I’ve been called chubby more times than I’d like; fat, not thin; and my all time favourite “you’re not as thin as *insert name here* but you have lovely hair” (yes this has actually been said to me more than once or twice!!!). I’m not a couch potato, I do like exercise… but I’ll trade it in for a few glasses of wine and a movie if the mood takes me. I’m not a huge over-eater but I’m not exactly self disciplined around food (cake for breakfast is my favourite thing). I’ve always sat around the size 8/10 mark, sometimes pushing a 12 in certain shops, but I’ve never been super skinny or much bigger.
But since I was about 9 I’ve felt grotesquely fat and as I reached my mid to late teens I often took drastic measures to try and slim down. If there is any pharmaceutical product that you should not be able to buy in large amounts it’s those containing sena, a product far too often used by teens to purge after eating. I made myself sick repeatedly and I’d work 12 hour shifts without eating. I often burst into tears while getting ready and was extremely self conscious. As a result I always dressed up hoping to hide any body issues under a nice outfit and boost my confidence by covering my face in make-up and trying to appear confident.
What changed? I don’t know exactly what happened in order to change how I felt but it slowly did. I don’t feel perfect but now I dress up less, I feel more relaxed but still have a little moment every now and again, often annoying my husband or best friend with the dreaded question “do I look fat in this?”. But things did change; I feel more relaxed and no longer take drastic measures to get thin.
I stopped comparing myself to family and friends. We can’t all look the same and that’s a good thing! I also stopped listening to others marking comparisons. I blank out any comments about my weight and just listen to the positive. It took a long time but I got there eventually. I also stopped comparing myself to anyone in films, TV or magazines… I don’t have a stylist or make up team, I’m never going to look perfect and that’s okay! This made me stop evaluating myself so critically.
I started exercising regularly. I loved exercise before but I was on and off with exercise regimens so naturally my body fluctuated. Consistency was definitely the key for me. Not only did I feel better about the work I put into my body but this triggered a change in lifestyle. I started dressing down out of necessity at university. 10 hours in the library wasn’t comfortable in a high-waisted skirt and button down shirt especially if I needed to run afterwards. Running kit made its way into everyday life along with a baggy t-shirt and leggings on those long library days (which are still a favourite).
I fell in love with someone who loved all of me; but most importantly when I’m dressed down and makeup free with messy hair. He’s not critical of my looks or body and has never suggested I have a salad or go to the gym (yep that’s happened in the past). He tells me I’m beautiful but most importantly looks at me as though I am.
I also stopped listening to food advice. I eat what I like and what I want. Oh you think that cake isn’t good for me? (Eats whole cake) Oh well. I maybe a few pounds heavier for it… but that’s okay I feel less guilty when I don’t ponder other people’s thoughts.