Sorry, yes it is, actually.
Today someone told me that it is not that hard to lose weight.
Someone with quite a small frame, who juggles their weight to benefit things like muscle definition.
Not someone who has battled obesity. Not someone who knows how hard it is to function with extra weight on board. Not someone who will have to make a choice every single day to stay in charge of their body.
So, in response to that particularly stupid and ignorant statement, I would like to respond with this:
It is hard.
And I want you to know that I know that it is hard, which is why I am learning to be a trainer – so that there is someone on your side who knows exactly how soul-crushingly, body-achingly hard it is.
It’s hard when you have that moment when you realise that you need to lose weight. It’s hard to realise that your weight is out of control, and that it’s collected some friends in the form of serious health conditions to keep you company.
It’s hard to recognise the depth and breadth of the changes you are going to make. It’s hard to recognise that you feel a sense of grief and loss about what your health has become.
It’s hard feeling shame, because we’re surrounded by a million different inputs every day on social media and television and in almost every interaction from the moment we put our feet on the floor in the morning – and they all tell us that we do not look the way we are meant to look or need to look.
It’s hard taking the first step into gym.
It’s hard going to the gym when everyone else there doesn’t look like you.
It’s hard going to the gym when everyone else there doesn’t look like you, and you can’t keep up with what they are doing.
It’s hard going to the gym.
It’s hard to feel guilty for resting. Be it 20 minutes or a day or two days, even after 50kg gone I still feel guilty if I haven’t been “active” that day.
It’s hard knowing that as the weight comes off and your fitness improves, there is no ‘fast forward’ button in life. I remember the moment when I realised that this was going to take me a long time: I was pedalling on a bike, and in my head I was thinking about a movie or a TV show that did a flash forward on somebody at the gym. In a simple ten seconds they went from unfit and overweight, to fit and in a healthy weight range. That’s not going to happen. This is going to take time. Commitment. And a choice, every single fucking day.
And it’s hard.
Going to the gym or starting any new fitness regime is hard. Add to it, in my case, an extra 50 kilograms (and still more to go), and you tell me it’s not that hard to lose weight. Stepping on to the treadmill is hard because your knees, they’ve hurt for years. Sitting on a bike is hard because your back screams at you constantly. Weights are hard. Rowing is hard. Classes are hard. Walking is hard. Everything is hard.
It’s hard as you start enjoying the new routine of being active and regaining your fitness and health. You begin realising that there’s time, lost, that you can’t get back. It’s hard seeing old photos of yourself. It’s hard getting your head around your new body and your new shape. It’s hard working out how to respond when people tell you that you look great and that you’ve saved your life and that you must be feeling better. It’s hard when people say that they’re proud of you, like every other thing you’ve ever achieved wasn’t going to be good enough because of your size. It’s hard because if you’re lucky, there will be people who will remain steadfastly by your side – but they cannot do it for you. It’s hard because each and every hard yard is walked and run and carried out by you. It’s hard feeling lonely. It’s hard feeling pressure from yourself.
It’s not that hard, I heard someone say today.
All that says to me is that they have not had to do it.
And to be honest, I’m really glad that you think it’s not that hard to lose weight. Because you thinking that, and saying it in a public setting, sends the very loud and clear message that you have no ability to comprehend and empathise with what this is like.
And I’m also glad that I am able to comprehend it. Because it means that I can use that comprehension and empathy to help other people.
It is hard.
And don’t ever let anyone, regardless of their standing or role or qualifications, tell you that it’s simple or easy. It’s not. It’s hard. It’s bloody hard.
But if it’s worth it, it’s worth earning.
It is hard, and I am proud that I have put in 18 months of ridiculously hard work to get to this point. Still not finished, but closer today than I was yesterday.
It’s bloody hard. But yes. Yes, it’s worth it.