&R I felt great, but the truth is I spent the rest of the day wallowing in self pity. I even didn’t feel like going to football training which is very unlike me but I dragged myself out there and the girls ended up putting a smile on my dile and I soon forgot how elephant like I was feeling.
The good news is that with time I managed to feel a little better about myself. I threw the jeans into the op shop pile and focused on finding a bit more love and positive thinking. This included doing things that make me happy like taking the dog for a walk, writing down my experience, cooking a delicious meal and being around my football family. Knowing when you need self care is so important but to avoid actually getting that low to begin with there are important points to remember when we are on a new path or journey. When we have change as our goal, whether it is weight loss or increased fitness or even re-budgeting we have to be patient with ourselves during this transition. For those wanting to change their lifestyle here is what I was firmly reminded of after my run in with the evil jeans:
- Stop self sabotaging! What I mean by this is knowing that a particular action or behaviour isn’t serving you and consciously deciding to do it anyway. Like wearing jeans that make you feel horrible or buying jeans that don’t fit in the first place. We have this illusion that buying items as goals will inspire us to fit into them but keeping our closet full of items that don’t fit decreases our motivation and makes us feel pretty lousy. This feeds into my second tip.
- Create an environment that fosters your change. An environment that is aligned with your goals is an easy way to create change. Examples of positive environments include keeping only healthy foods in your house, a clear budget tracker or positive affirmations in easy to see places. Whether it’s to aid your willpower, keep your goal front of mind or to help remind others of what you are out to achieve, creating a supportive environment makes transitions so much easier.
- Love yourself during the process of change. Change in any form is a long process yet we still want to instantly be different overnight. The age old saying is “it’s not about the destination; it’s about the journey”. What we learn from ourselves as we overcome challenges, become successful or decide to reroute is more valuable than achieving our goal. You need to give yourself time to transition and be positive even in the set backs. You also need to practice self love because hating yourself, being frustrated or down heartened with little progress is not going to make anything better. Be patient and kind. Recognise that any change regardless of how small is a win.
- Surround yourself with beautiful support. I am so lucky that I am surrounded by incredible people who love me regardless of what day I have had. A support network is integral for our mental health, even more so when you are developing in an area of your life. Bringing people along with your journey means you have an accountability partner, a shoulder to cry on or just someone who can help make life easier. Anyone can be your support network but try and align yourself with those who have your best interest at heart.
In hindsight my evil jean experience is actually quite funny. Even Ryan had a hilarious recount, it’s near impossible to try and comfort someone having an off day about their appearance when their jeans suddenly split, but he tried nonetheless. Next time you’re having a horrible day, remember to take some time to practice self love and positivity. If you are in the middle of a process remember not every day will be great, but like all bad days they will pass. You can make a decision to try and move forward, creating a world that will do it’s best to help you succeed. So for all of you out there who have had those days where you feel like you’re not yourself or just for no particular reason are off, I want you to have the peace to think that at least you didn’t split your jeans! As aways I hope my experience can bring a smile to your face and remind you that we are all human.
Peace, Love and Food xx