For most of my life I was a size 10/12 but had always felt huge. I couldn’t look at pics of myself without feeling disappointed and I always felt inferior to every other female.
I always thought the women who I deemed beautiful
(which was pretty much anyone who wasn’t me)
were ‘lucky’ to have been born that way. I’m not just talking about the ‘skinny’ or exceptionally ‘pretty’ girls, I’m talking about anyone who felt comfortable in their skin. Anyone who didn’t feel the need to cover their rolls on their tummy when they sit. Anyone who could wake up and roll out with no makeup and their hair in a messy bun and not give a sh*t what anyone thought. That was so beautiful to me because I felt like I just couldn’t do that. There was no way I could let the world see my naked face. Nope. Not me.
I tried to lose weight by not eating.. but that led to over eating a few hours later.
I tried to run but with no real plan and no idea what I was doing, so that happened like twice.
I tried to eat healthily but I had no real knowledge of what food does.
I kept grabbing at my fat and hating myself whilst smiling to everyone and pretending I hadn’t just had an epic breakdown in my room after trying on everything I owned only to feel like a tightly wrapped elephant bound in clingfilm.
The mental issues were so real.
When I look back at that fresh, youthful skin I’m amazed at how I used to dismiss it and call it ugly. When I see that I really looked alright in my clothes it makes me so sad for all the time lost beating myself up over nothing. I should have been beating myself up over my choice of outfits if anything!!!
Deciding to get fit had always seemed like a massive task until I gave birth to a girl.
After doing the cake diet while I was pregnant (and continuing it after Tyler was born)
I had put on quite a lot of weight.
I started wearing all kinds of baggy clothing to hide how I felt about myself and I kept saying things like “Oh I can’t wear that now I’m a mum” which really meant I didn’t think I would ever feel comfortable enough to wear it again.
After a huge fight with myself one day when I was feeling particularly ugly I decided that I couldn’t bring up a little girl who watched her mum continuously hate herself. There will be so many challenges for her to face already, I didn’t want her to take on mine as well.
That was it. I had to sort myself out. For Tyler. For my husband. For myself. For women. For mothers. For the child me who had so desperately wanted to feel comfortable in her skin.
It was going to happen.
And it did.
I started running. I learnt about food. I started working out at home.
I got skinny!!!
In fact I completely overdid it and I didn’t want to hear from anyone who was telling me the truth about how I really looked.
I was completely obsessed with losing weight.
And do you know what??
I STILL THOUGHT I WAS FAT!
I was now a size 6 and weighed just under 7.5 stone.
Don’t get me wrong, I felt very smug with myself for actually being able to do it after battling my whole life to lose more than 1lb at at time but everyone around me was suffering because of my complete devotion to being thin.
My husband and friends had to listen to my constant jabberings about what the scales said and how much weight I had put on after eating my weekly allowance of 4 squares of 80% dark chocolate. My butt no longer fitted in my knickers which made them awkwardly hang and I actually thought I’d somehow stretched them out in the washing machine because I couldn’t see that I was actually just becoming a lollipop.
I became more obsessed with how I looked than ever and friends dubbed me the ‘selfie queen’ which at the time I took as a compliment but now I see just how vain it was and how much it was effecting me.
(Still love a selfie though! haha)
Losing weight isn’t the problem.
It’s how we are made to feel about ourselves that is.
I felt acceptable for the first time ever and it wasn’t because I had become a better person or was smarter or kinder or more generous. It was because I was thin.
I have a huge problem with that.
When my Chronic Fatigue set in and I could no longer workout until midnight or run 10km three times a week, I was so scared of putting on weight. In all honesty, as bad as it could have been, as much as I would have had to give up, getting even slightly bigger than I was was probably one of my greatest fears. Saying that out loud not only sounds insane but is also very scary and shows just how fixated I had become.
Luckily, I have some very awesome friends who helped me battle my body and mind.
I made the decision to get stronger rather than weaker, started bodyweight training and it changed my view on everything.
Getting strong is incredibly empowering and requires a lot of will power, repetition and discipline.
Seeing your body change and muscles build is incredible and you have to learn to respect the process and give everything it’s time.
Changing my focus from being as tiny as possible (which never had an end goal) to being strong gave me the chance to refocus on what was really important and completely changed my perception of what it was to be ‘healthy’.
Every little achievement after that made me happy. Having short term goals and smashing them was super satisfying. Eating full, non-restricted meals again was awesome. Learning to accept my slightly weightier body got easier when I learned that muscle weighs more than fat and focusing on getting ‘bigger’ was something I never even imagined I would want to do but was now something I was aiming for!
Throw away the scales. Eat real food. Workout. Set goals.
That was when I became happy.
Imagine if we had been taught how to eat well or how to properly look after ourselves when we were growing up in school. Imagine how strong we would be mentally if we were taught to know our worth and value the things that you can’t buy at a store.
I really believe we have a real responsibility to our small people to teach them how to eat well and feel at home in their bodies.
If we are not their teachers then they will learn from the world and media and that is incredibly scary.
The thought of Tyler ever feeling not good enough because of the false, photoshopped, surgically enhanced images and lives she sees in the media breaks my heart.
We need to teach
Confidence. Strength. Discipline. Overall health. Consistency. Fun. Patience.
Celebrity. Perfection. Material. Borrow money to get it now. Plastic. Never satisfied.
Trying to be ‘perfect’ is incredibly tiring and has no end goal.
Nothing is perfect so why do we hold ourselves to this ridiculous bench mark??
Being happy, living a happy life, making other people happy – that’s real.
Let’s look for happiness in every moment because we might not have tomorrow and how sad would it be to have put off accepting ourselves until we were richer or thinner if today ends up being our last day?
P.S. You are perfect right now.