A short (and premature) update about mirrors and self- perception

Isn’t it amazing how much seeing our reflection can make a difference to our perception of ourselves?

Last night was my first pole class at my new studio. While there were very few mirrors, the ones that existed definitely made everyone look wider than they were. For someone who used to suffer an eating disorder and is trying to banish fat, this was definitely not a very encouraging or beneficial thing to see.

I am in the process of avoiding mirrors because I always expect to see instant results and I don’t want my perception of “progress” to be wholly judged by my appearance. So when I see myself, looking the same as always after doing a hard workout, I often become demotivated and binge or give up. Which is totally counter productive. So in order to avoid this phenomenon, I am trying to avoid mirrors.

In fact this “mirror disappointment” was so strong that a couple of months ago, I quit my gym membership over it. I was finding that every time I went to the gym, I would go home and binge, but if I worked out from home then I would be fine. I eventually managed to figure out that it was the “mirror disappointment” phenomenon that was causing it. It was made even worse by the fact that other people in the room were skinnier/ more toned etc.

The main problem is though, not the mirror, but my perception. I always perceive myself as larger than I am and so while at that time I saw myself as a huge fat walrus, it couldn’t have been further from the truth. Retrospectively I realised that I really looked quite good.

me at gym

Unfortunately, my eyes and mirrors don’t really get along so I needed to take drastic measures and avoid them (at least when partially clothed) most of the time!

So here I was, working out from home and enjoying myself and I went to the pole studio and BAM! fat. fat everywhere. (even though most likely that is not what I look like)

So I know I am just going to have ‘woman up’ in a highly feministic (note: I am not a feminazi) pole dancer way. My stage name is “iron lady” afterall.

The mirror doesn’t matter. It’s what goes on behind the scenes that matters. If your body is healthy then your reflection will show it. But health doesn’t necessarily mean what is ‘in vogue’ as far as bodies are concerned. Health for one person could be overweight, underweight or ‘normal’, and it’s the actions that count anyway. Health is more than appearance, health is being well rounded and enjoying life as well as working out and having fun and being social.

I’m aiming for healthy and with some luck will get toned along the way!

Shaping Up Over the Next 12 Weeks

My re-starting point

Precisely 2 days ago, I decided that I needed to shape up- and fast and am now taking the pledge to live a healthy lifestyle and exercise 6 days a week for the next 12 weeks when I will assess results.

You see, I grew up as a ‘chubby’ child and teenager. I was always the bigger one and the one with a lovely face but disappointing body. As a result I always felt like the ugly duckling in my group of friends.

In my final year of school I developed a keen interest in health and nutrition and since then have been exercising and eating healthily on a regular basis.

Unfortunately, though, I am your typical perfectionist, all in or all out was my motto. So when I ‘failed’ in my diet or exercise plan, I decided to abandon it for that day and start again ‘tomorrow’. As wise people say, tomorrow never arrives and so I was trapped, for a long time, in a binge and restrict cycle.

This cycle came to a close when I discovered pole dancing for fitness. I had never seen such quick or effective results and i had never enjoyed such an intense workout so much as I enjoyed this one. After my first term of pole, I became addicted. It wasn’t long before I could do inverts and hang off the pole upside down, with one arm, with one leg- you name it, i tried it. Along with this increased pole ability came a six pack.

Since then I have been striving to become fitter, not for appearance totally but so that I can become a better dancer and do more and more tricks on the pole.

Just before Christmas, I left my studio after finding it too raunchy and fell off the bandwagon. I stopped exercising and ate poorly and felt my depression returning. I tried a couple of times to exercise but was unsuccessful in establishing a routine.

Finally I have decided to set myself a goal. To eat well and exercise 6 times per week, every week for 12 weeks. This is week 1.

I am currently studying to be a personal trainer and will use my professional knowledge to help myself and my readers. I look forward to restarting this journey with you!