My real name is Alexandra (that would have been more of a revelation if I’d said my real name was Pamela or even Richard, wouldn’t it?!) but I’m only really Alexandra when I’m at the doctors or dentist or if I’m in trouble! As soon as I was born I was Alex. All through my childhood I was Alex until I hit 13 and then I wanted to become Ali (or @li if I was being super cool). I pogoed between Alex and Ali throughout my teenage years until I turned 17 and decided to drop that pesky A and have been Lex or Lexie ever since.
Why do I share this brief history of Lex Bradley with you? Well simply as an illustration that I am used to a bit of change. Used to it, accustomed to it, relish it even!
Change is one of those things that some people love. They live for the excitement of the new and unknown, thrive on the interest of doing something in a different way and love to mix life up a little. Others are filled with fear at the very idea of altering the slightest thing. They like to keep things safe, known and within the limits of their control. I dance along the line between these two extremes. I love to keep things fresh and can have a very spontaneous nature. My name, wardrobe, furniture and most importantly my handbag are all things that I am happy, and in fact look forward to, changing. My relationships, location and life situation however are all things that I’d rather keep the same, thank you very much.
Over the last year a big thing in my life has changed, a lot… Me! If you have missed the ridiculous amount of Facebook statuses and Tweets (in which case you either don’t follow me or you may actually have been living under a rock!), I’ve lost some weight over the last year. Quite a bit of weight, well 5 stone. To answer the questions that people often ask when they know that, yes it was on purpose (who can lose 5 stone by accident, that’s just clumsy!) and yes it has been done in a VERY healthy way (no need to worry!). Last summer I took the decision that enough was enough, I was finished with not really being entirely happy with my body and being horrifically unfit and, starting with the (wo)man in the mirror, I made a change.
I’m not going to pretend it was easy, I’m not going to lie and say that I enjoyed every minute of it (the people who have worked out along side me will vouch for that!) and I’m most certainly not going to say that there weren’t points when I wanted to change back and eat a cake. But I’m ecstatic with the outcome of this particular change, know that it is a change for the better and hope that it is a change for good.
But while my weight, size, fitness and strength have all coped with the somewhat speedy change, parts of my brain seem to be a bit stuck. Physically I am the new Lex, mentally I’m old Lex… fat Lex. Yes that’s right I still have, what I call (ooh Miranda’s mum), fat girl mentality.
Fat girl mentality is exactly what it says on the tin, in my head I’m still the slightly podgy, cuddly and rounded girl who got out of breath at the mere thought of running. Fat girl mentality means that even though I am very capable of running 5km (and do so 3 or 4 times a week) my brain still thinks I can’t do it. Fat girl mentality means that while I know that I am nearly 4 dress sizes smaller than I was a year ago, there isn’t a chance that I could actually fit into those clothes and I still buy a bigger size to hide my “bulky” frame. Fat girl mentality means that I have to look at photo evidence to remind myself how much weight I’ve actually lost.
Now don’t worry that isn’t as unhealthy as it sounds. While I do have a pretty wonky mental picture of what I actually look like, that has more to do with the speed with which the change has happened and less to do with my mental health- I won’t carry on going until there is nothing left of me! But right now my body is more capable than my brain believes me to be, to really achieve all that I can as this new, leaner, stronger, fitter and changed Lex, I’ve got to get out of my own way; the fat girl mentality has got to go!
The reluctance of my brain to adapt to the changes my body has gone through has got me thinking about changes in general and how we cope with them. I wonder if you have your own fat girl mentality.
Are you one of those people that is comfortable with the changes life throws your way? Do you adapt easily, finding the new challenges exciting and fresh? Or are you nervous of what change can mean? Scared to give something a go and worried about a seeming loss of control? Perhaps something big has changed or is going to change, but your brain is struggling to keep up with the changes afoot. Maybe you, like me, need to get out of your own way and get rid of the fat girl inside of your head!
Change keeps us learning, change keeps us challenged and change means that life is never dull. But change also means that we have to continue to adapt, and whether mentally or physically, we sometimes struggle to keep up.
So I guess the challenge that comes with this blog, a challenge as much for me as anyone else, is where do you need to get out of own way? What changes have happened or are due to happen that you are struggling to keep up with? Is there a fat girl puffing away inside your head, keeping you from believing all the spectacular possibilities you are capable of?
Today I pray to the God, who is constant and faithful, for those of us facing massive changes. I pray that we would have the guts to face those challenges head on. And I pray for the fat girls still stuck in people’s heads, getting in the way and stunting self belief, that they would catch up and realise the changes that have happened.
Lex (Alexandra, Alex, Ali, Fat Lex) xx