Saturday, October 29, 2011
A Little Body Love
“Right, that’s it!! I’m going on a diet!!”
“But Mama, are you coming back?”
That was the conversation that took place with my mother when I was just three years old. I didn’t know what a diet was, the word ‘going’ meant to me that a diet must have been a place. Oh how innocence is lost quickly. Mum was often on diets when I was growing up, she struggled with body image and the more she tried to control her weight, the harder it became, especially after having my two younger sisters.
We are not a lean family naturally, but nor are any of us big exercisers and we all love eating. I was always a smaller framed person and at 5”1 most of my adult years have been spent teetering between about 50 and 55 kilograms. I can’t honestly say I have ever been happy with my body, but I didn’t used to want to do any exercise to obtain my ideal body either. I hated the fact that genetically, even at a lower body weight, I’d always carry extra weight on my face and arms and I’d look like a hideous fat person in every photo because of where I carried that weight. I hated the ‘love handles’ around my hips and I hated my flabby arms.
At my heaviest, after leaving a job that I hated and being unemployed for a period of time, then another job that made me unhappy, I think I weighed about 59kg. I was still only a size 10 but I didn’t like my body at all, I didn’t like where my life was going and I didn’t really like myself very much. For me, Body Love is all about a journey of gaining self-esteem and confidence. Something that has been a struggle my whole life. In 2008 I finally returned to full time study and though life is never easy, I think it was the best decision I have ever made. I believe in myself so much more than I ever did before. The last year has been tough to tell the truth. I have suffered with some depressive episodes that have forced me to actually face and deal with my tendency toward depression, anxiety and poor stress management. I’ve realised that you can’t hide from something living inside you.
I think for me, dealing with these things has been the catalyst for my journey to the land of Body Love. I have finally lost the dreaded few extra kilos that had bothered me for so long. I have learned to enjoy exercise and not give in to the chocolate cravings quite as often! I know, it’s a miracle! I’d be lying if I said body image was no longer an issue for me, I think it is for many women for their whole lives. At 47kg, I still have days when I look in the mirror and see non-existent fat and cellulite. Days when I feel myself slip. I think about how many calories I’m consuming often. And I worry that I’ll put weight back on.
And that is why I decided to participate in the I heart my body 2011 project. I haven’t had babies (yet), or a bad childhood or a chronic illness. I’m just “Lucy in the sky with diamonds”, often “elsewhere” as someone put it the other day, and I’m just learning to be me. And be okay with me… mostly on the inside. But on the outside, today, I am going to celebrate my little curves and my cheeky smile and realise how lucky I am to have a body that is healthy and works just the way it should at 31 years of age. What do you love about YOUR body?