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  • sarabelhoula

Introduction to the fitness blog

Updated: Jun 8, 2023

It's me, hi, I'm the problem: A personal introduction, and how I relate to fitness and this blog

an empty stage, five light posts hanging from the ceiling creating a cool spotlight. The metaphorical spotlight I am shining on my fitness journey, myself and the blog.

Welcome to my introduction to the fitness blog, welcome to the (shit)show.

Gym, fitness and a healthy lifestyle are goals on almost anyone's mind at some point in their life. Navigating the whirlwind of YouTube videos, Tik Toks, Instagram reels, blogs, books and medical research, however, is a full-time job in and of itself.

No one has much time for that. I struggled, too.

Don't get me wrong, I'm still navigating the landscape. I'm not where I want to be yet. This blog is not an all-knowing database, I'm not a guru. All this is part of my learning process.

9 post-it notes arranged in a square, a sharpie and a block of post-it notes lie next to it. The background is black. Relates to writing down your goals, giving feedback and workshopping through the blog and my own fitness journey.

Maybe you yourself are on a fitness journey, or hoping to start one. Maybe you're looking for companionship along the way, for reassurance of your feelings, the ups and downs.

That's what this blog is for.

I want to share my embarrassing gym debacles, my faux-pas and the highs and lows of the journey with you. I want to use this blog to push through my own plateaus and help you do the same.

This blog should be a collaboration piece. There's always more information. There's always someone who knows something I don't. Any feedback, positive or constructive is appreciated and encouraged!

I'm taking a holistic approach to all-round health, talking about the benefits of varying practices like "Bro-Science", Gym, Ayurveda, Yoga, Chinese Medicine and Nutrition for health. Again. I'm not a healthcare professional. While I will try to support my observations with medical research, some may be anecdotal evidence and you should always take it with a grain of salt.

Here are some of my blog's key components:

  • a library of helpful Instagram / Tik Tok accounts for you to follow

  • a database of useful apps + websites for your health journey

  • a list of my most embarrassing gym moments, to make you feel less alone

  • book recommendations

Topics that will be tackled:

  • Staying healthy on a budget

  • Fitness and fasting

  • The FitnessGram Pacer Test (this is a joke)

  • Ayurvedic practises

  • Skincare advice

  • How to get started on your fitness journey

a mirror in a white, sunlit room, it shines a reflection on the ceiling. Relates to reflecting on myself on the workout and gym journey, and on the events that made me want to live a healthier, holistic lifestyle.

Like most women, I have struggled with body image from a young age. I was an active kiddo and eating didn't interest me as much as running around and playing with friends. My family often pointed out how skinny I was or joked that they could see my bones.

It's important to note that I wasn't unhealthy. I wasn't anorexic.

While today I understand these comments had been born out of worry, my younger self took them to heart. I internalised the thought that in order to be loved, I would need to look a certain way.

I forced myself to eat more, binging on chocolate because I heard it 'makes people fat'. When I hit puberty, the binging came to haunt me. I gained a significant amount of weight and became what some consider "chubby".

Unfortunately, this was also the age myself and other kids around me became aware of (our) body images. The very age everyone wanted to be skinny, like I used to be. I wasn't exactly bullied for my body. But I saw how friends of mine were bullied for theirs.

The subliminal messages kids sent to one another echoed the rule I internalised as a kid: If you want to be loved, you have to look a certain way. Only now the beauty standard had shifted and 'chubby' wouldn't cut it anymore.

I joined my first gym. Knowing absolutely nothing about gyms but being too proud to be shown around my one of the trainers. Every day after school, I went to the gym to hop on the treadmill for an hour or two. I hated running, so I exclusively did incline walks. I was obsessed with the number on the monitor. I switched to the calorie counter every 5 minutes to check my progress.

It reached a point where I got so exhausted from long school hours and the treadmill without adequate nutrition, I would doze off during my incline walks. And, surprise, surprise. Not lose a single pound.

Not seeing any progress, I quit the gym about 3 months in. Since then I had had an on-off relationship with fitness, and more importantly, food. I thought about food day and night, thought about snacks and chocolate and telling myself atrocities when I ended up indulging. I felt guilty for just about anything I put into my body. I would still bing sweets, to the point of feeling sick, and yet I couldn't stop.

It wasn't until I discovered the book I Quit Sugar that I broke the addiction. I stopped worrying about food day in and day out. I felt good about the things I put in my body, felt good about myself. At the same time, I had become totalitarian. A killjoy. I'd say things to my friends like: "I don't eat chocolate, it has so much sugar." Sitting on my high horse and making other people feel horrible about their choices.

Total restriction never works. I inevitably reintroduced sugar back into my diet but thankfully I always had control over it. A little later down the line, I met my partner, a personal trainer and medical student. He introduced me to healthy ways of tracking calories without losing my mind over every single digit. He created workout plans for me, helped me with meal preps. He is the reason I fell in love with the fitness journey and let go of chasing an arbitrary goal.

Again, the journey since then hasn't been linear. It's messy but I have set the groundwork. Found the joy in doing, rather than ticking off my checklist.

I'm back now and here to stay.

And I'm hoping you're with me.

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