Well, that escalated quickly…

‘I think I may have accidentally started a cult’, I said to Mr Duff when I got home last Monday night.

In an attempt to give myself some accountability I had copied last week’s entry about my #fitnotshit idea into a Facebook post. I wasn’t expecting much of a response, but it seems it really struck a chord.

Within a few hours a number of my friends commented that this was a great idea and they felt the same way about trying to feel a bit more fit and a bit less shit. By the end of the day nearly 50 people had hit like or commented and there was a request for a Facebook group. Within 48 hours we had a small community of 35 in the group – not just running friends but old friends from school and family members too. There’s a daily flurry of posts giving intentions, encouragement and updates about what we’re all up to. It’s gone mad, quite frankly.

There are two things I’ve noticed which might give a clue as to why I think people are buying into #fitnotshit.

Firstly it’s very clear that there are some common themes. Very common. There is one boat that is the good ship #fitnotshit and we’re all in it together.

All of the group members are juggling trying to look after themselves with very busy lives. Jobs, kids, houses to look after, trying to fit in half an hour to ourselves. Every person in the group is someone I think of as capable, intelligent and not a little badass, but equally it’s not a shock that we all feel like we’re not meeting our own expectations because we have high standards for ourselves.

All of us have a lot of temptation every day to just say ‘screw it’ and have a not entirely unintentional ‘snaccident’ (to coin a phrase used in the group this week) and all of us seem to be better able to avoid this by having people to be accountable to.

The really surprising one for me was how many of us have drinking enough water as a goal and the immediate impact that’s had for the good – so many members of the group sharing that getting their 2 litres has upped their energy and led to them sleeping better. So simple. So tough to remember to do sometimes.

The other thing, and the really gorgeous and lovely hallmark of the group, is the way the joint accountability is approached. You know that exercise in being kinder to yourself where you compare how you speak to yourself with how you would speak to a friend about the same circumstance? Well our happy little band of #fitnotshit-ers can be relied upon to be that friendly and supportive voice.

Ate some crisps and chocolate today? Ok, but you also drank loads of water, so well done for that. Had a mini mince pie after a run? Yeah, but you said it was out of date, so clearly that’s permissible. Missed a training session because you were feeling poorly? Well done. You made a good decision to take care of yourself. Everyone has different goals which are personal to them, so they’re being supported for those goals rather than an arbitrary list of everything the world tells us we should be aiming for.

It’s like a weird combination of a confessional and a cheerleading squad and it’s very motivating.

I have definitely made healthier choices this last week because I’m supposed to be setting an example (I don’t want to be one of those do as I say but not as I do cult leaders. I’m not Jim Jones), and the net result is that my runs have felt easier this week because I’m better hydrated, I’m starting to feel my muscle tone come back and I’ve finally broken through a weight barrier I’ve been plateaued at for months.

Week one was amazing. I really hope we can all keep our heads in the game for week two, and I’m so happy my jokey little idea has turned out to be something that’s helping other people out as well.

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12 miles at the weekend in good company!

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