I, like most women with a bit of spare cash and a bit of excess flab, have a gym membership. It costs me £43 a month and it’s for a rather shabby gym that seems to be full of people I knew from school, mirror posers, and mums – although thankfully not my own.
I also, like most women, joined the gym to impress a guy. In my case, it was the Personal Trainer that I crushed on, finding excuses to go pump iron and engage in mild chitter chatter at the same time. To be fair, that was the fittest I’d ever been and, accompanied with protein shakes and a fussy diet, the best I’ve looked in a while too. Which is superficial and a waste of time and money, and of course, it totally defies the “if they don’t love you how you are, they’re not the one for you” cliché that I try to stick to, but it ended up giving me a good set of abs and a toned behind to go with, so perhaps I shouldn’t complain.
But then once I stopped caring about the PT dude, I stopped caring about the gym. I had no one to impress, so I didn’t bother.
And I must admit, now is the best I’ve ever felt.
“I like looking nice, but I always put comfort over fashion. I don’t find thin girls attractive; be happy and healthy. I’ve never had a problem with the way I look. I’d rather have lunch with my friends than go to a gym.” – Adele
Since adopting the ‘My Time, My Rules’ approach to life, I have realised there is a huge wealth of things I’d rather be doing with my time, and, because I Am What I Am (sung in appropriate drag voice, ofc), I’m going to do them instead. Simples.
Luckily I’m not too overweight, but I am rather unfit. I struggle to run around our shop to answer the phone without being a big puffing mess by the time I get there. I could give up my evenings to slave over an exercise bike, but I have far more exciting things to be doing, so who cares; I’m going to ignore the immense pressure thrust upon us by the media industries and I’m gonna love myself exactly how I am.
“So I said to the gym instructor: ‘Can you teach me to do the splits?’ He said: ‘How flexible are you?’ I said: I can’t make Tuesdays.'” – Tim Vine
The media is full of celebrities showing off about their strong workout routines, their diet fads, their addiction to green tea; that coupled with the wealth of Instagram accounts that show off lean ladies with their ample abs means the art of accepting yourself, flab and all, is proving more and more difficult.
Yet apparently, according to this recent Telegraph article, the ultimate fitness, 5-times-a-week gym fad is now on the decline. Hallelujah!
While keeping fit and being able to run through a shopping centre without losing your breath is always one to be desired, the modern woman nowadays just doesn’t have time to keep up with this unrealistic ideal forced upon us via the likes of social media. And, to be honest, who gives a crap anyway.
“Singer Gwen Stefani agrees: “This past year, I kind of stopped working out,” the 44-year-old said recently. “I think my body just needed a break. And so I did that and focused more on feeling good as opposed to beating myself up.””
Sure, looking slim is great, being able to squeeze your way into your once-upon-a-time Size 8 jeans is the dream, but to be honest, who cares. As long as you’re loving yourself and making enough time for you along the road, it really doesn’t matter. I’m not saying we should all be sat on the sofa, indulging in this generation’s obesity problems, but there’s really no need to beat yourself up over it.
“My head says go to the gym. My heart says drink more wine.”
Instead of dragging yourself to the treadmill 3 times a week, find classes that you enjoy and spend 45 minutes a week dancing to some zumba beats. Don’t turn down the pizza date, but skip the garlic bread in favour of some wholesome chicken toppings. Don’t endeavour to run seasonal marathons but embrace a Saturday shopping trip and walk miles round the shops instead. Whatever you wanna do, enjoy it! – just stop beating yourself up over it!
So stuff the personal trainer (in hindsight he wasn’t worth any of the calories I burnt away anyway), forget the treadmill, and enjoy your Friday nights with a takeaway and a glass of wine, exactly how Bridget Jones would want us to.
“And yes, I will always be a little bit fat.” – Bridget Jones