I’m not sure of the wisdom of blogging about fitness goals. First of all it’s a bit self indulgent and secondly it’s a pretty public declaration (which might leave me with some very real egg on my face). But on the grounds that as soon as you publish a goal you become accountable for achieving it and with a Big Birthday looming I have decided to try and articulate some of my aims for Project 50.

To say I am not looking forward to my birthday is an understatement. The thought fills me with horror. I’ve always been paradoxically both fairly vain and dissatisfied with my body so the ageing process is not one I feel able to embrace. But having lost my beautiful mother in law to ovarian cancer at the age of 57 a few years ago, I am increasingly aware that growing old is as much a privilege as an inevitability. I’m not sure I’m capable of growing old gracefully but should like to hang on to what I’ve got for as long as possible.

So this is it: project 50. I intend to enter my 51st year on this planet fitter, healthier and more confident than I ever have been.

I have spent most of my life wanting to be half a stone lighter – even when I was. For me fitness has always been more about weight than health. An active though not sporty child, a victim of school PE which was predicated on talent spotting for the school teams where I was always last or nearly last to be picked, I entered adulthood with little or no interest in sport; even after I married a PE teacher! Since then I have had a love hate relationship with the gym (and my body). At uni I flirted with eating disorders and have always been an obsessive five times a day weigher. I think it’s time to stop.

So here it is. 1: No more daily weigh ins – hard, as I have had thirty years to create this habit. 2: Strength training in the gym for my health and not to lose weight. With a family history of osteoporosis this is a necessity. I intend to go at least four times a week. 3: 10,000 steps a day – not so hard as I absolutely love walking round my school or down to the primary school and there is nothing better than getting out of the office. 4: I am going to do my stretches three times a day as recommended by the physio as apparently my sore knee and hip are a direct result of a tight gluteus media – who knew? 5: No wine on a school night – or at least three of them- apart from the weigh ins this is going to be the hardest. Like many of my generation that glass of wine which signals work is over and which rewards me for a day of total commitment to other people’s children has become an integral part of my daily routine. But I know though that it is not good for me, disturbs my sleep, plays havoc with my skin and leads me to make poor decisions. So I am off to buy elderflower presse by the gallon instead.

I am doing this for a number of reasons inspired and supported by my husband @creatorronnie who has, since Christmas been applying the principles of adopting small lifestyle changes to manage a chronic back condition and high blood pressure. And it’s working. No more grand gestures or crash diets just a few key actions that I am committing to. The reality is I don’t want to get old at all but if I’ve got to – and I suppose I do – I’m going to do it on my terms. It’s time to stop feeling dissatisfied with myself and actually take the advice I try very hard to give my daughter and all the girls I have worked with over 28 years of teaching in not judging myself by stupid unattainable beauty standards. What a hypocrite I’ve been all these years.

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