Why did I start running?

Manchester Marathon

Prior to May 2016, I ran sporadically, and by sporadically I mean I ran a couple of times a month at a push, and loathed every second of it. I was not particularly interested in health and fitness; my diet consisted of microwaveable macaroni cheese/crunchy nut cornflakes/copious amounts of wine, and at school I hated PE lessons so much that I would skive off and hide in the music cupboard (behind the double bass, to be precise).

In April 2016, I went to China for a family member’s wedding. I don’t want to sound like a terrible cliché, so I won’t say this trip completely changed my life – but it most certainly sparked a massive change for the better. Throughout this two-week trip I had a varied diet of fish, seafood, noodles, steamed veg and so on. It is also worth noting that this was a fairly active trip, with lots of walking and cycling. Although the increased exercise and change in diet was more by chance than a conscious effort, by the time I’d arrived back in London I realised how much better I felt for it.

The benefits of eating well and implementing regular exercise soon became apparent – which sounds extremely obvious, but I think sometimes you have to experience these things first hand! I began running 5k a couple of times per week after work with some colleagues, and whilst I can’t pretend I magically fell in love with running, it stopped becoming a chore and instead became a form of escapism, a massive confidence booster, a stress reliever and so much more.

Two years and two marathons down the line, I can safely say that I am the healthiest, strongest version of myself. I’m aware that I’ve just contradicted my previous statement by saying something MASSIVELY clichéd, but it’s simply the truth of the matter.

There is one aspect of my lifestyle change that I found particularly challenging, and that was the negativity I received from a few of my close friends/family members/colleagues (just to clarify, this was a small amount of people! But nonetheless it came as a surprise). Frequent comments were along the lines of:

“You’ve become so boring, you used to be so much fun!”

“Your breakfast/lunch/dinner looks disgusting/unappetizing/dull!”

And my absolutely FAVOURITE (i.e. my worst): “I preferred how you looked before you started running” (this is one that I still hear quite frequently).

Whilst the above comments are not particularly offensive, I did begin to find it somewhat draining to hear the same comments on a regular basis. However, in the grand scheme of things, these comments do not impact me.

Running has had a positive impact on so many areas of my life – although people often shy away from mentioning weight loss, ultimately a combination of running and a shift in my approach to nutrition has helped me to achieve a strong, healthy body that I am proud of. Of course it goes a lot deeper than that – improvements in mental health and general wellbeing for a start, but I will delve into that in future posts.

I hope you enjoyed my first post – any feedback would be much appreciated! Also, if you found it boring/pointless/really average/really really average, feedback is still much appreciated.

Please contact me: mellissatelka@gmail.com

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