About me · Food · Paleo · Thoughts · Workouts

FITNESS, FAMILY, FOOD – an unsustainable triangle?

My family is big, noisy and a little bit crazy. I love it, I love my brothers, my sister, my parents. But I am the youngest so I am watched. I am watched as I always have been and probably always will be. I am watched so that they can question my decisions, give me unsolicited advice, trying to butt in on my life in ways that no one would ever think to question my eldest sister or parents. This reflects into my general day-to-day life but mainly impacts how I consider fitness, my diet, and how I control things when I get home.

My parents aren’t paleo. I’m pretty sure that they don’t really know what “being Paleo” entails, or that it’s a lifestyle that their youngest child tries to follow as much as she can. Whenever I get home from university or travelling, one of my first stops is the fridge, then the cupboards and the garden. I check what ingredients my mum has in, planning in my head what I can use for breakfasts and lunches, making mental notes of all of the things I need to pick up the next time I’m near a supermarket. I get looked down on for having protein powder, for eating nuts and seeds and other “rabbit food”, for preferring bright and filling smoothie bowls to something like a pastry.

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My parents aren’t runners. My dad used to be, until too many miles messed up his already-weak knees. But my mum definitely isn’t. She doesn’t understand training, and can’t seem to recognise that to get better you need a plan, and you need to follow that plan. Whenever I’m home and running, I constantly get told that I shouldn’t push myself, that I should take a rest day. They don’t realise that I plan my weeks in advance, working out when and how much I should run based on what I want to achieve, and listening to my body to make sure I don’t overdo it.

My parents don’t lift. My mum thinks that lifting will make me bulky. She doesn’t understand the need for strength training when I’m predominantly a runner, or why I want to get stronger. She doesn’t understand that when I train my core or my legs, I do it to become a better runner. Strength training has also improved my posture, helping me walk straighter and taller and with more confidence.

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My parents have no idea that I don’t really care about the aesthetics, about how my muscles look in photographs or on Instagram. They don’t realise that I train because I like the feeling of pushing myself to the limits, to seeing how much my body can take, and pushing it just a bit further next time. I like the feeling of exhaustion I get after a good workout, when you know that one more rep, one more mile, would have had you on the floor in a quivering wreck.

My parents don’t realise that I eat healthily because I like the way it feels, that I don’t like the grease and heavy bloated feeling that I get whenever I eat large and creamy pasta- or rice- based meals like my mum often cooks at home. They don’t realise that I like colours in my food, not because it looks better for the “insta”, but because colours make me feel happier and taste nicer. They think I weigh my food because I restrict myself, whereas I do it for exactly the opposite reason: because I want to make sure I am eating a balance of all nutrients, making sure that I am fuelling myself properly.

My parents don’t realise that fitness is my crutch, that I need it as a break, as a mental stimulation which leads me to escape from the everyday monotony of work. They don’t appreciate my need for “me-time” alone on the roads of the trails, or in the gym with just a podcast and my own steady breathing. I don’t talk to my parents about personal issues, about mental health issues, but exercise and fitness is how I cope through terms at college, through days when I just don’t know what else I can do. Exercise and fitness keeps me going when I just want to curl up in a ball, when I’m not sure my friends or family would understand.

My parents love me. And I love my parents. But it’s hard to live with them sometimes when they don’t take into account the things that I like to do. For them, especially my mum, exercise seems to be an afterthought or a luxury. Exercise is what they do at the weekends, sometimes, when they aren’t busy. They think that anything other than that is an anomaly, and that I’m strange for planning my exercise into my every day schedule just like any other activity.

My parents think that my way of life is abnormal.

How do you manage living with your family and balancing fitness and how you like to train and eat? I’d love to hear suggestions on how to talk to family members about fitness, and how to stress its importance in my life! Comment below or drop me a DM on instagram (@primallyimperfect).

4 thoughts on “FITNESS, FAMILY, FOOD – an unsustainable triangle?

  1. The struggle to “do you” when living with those who don’t “get it” is hard. Every day is a chance to educate them on why you eat food that is real food, not something in a package. You can explain the health properties of the good fats and why variety in coloured foods matters. Exercise is a chance to move and celebrate what your body can do, not a punishment. Maybe they are afraid you are leaving them behind on your path to health and wellness?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s exactly it! I think my parents also think that, by not following exactly the way thatthey have taught me to eat, I’m criticising the way that they still choose to get their nutrition. I’m a big beleiver in the principle that anyone can eat whatever, however they would like to – as long as they are not putting themselves in danger from under- or over- eating. So I have problem with how my parents choose to eat – they are both happy and relatively healthy adults. It’s just not the way that I myself choose to get my food. Unfortunately, my parents (and my mum especially) can’t seem to afford me the same priviledge, preferring instead judging me because it doesn’t fit under the narrow umbrella of their “nutrition”.
      As for your question, I think my parents have always known that I do more fitness and exercise than they would ever choose to do (or have time to do). Nevertheless, they can’t see that I exercise to give my mind space to breathe, I go on walks to listen to podcasts and learn things, and I look after my body so I don’t have to worry about it in future. They think that there is one reason that I exercise – that I want to be ‘fit’, and probably to lose weight (whatever that means), whereas as there are in fact a myriad of reasons that they don’t consider, and which encapsulate the rest of my life, not just the part of me interested in fitness.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It is hard to always be the “bigger, better person” and not fire back at every criticism they send your way. Healthy eating and movement are like paying into your body’s RRSP. Make the investments now to reap the benefits later. Keep true to yourself 💕

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