This year was never about loosing weight for me. Which is just as well because the scales haven’t changed very much.

But it was about starting to love my body again, to try and feel comfy in my own skin again.

I have been too skinny. I know that. I have also been too big, I know that too. I can look at the photos.

But I also know when I’m comfy and when I’m not and I started this year really uncomfy. When I’m unhappy I eat badly and I don’t train well and it took me a while to get back into things, into my own head. And then I got injured. And it all just went to shit. I got to a stage where I never thought I would be comfy in my own skin again.

But then my mind healed. Before my body did really and who I was, who I am, started to slip back through the door that I had slammed shut on it.

Exercise is so important to me, so is eating well, and, so is eating cake. When I exercise I feel so much more like me than when I don’t. When I eat well I want to exercise and then I feel better for two reasons.

I used to think I worked out when mentally I felt ok. But it turns out that in order to feel mentally ok I need to work out.

I had grand plans this year to ‘get my abs back’ and be ‘skinny’ again. That hasn’t happened. But that’s ok. Although abs are on my wish list for 2018.

I started this year really adrift mentally and physically and I was uncomfy. I’ve ended it really sure of what I need to mentally feel ok, and much more comfortable in my skin.

The scales don’t determine who you are or what you are capable of. You gotta look a bit deeper to find the answers to that, but figuring out what helps you feel ok is a good place to start.

Which is all well and good but then everyone has problem areas right?

Whats your “problem area”: Maybe it’s your thighs. Or your upper arms. Or your bum. Most of us have a body part that bedevils us.

For my entire life, I have hated my hips. They have always been too big for the rest of me. Sure, my arms and legs were long and thin enough, I’ve been 5ft 10″ for as long as I can remember. But, then, right smack bang in the middle of my body are my hips.

Let me elaborate: As a 19-year-old student, I once sat at a kitchen table with three of my friends—all of whom were complaining about their bodies. I said mine was the worst. When they doubted me, I informed them that I my hips came out, went back in again then popped back out again. When they doubted me once again, I said, “OK, watch this,” and I showed them, whereupon they agreed my issue was indeed the worst. They proposed a toast to my ‘weird hips’, and we drank more. Which, now that I think of it, probably did not do much for getting rid of said hips.

I don’t wear body con dresses. I know there’s no reason why I can’t but I just don’t. I’ve ordered more than I care to remember, stood in front of my mirror, declared myself disgusting and sent them all back.

You see branding myself disgusting is much easier than accepting that I’m not.

When I was in my 20s, I was involved in a brief romance, shortly after I got divorced. One day the man in question saw me getting changed. “Oh, you do have a weird shape don’t you”. Yeah thanks for that asshole.

It wasn’t just intimate moments that made me self-conscious. I was self concious in everything I wore. I was self concious everytime I went out.

Even when I thinned down considerably, I was still conscious of my hips and saddle bags. I never wore a bikini or showed my hips at all if I could help it. I would stand in front of my mirror and pour over every inch of my body to make sure I didn’t look ‘fat’.

The only time I wasn’t self-conscious about my hips was when they were at their largest. But I was pregnant, so that didn’t count. Every pregnant woman is beautiful, for what they carry inside. But then the baby is born, and guess what’s back?

As time marched on, the hip problem only got worse (in my head). Jeans looked good on my bum (all hail squats for booty gains), but my wobbly hips spilled over the sides. Low waisted anything are a no go. Whenever I got dressed up, I looked OK except in that one place.

Then two things happened. A few years ago, I was on a trip with my best friend, and we were lying on the beds in our air bnb. I was heading close to being pretty tiny and still worrying about my hips. She was moaning about her tummy and how pregnancy had changed it forever. Except, I could see nothing wrong with her, she is beautiful and confident and looks amazing in anything she wears.

Then, a few months later, on a hot summer’s day, I was with another friend, who was complaining about the temperature. “You should put on some shorts,” I told her. She shook her head.

“Why not?” I asked, and she leaned in close to whisper, “Varicose veins.”

“Seriously,” I said. “No one cares.” And then I connected some dots.

No one cares.

I haven’t stopped hating my hips. Realising that my friend’s varicose-vein anxiety was as pointless as my own adipose-tissue worry was a turning point. But I have also experienced enough shit and heartache over the last few years to know that this type of thing is not worth my time and energy. I no longer order body con dresses. I wear high-waisted jeans, guilt-free.

I had a friend who got really sick of hearing people talk about diets all the time: this diet where you don’t eat carbs, that one where you eat six small meals a day, another one where you eat only soup, and of course the always popular Don’t eat anything, ever diet. She said, “OK, you know when it’s time to diet? The time to diet is when you have to let out the shower curtain!”

I may not have evolved as much as that particular friend, but I have come to hold a certain respect for my fat cells. They may make me look less than ideal (if you define ideal as those angry-looking models who wear their ribs as accessories), but they serve a few rather exalted functions: They store energy in the form of reserved nutrients. They give me insulation from heat and cold. They provide protective padding around internal organs. Isn’t it nice to know that the so often maligned parts of our bodies are looking out for us in these ways?

You see I am not ‘skinny’. And that’s ok. I have hips. I have boobs (dunno where they came from but they’re back), I have a bum.

I can also make really good chilli, seeing as we’re talking about things thay don’t really define me.

So yes you might have a ‘problem’ area, welcome to the real world. But I bet your best friend thinks your beautiful…And you should too.