I’ve never really been one for making New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve always hated the stereotypical ‘new year, new me.’ It never works, very few people manage to stick to whatever goals they set…well, maybe it’s just me. I used to wish for things like, ‘I’m going to work so hard to make Berlin, London, Montreal, Eindhoven, Glasgow…’ Maybe I set my goals too high?

I hate the press surrounding New Year. Everywhere I look its just gym clothes, exercise programmes, diet plans everywhere. You can’t escape it. It’s that time of year again, the time where trying to get the perfect body is reinforced into our heads.

‘Eaten too much over Christmas? Join our Gym!’

‘20% off all gym clothes, get the body you’ve always wanted.’

My biggest issue is that my brains been trained to lose weight in the wrong way. I don’t like loosing it slowly, I want to see it gone immediately. I know it doesn’t work like that but the feelings seem to intensify, especially with all this media everywhere.

Don’t get me wrong, I can’t expect the media to change and, well its never going to. I just get so anxious and stressed with winter and Christmas. All the food, all the indulgence, and time off training. Then we hit January and I’m hit full force with the usual pressure to lose weight. Every year I’ve had my coach and British Swimming insinuating that pressure onto me. This is the first year I’ve not had that. The first year I’ve not had swimming over Christmas since I was maybe 8?

And it went better. I had a couple of problems when I first went home but for once I found my time enjoyable. Dad made such a big effort compared to last year and that helped me. There was less stress, tension and I think that also helped me make sure my portion sizes were correct. Even on Christmas dinner, I decided I wanted that extra chipolata as we don’t have them any other time of the year and so I put a potato back. It sounds small and perhaps simple but I prioritised what I wanted to enjoy.

And I chose what I wanted to enjoy and then I made sure I enjoyed it in moderation.

And I lost weight.

I came back half a kilo lighter after a week at home.

I was petrified of getting on the scales and so shocked when I was lighter.

A week at home on my own, I was sick once, but the other days I pushed and after my 3 meals (give or take a few breakfasts I missed)…a week later, I was half a kilo lighter again.

This time last year, I was gaining slowly and uncontrollably following my surgery. This year, I’m losing slowly. I remember last year, before the bulimia started again, when two friends came to my house and noticed there was literally no food. That I had been locking myself in the library so I wouldn’t eat. This year, I’m preparing food, and whilst I might not be eating it all because I still panic, I’m still eating more. I’ve also started going to different gym classes like boxercise and yoga just to do something.

The Greek team rang me over Christmas and said they wanted me on their Rio team…

I said no.

I said I was happy without sport, it wouldn’t be conducive to my mental health and I didn’t want it. I have so much more and things to look forward to that I don’t want elite sport. I loved swimming and that’s why i did it but they drove the love out of me and I don’t want it.

That was potentially the biggest decision I’ve made and I had to be so strong to make it. I could have gone to Rio, what I always wanted, but so much has changed in 12 years and I’m so proud of realising that going won’t make me happy. I’m really proud that I’m no longer ashamed that I’m not going and that I’m not a failure.

I don’t really have a New Years resolution as such…but if I did, it would be this…I’ve not been sick at all so far in 2016 so I’d like to keep it that way.


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