Some words stick with you throughout your life.
Sometimes they are wonderful moments that make your heart sing when you remember them, when you’re transported back to being twenty-something sitting on top of the world and the sentence uttered was “I promised you I’d show you the world”
Not so much.
“Before you started doing Judo you had a right big belly”
Words spoken when I was thirteen years old by a school friend. At a crowded lunch table as I tucked into a salad (of all things).
And so it began.
The obsession with the way I look, the obsession with my weight and all the highs and lows along the way right up to now at the grand old age of thirty four where I’m still learning the lesson that weight isn’t everything. What can I say, I was a little bit slow to the body positive party?
My natural shape is apple shaped, where some people carry weight on their bum and thighs I carry it round my middle. Kind of awkward when you wear tighter clothes and people look at you and think you’re pregnant. Luckily that doesn’t happen that often, now instead of wearing the latest bodycon dresses you’re more likely to find me dressing for my body shape now in tummy skimming empire line dresses and clothes that actually fit rather than squeezing into a size label that I think I ought to be.
The supposed high of feeling I could wear a pair of size ten jeans and the crushing disappointment when they were relegated to the back of my wardrobe once again.
On a similar vein in my twenties at any given point I could tell you my weight exactly whereas now I can only give a vague notion of the bracket I’m in.
Stepping on the scales for a weekly weigh in, crushing disappointment when they showed a gain followed by the what’s the point in being “good” feeling. Or a little reward when you’ve lost weight as I “deserved” it.
At thirty four I’ve stopped dieting, I’ve not been back to Weight Watchers since the summer of 2009 and I never got on board with slimming world as I couldn’t understand a red day, green day or what a syn equates too. The low carb diet has been hammered out of my head by my carbo loading, marathon running husband who hits me with the line carbohydrates ARE NOT the enemy every time I tried to sneak them off my plate.
The feelings of depriving yourself when you turn down a piece of cake. The virtuous martyrdom of refusing a calorie laden glass of wine.
Over analyzing every mouthful.
A cycle of torturing myself.
Since becoming an adult I have weighed between 9 st 4 lbs and 12 st 11 lbs. Excluding pregnancy where I haven’t the foggiest how much I weighed at the end other than more than that!
Right now my weight falls between 10 st 7lbs and 11 st. Probably somewhere towards the heavier end after my UK diet of white bread, pork pies and mayonnaise that I’ve been following for the past 6 weeks which was a far cry from the healthy diet and exercise I was following before I left Qatar.
Becoming body positive
Yet even now, heavier and wobblier than I ever was during my twenties, definitely bigger and wobblier than naive thirteen year old me, I am finally in a place where I am happier with my body.
Even the wobbly bits.
At thirty four I am now, slowly, becoming body positive.
I might not analyze everything that goes in my mouth, count every calorie. I won’t say no to a glass of wine if I want one because of the calories, I’m yet to turn down a piece of cake.
Yet I’m happy with the way I look.
I exercise (some of the time) my aim these days is to be healthy. Not skinny.
I’m proud of my apple shape body.
The wobbly belly that’s carried two children.
The scar that brought them both safely, and alive, into the world by the skin of their teeth.
The legs that wobble their way through the odd parkrun.
The boobs, with their ginormous nips that fed and sustained my babies.
The (massive) hands that hold my babies.
The little pieces that make me, me.
The eyes that sparkle when my husband talks to me.
The big belly laughs that erupt from my teeth that aren’t as straight as they could be.
You see, at thirty four, I’m starting to realise that I’m perfect in my imperfections.
As we all are.
And some days it might be hard to look in the mirror and be body positive. Those days are getting fewer. It’s hard not to listen when a four year old tells you how beautiful you are.
Are you body positive?