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So right now I have an injury and I can't run. It looks like my injury is from doing too much running, especially hill runs. Because of my Rheumatoid Arthritis, I am more susceptible to injuries and problems. It's frustrating because I am fit enough to run far, and pretty fast, but my legs and feet can't take the pounding. I've been signed off exercise for five days. I am on day two and I am already being a bit grumpy, and the guilt has set in.

It does not matter how hard I run, or how many different foods I cut out, I will always have loose skin on my tummy.  I have this tummy from having children. I know how lucky I am to be a mother. 

When you look at me, you would never know I had extra tummy skin.  You would say I was slim. 

I look a bit different to me. When I look down, I see my tummy. It hangs slightly over my pants, unless I pull them up high, which is just not a look I feel comfortable with. When I sit down, I can feel my tummy over my waistband, and because of my diastasis recti (also known as abdominal separation, commonly defined as a gap of roughly 2.7 cm or greater between the two sides of the rectus abdominis muscle) I bloat easily.

I know it is not healthy, but on the days I do not run, I struggle with my eating. A voice in my head tells me I have not earned it and my tummy will double in size.

There are pros and cons to this ridiculous thinking. My tummy is what drives me up hills and out in stormy gales. If I ever hit my target (which is impossible without a tummy tuck which I refuse to have) then maybe I wouldn't be as determined as I am.

My body is never going to be perfect. I've sat on Instagram and envied twenty-something year old #girlswholift with flawless skin and six-packs. 

It makes me regret not making exercise my career before kids and RA. I realise now I would have been great as a Personal Trainer in the Armed Forces.

That's the thing about life though, it all makes sense when you look back at it over your shoulder.

I write about running with to log my journey, to show people that anyone can run. 

I try to be an inspiration, and a role model, an honest one at that. I'd love to say how much I love my body and would not change it for anything but I would be lying. I'm a Virgo. I like it all neat and tidy. There is nothing 'tidy' about my tummy. 

As someone who won't take 'no' for an answer, I get pissed off with my tummy. I pull at it in the bath, poke at it in annoyance. I tug it down, smooth out the wrinkles and wish it would stay that way. When it pings back and I wish I could love it the way it is. I don't like myself for wanting to be 'perfect' but I like to be honest about it. 

 

I hope I am not alone in feeling 'bad' on non-exercise days, demotivated, guilty 'fat', scared that all your hard work will be ruined.

Often the people who are the most dedicated to exercise became that way after losing weight, after their first 5k. It's not just about the mirror, it's about falling in love with being fit. Falling in love with pain, learning to channel into it energy, into achievement. The day you plan a run a run that involves a big hill is the day you know you are addicted to the burn. 

Deep down I know my running will never change my tummy. I also know how important rest days are, especially with my RA. My love from exercise is more than skin deep, but sometimes I still struggle.

PS: In most of these photos I am breathing in !