I used to be a very stubborn teenager who thought it didn't matter what my friends were like. If I wanted to be a certain kind of person, I would be and it didn't matter the goals and ideas my friends had were completely different because i would never let them influence me or judge me in any way. Of course, my mother warned me otherwise and the truth is that her telling me this just made me want to prove her wrong!
5 years later and I know that my mother was right all along. I would have never admitted it back then but a part of me does think that the friends I chose to have in school did bring me down in certain areas where I could have excelled. As much as I wanted to pretend I could be friends with anyone I wanted and no matter what they thought or said or wanted to do, I would never be affected and completely stick to who I wanted to be, as an impressionable teenager that's just completely wrong.
Today I would definitely tell you that surrounding yourself with like minded people is one of the best things you can do. One of the biggest priorities in my life is health and fitness. Taking care of my body and my mind trumps almost anything else by a long way and having friends with the same ideas has only helped me progress and feel better about my journey.
As you would have known by now, I wasn't always this way. I definitely had my time back then when I would have picked lying on the couch stuffing my face cheese fries or ice cream over going for even a 15 minute walk. But now I would want to wake up at 7am for a run around the park and some yoga on the beach. And cheese fries don't even sound half as appealing as they used to be (but in the right mood I will definitely eat a large serve all on my own! haha)
So anyway, how did I realise this?
The whole reason why I finally decided to take care of my body and my health was because I was influenced by two of the people I was closest to.
My boyfriend and one my best friends.
They never told me to exercise or change my eating habits, but just knowing they were doing it, watching their dedication to it and how good it made them feel and look naturally made me want to do it too.
I was no idiot though, I already knew healthy eating and exercise was great for you, but I believe not having anyone who was close to me actually eat well or exercise never made me want to try it before.
More than anything, I'd have to say it was my friend Emma who really made me want to start. It's different when you know someone who was already so healthy and active and all you know is that part of their life, that's how it was with my boyfriend, for as long as I've known him he has been fit and healthy and passionate about sport, this lifestyle was just natural to him. But Emma used to eat and drink and live just like anyone else i knew, then she started running and working out and eating better. It wasn't immediate but it did affect me too - in the best possible way.
I didn't start this journey thinking it was because of the two of them that I wanted to do this but having that support was amazing. I had these two people who I always spoke to being so supportive and motivating and that really did make me want to keep going even when I didn't see results or thought it was for nothing. If I started running to lose weight or change my body and had no support, chances are I would have stopped within a month; but I kept going for about 6 months with close to no weight or body change and for the most part I was still so motivated to keep running.
My friend, Fathima, played a huge part in keeping me running as well. She got me to sign up for a 5Km with her in August 2014, which I NEVER would have have on my own. She would run 5Km or 10Kms all the time and I would always confine myself to my home workouts or 5Km runs around the neighbourhood - I was just scared to take myself anywhere else. But she made me do it! And at the end of the 5K last year, I loved it! I was happy and proud and so much more motivated!
Besides the three of them, I have no one else that I know who is as motivated and in love with any part of health and fitness as I am. And that's where the Instagram community has come in.
I've met the most amazing people through Instagram. Making my account was an incredible decision because it has really helped me find a whole new world of people who are just as passionate about something I love. hey may not be physically near me but I'm still surrounded by all this amazing support and encouragement that I definitely needed to make it this far.
The Instagram community is the reason I have tried new workout plans and discovered new inspiring people to follow and learn from, it's the reason I find myself always feeling so motivated because of all the sweet messages and comments I receive and it's the reason I found myself to Royale Retreat this July where I met the most amazing group of ladies who taught me so much and only pushed me to work harder once I got home.
Finding like minded people who want what you want in life should be a priority when you start your fitness journey. You can definitely be strong willed and motivate yourself but if anything, your journey becomes 1000 times easier and moves much faster when you have friends on the same journey who are encouraging you along the way.
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