I want to talk bodies. Bigger bodies. Weight. Fat. Image. Confidence. Whatever.
I have avoided this topic quite consciously up to now but my thoughts are just screaming to get out at this point so here goes…
Weight is a struggle for me and has been my entire adult life. I don’t remember even thinking about it in college, but soon after I graduated and got into the groove of my own life, it became apparent that I had an issue.
I didn’t actually see any issue until one day I watched footage of my then class’ Holy Communion.
I don’t know how I hadn’t noticed up to that point, but I just looked shocking to myself.
I had gained about 3 stone in a year and was completely clueless. Yes the larger clothes buying should have been a red flag but I had convinced myself that everything was fine.
I was genuinely shocked and appalled at what had happened to me.
I started a weight loss programme, got really stuck in, and shifted almost all of the 3 stone within a year.
I felt amazing. And I looked the best I had looked in years. But I was successful by making choices like choosing a sugar free jelly pot instead of an apple as a snack. Seriously.
As is the case for the VAST majority of people who take on these programmes, the lost pounds found their way back slowly but surely.
By the time I had gotten married and had endured an early pregnancy loss, I was back to where I started.
And feeling miserable about it.
It becomes a constant narration in your head. Always thinking about food. What you can or can’t have. What you should or shouldn’t eat. How many biscuits really is too many? Multiple snack options always on hand so you don’t feel like a complete animal because you ate a full pack at once, a pick and mix of things is obviously much less gluttonish…
Baby 1 came the way, I didn’t gain a crazy amount of weight. I passed the Gestational Diabetes test. I used breastfeeding as an excuse to consume a ridiculous amount of chocolate etc to the point that the expected melting-off of post-baby weight did not happen.
And then I was pregnant again.
Same story this time around only I didn’t have the luxury of time for gorging as much with a toddler on the loose, so there was some very satisfying melting-off of baby weight this time around. SOME.
A couple more brief hops on and off the weight loss roundabout a few months later, and again yes I felt great while I was seeing minuses on the weekly weigh-in, but it all felt so temporary.
And it was.
I go through phases of not caring. I listen to people like Louise McSharry and I believe her when she says our self-worth should in no way be tied to our body size. She is 100% correct.
I tell myself I am just grand the way I am.
But my GP disagrees.
I look at myself and I know I am not thin. Equally I don’t think I am massive either. The world around me makes me FEEL massive at times though.
As does the world renowned BMI chart.
As do high street clothes shops.
As does social media. And media in general.
I recently went to get my sore foot checked out, and got weighed.
My BMI has now crawled its way up to 35.
Fucking great! Class 2 Obesity, just what I needed to hear.
Again I hear Louise’s lovely voice in my head telling me that BMI is a completely outdated and inaccurate reflection of a person’s true health status.
But again my GP disagrees.
And she is the boss when it comes to managing my meds and my health so I have no choice but to listen.
So I am back in the pit of fat-shame again trying to make both sides of my brain co-operate.
Logically I know that I do not need to eat all these things that I know are collectively doing me harm…BUT I REALLY WANT TO AND THEY TASTE SO GOOD.
I take baby steps, I stick the Fitbit back on, I drink more water, I try to convince myself to leave the “treats” until evening time only. I need to track what I eat to keep myself aware of what is going in. Any time I have been successful it has been down to tracking, not psychotically entering every calorie consumed, just being generally aware.
I wrote a couple of months ago about Being Good to Yourself vs Being Kind (Here)… well at that stage I was being kind to myself and it was serving me well, then I hit a patch of being sick (and injured!) and then I was Good to myself and all my hard work has since been undone.
It really is a battle. Plenty in my family have similar struggles which is both a help and a hindrance! But all any of us can do is look after ourselves.
I have years spent feeling like the Fat Friend. Most of the time it doesn’t bother me, sometimes it bothers me a lot! I never caught the gym bug that most of my friends did in our 20s. I tried a few times and just could not keep it up. I so wish I had an affinity for fitness and running. But I don’t. And frankly that doesn’t bother me.
I seem to have cycles of being “in the zone” where I can handle it all and get the results I want. But it is always temporary, and that is what does bother me.
Should I just try to maintain the body I seem to settle in? Or should I torture myself into trying to change my entire self and fit into the body I am told I should be in?
These are my body thoughts. There are a lot of them! We all have them. The question is, how do we manage them?
I am still figuring that out.