So it’s been a while since I blogged as just me. As ‘Social Work Tutor’.
Sure, I’ve written loads of articles on here, but these have been news pieces and I’ve tried to (sometimes more successfully than others) keep my voice and views as distant as possible.
The podcast gives me a bit more space to open up and share my views, but even that is restricted in the sense that we record live and have a set format for each show. The nature of live recording, coupled with the to and fro of conversing with a co-host or guest, means that I never really have the space to say exactly what I want. The format means that the podcast is hooked around one or two key stories of the week. Both of these factors mean that, for the most part, the weekly nature of the podcast keeps me boxed in with what I want to say.
So… what do I want to talk about? What is so important that I’ve ‘dusted off the old keyboard’ and decided to roll back the years and start blogging just as me all over again?
Well, as you’ve probably guessed from the title, I’m a little down in the dumps about my weight at the moment.
I started training as a social worker almost eight years ago, in September 2011. At the time I weighed just over 11 stones (which is 70 kg or 155 pounds). I was right in the middle of the ‘healthy’ range for my BMI.
Aside from a brief fling with the idea of getting back to my old slimline days in the run up to my wedding in December 2014, my weight has only gone in one direction- up up up and away.
I’m now sat here, absolutely stuffed to the gills with Easter chocolate, weighing in at an almighty 16 stones.
Now… just to be very very clear on this one. If you are happy with your weight, then I am happy for you. I’m not here to body shame anybody or tell people how they should look, act or think.
How you live your life and what you do with your body is totally your business. I have no quarrel with anybody who believes that BMI is BS or is living their best life however they damn well please.
The only person I have an issue with is myself. Because I am most definitely not happy or healthy being the weight I am.
I can’t fit into my favourite court suit for work. My knees creak. I get out of breath doing basic things. My indigestion’s worsening. I’m now veering towards XXL clothes. I feel ugly.
I could go on and on… but the basic point is that I’m five stones (30kg/70 pounds) heavier than I should be.
And I’m blaming social work for it.
Okay… I know that half of you will have read that last sentence and agreed with me and the other half will now be wanting to call me out on my BS and tell me that I only have myself to blame.
So, before the healthy living referrals for intervention start coming my way, let me just point out the way that my job impacts on my health:
There are loads more points I could make, but I’m going to save them for a standalone blog later in the week to give my denial the justification my ego feels I deserve.
The point is that my job has genuinely contributed to my weight gain and health issues.
Alright, I’ll concede to that half of you planning the fitness interventions that I’m not entirely blameless, but I’ll only give up that ground if you meet me halfway by accepting that our profession makes it damn hard to keep physically healthy.
And I haven’t even started on the mental health yet!
And I’m not going to talk about mental health yet. Not for now at least. Wallowing in the self-pity of my unhealthy lifestyle (whilst looking at Facebook pictures of myself from festivals during the summer of 2010 and marvelling at how thin I once was) is enough to have me reaching towards the Easter eggs for the sixteenth time today.
But I don’t want your pity or sympathy, and the hope of getting either from you isn’t the reason I’m blogging like this again.
Instead, I’m writing this in the hope I’ll get some answers to the following two questions:
One: Are there other people out there who are in the same position as me and who have put on loads of weight since becoming a social worker?
Two: Have people been in this position and managed to address their health needs without having to change jobs?
I’ll level with you all… right now it feels like there’s no easy answer other than changing jobs.
I tell myself that if I went back to working as a careers adviser (the last job I had before qualifying as a social worker) then I’d have an hour’s lunch break every day and know exactly what time I’d finish. Both of these things would give me more than enough time to go to the gym.
I convince myself that if I went back to youth work I’d be swimming, kayaking, rock climbing and playing football every week.
Heck, I even pine for the days I used to be a manager in hotels, bars and clubs. I’d be on my feet all night long and wouldn’t even have to go to the gym at all!
But I love being a social worker and surely it’s not too unrealistic of me to expect to work in this profession without having to sacrifice my physical and emotional well-being?