Isn’t technology wonderful? My phone reminded me today that this time last year I looked somewhat different to how I do today. Got me to thinking, did I actually look like that?! Also made me think I need to chuck all the chocolate out and go on some sort of detox retreat somewhere.
This time last year I was pretty small. Now, I can say that in hindsight, but in reality, about this time last year I embarked on this notion that if I just ‘cut’ away all my fat then I would be happy with my body. I trained every day, sometimes twice a day, and it’s fair to say I didn’t eat enough. I wanted to prove, to myself, that I had the mental grit to stick out a 6 week cutting program. God knows why. And I’m actually very happy to report that I didn’t stick it out. I lasted 10 days. But this time last year I thought I was fat. Some stupid boy once told me I have an ‘odd shape’, and it’s sort of stuck in my head if I’m being honest. There are bits I really like about my body, and bits I really don’t, and when I look in the mirror, I tend to always see the bits I don’t like. Don’t we all.
So there we are. Me in all my skinny glory. Now, I’m not arsed what anyone thinks about my shape in that photo or in any other photo to be honest. Not looking for validation, my own opinion is, I was too small. I had no boobs. I wasn’t doing the whole naked thing with anyone either which is just as well because actually, I was far too insecure to take my clothes off (I had no boobs).
So, here is what being skinny taught me (and fuck me am I not looking at that photo and thinking my hips are massive.) Dammit, I’m starting to question all the pizza now. Anyway, what I was going to say was – being skinny taught me that being skinny isn’t the be all and end all in life. Since that photo, I have gained a stone. AND I’m happier for it. Yup, being skinny made me miserable. I was chasing this invisible goal that somehow I needed to be small. Like it even matters. Yes, i know, i’m not fat. Nowhere near it, but i have gained weight. And that’s ok, because, I’m not a fitness model (don’t have the face (or the willpower) for it), I’m not trying to have a six pack, I LOVE pizza, and cider, and eating entire tubs of phish food sometimes (ok more than sometimes). Being skinny doesn’t take away your insecurities, nor does it make you automatically happy. Waking up at your goal weight won’t change your mindset or eradicate the internal criticism that we all heap on ourselves. Nope, the process to acceptance doesn’t tally with what the scales say or how heavy you squatted in the gym today. And in fact, considering I weigh more, I can run a hell of a lot faster than I could this time last year. Probably because I’m not on the brink of passing out all the time.
It is hard though. I have gained weight. What I ‘used to look like’ is seared into my retinas forever more, so I look in the mirror and I see flaws. All of the flaws. It doesn’t help that everywhere you look there are ‘perfect’ bodies. Social Media (and Facetune) has created this image of what we all should look like, which just compounds the knowledge that most of us don’t look like that. But actually, what I have come to realize is – that’s ok. No one has the perfect body, and I am pretty sure that everyone would be able to point out what they see as a flaw on themselves if asked. Who decided that being skinny was what made you a ‘better’ person? All that really matters is that YOU are happy with what you are doing day to day. You wanna lose 4lbs? Great. Do it for yourself. You wanna give up alcohol for a month? Great. Do it for YOU. Don’t do it for anyone else, don’t do it for social media, or because you think it’s what you should do. Unless maybe it’s under medical advice and then probably, listen to your doctor. But aside from that, do what makes you happy. Because at the end of the day, no one is staring back at you when you look in the mirror.
Sometimes you will have weeks where you are ‘on it’ all the time. Sometimes you fall off the wagon and then spend 6 months chasing said wagon down again. Sometimes your ‘I’ll start on Monday’ mentality doesn’t kick in until Wednesday, or even Thursday. But that’s ok. We are all just human. No one is perfect, although granted Facetune does amazing things. I’m happy to admit that I ate my wagon, no really, the wagon has gone. But i’m happy. Much much happier. And I have boobs again. I couldn’t care any less anymore about what people will think if i don’t work out for a week, or if i eat cake everyday. I exercise because I love it, because it makes me happy, it is part of who I am. I eat cake for similar reasons. I am not perfect, and that is ok. I’m not trying to be.