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This Girl Can

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Samantha Lee
Samantha Lee

There is a certain day, somewhere between the end of the previous year and about four weeks into work in the new one, where something goes horribly wrong with my body.

The pre-Christmas boozy catch ups, the Christmas/New Year holiday barbeque pig outs , the post-holiday back-at-work Pringle binges to alleviate the pain of not being able to go and forage in the fridge and then nap on the couch whenever the mood takes me, all of this ends with me standing in front of a handy mirror, shop front window, or my partner, questioning how it can possibly be that I now can’t fit in my pants.

It’s not so much a lightning bolt, as a slow, creeping realisation that the indent from the button of my jeans is that much deeper, and it’s that little bit harder to tie my shoes.

And, also, the scales I purchased from Kmart are fluctuating wildly, which might be because it was twenty bucks or because it’s actually sentient and has decided to taunt me with its unpredictability.

Thus, the Exercise Plan of Doom has recently begun.

I’m somewhat of a C-minus student in the exercise department. I usually finagle my way through bush walks with my partner by taking as many photos as humanly possible as a survival strategy. Team building sessions at work are achieved by doing the best damn cheerleading possible while simultaneously sidling away from any structures higher than a metre off the ground, and one-off gym sessions with friends basically work by picking a spot at the back and taking frequent breaks to “rehydrate”.

This year, all this skiving off hasn’t done me any favours. I’m staring down the barrel of 30, and dear Jesus, the bulges that periodically happen are not going away. In fact, they appear to be quite happy to stay put. And inflate. 

So this year, I’ve set a goal. Get healthy.

So, I have started running. I haven’t joined a gym, I haven’t forced my partner to do AcroYoga with me, as amazing and incredibly painful as the below looks.

I am finding running somewhat problematic as an exercise choice, as mostly I can get to the end of my road before I end up wheezing like I’ve just blown up a pack of balloons during a heat wave.

What makes this worse is usually there is a buff, bronzed and toned boot camp contingent and/or gym bunny casually traipsing by about the same time, with nary a drop of sweat to be seen.

Clearly there’s an inferiority complex happening here, which makes me worry about my motivations for doing this. I don’t want to get skinny, like a model for Urban Outfitters.

I don’t even want to get terribly buff, bronzed or toned. I’m happy with who I am and what I look like. But, as a thinking human being and more likely as a woman subjected to countless images of what beauty and bodily “perfection” looks like on a daily basis, I’m going to confess to moments of self-doubt. See below for more info on the impact media can have on women and girls.

I’ve come to the conclusion that, really, truly, my clichéd, cool, exciting New Year’s Resolution, is just to get healthy. To feel good in my skin. To be able to run, and not to wheeze. To actually enjoy exercising and feel comfortable doing it in front of other people. And maybe, just maybe, to feel a bit more comfortable in my jeans.

This week, I ran into the below video.

According to the You Tube blurb, This Girl Can celebrates the women who are doing their thing no matter how they do it, how they look or even how sweaty they get. They’re here to inspire us to wiggle, jiggle, move and prove that judgement is a barrier that can be overcome.

There’s even a Facebook page, with cool posts like this:



And guidelines like this:

I have actually followed this advice and am now walking/running six trees. Without collapsing.

Which is really freaking cool. 

So I’m going to keep running, because I want to. Because I like how it makes me feel. And because there’s room on the field for gym bunnies, and for Pringle-loving nerds.

This girl can.

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