I witter on a lot, about a lot of different things.
You might have noticed.
I’ve talked about body image and dress sizing in the past, but it occurs to me that although I have alluded to my own body battles I’ve never really told you about them. So today it’s all about me (that makes a change, I’m sure you’re all thinking)
Starting right at the beginning, being a teenager is a pretty rotten time for most people. Like most teenagers I was convinced my size 8, 8 1/2 stone frame was fat. So, I spent most of my teens throwing away my lunch time sandwiches and counting calories. I once ate a clove of garlic out of a still life at school because I was so hungry after throwing away my lunch. Yum. Skinny AND reeking of garlic.
Fast forward a few years and in my early 20s, at university, I stabilised around the 10 stone mark. Sometimes I’d go up a bit, then down a bit, but it was all pretty stable.
Then I left college, got a job that paid me actual money to sit down all day, got married, went on a food stuffed honeymoon and before I’d even noticed it I ended up here.
I weighed 13 1/2 stone, giving me a BM1 of 31.9, officially obese and very miserable. I don’t know what my waist measured, and I didn’t even know what clothes size I wore. I would order things and they were too big, or too small, and High Street shopping was a perpetual misery. Throughout 2006 I tried slim fast, I tried cereal diets and every other thing I could think of, but I pretty much stayed the same size. My hour glass shape meant that I at least still went in and out, but in a way this made it harder as most plus size clothes are made for modern thickening waists, not spreading hips and arms.
Then in late 2006 I got a new job. It made me hellishly miserable (another, quite long, story!) but one of my impossibly slim and blonde colleagues told me she was a member of Weight Watchers. In fact she still attended meetings. It was a bit of a revelation to me, because I’d refused to join a group. In my head Weight Watchers was for middle aged housewives who ate too many biscuits while watching Jeremy Kyle of a morning, not women in their mid 20s.
So in February 2007 I joined a meeting. 5 months later I was 2 stone lighter and decided to take humorous photos of myself like a diet ad in the trousers I used to wear to work.
I got that silly little gold key they give you when you reach target in the middle of 2008, when I got to 10 1/2 stone. Though I secretly wanted to lose another half stone, and I did lose another 4 lb before my Sisters wedding in February 2009.
So why is this on my mind now?
Well, over the last year I’ve gradually put back on a little weight. Ok, as of the beginning of this month it was a stone, so not so little.
I like food, and I like to eat nice food. Special occasions to me are about nice dinners, picnics in the park, and nibbles with a movie. Not carrot sticks and low fat hummus, but olives in olive oil, cheese and biscuits and cake. Anniversaries, Christmas, Valentines Day, Birthdays, each one added a few pounds and I never lost them,
Then in March I got a comment on this outfit saying it made me look “heavier than I am” and I was really upset
But it wasn’t even true. I was exactly that heavy! My lovely clothes were all too tight and I realised I had to do something about it. My BMI had gone over 25 again, not the end of the world, but surely an indicator to take action to keep myself healthy and happy.
So what did I do?
I initially tried the Atkins diet. I lost 4 lb in 2 months. Woop.
If you eat too many calories it makes not one jot of difference how many carbs you eat, and I’ve had to teach myself all over again that I can’t eat the same amount of food as my husband and expect to lose weight. So I’m back to counting Weight Watchers points. Like I should have done in the first place. The thing about Weight Watchers is it hands you a set of tools that you can use to retrain yourself about how much food your body actually needs. Eventually you stop counting, but you know how much you can eat, and you know that high fat foods are higher in points, you learn that trade off between volume and tastiness. Do I want a Mars Bar or a huge bowl of strawberries? Actually I want the Mars Bar, and that’s fine.
After 2 weeks of that I’m just a couple of pounds off 10 1/2 stone again, and fully expect to be back to my happy place within a month.
The weight you feel happy at is different for every one. I’ll never claim you can’t be over weight and happy, or even healthy, but I believe that being aware of your body is important for health and happiness.
It’s important to be realistic about who you are. My goal isn’t to be a size 8, it’s to be the best me I can be and still enjoy my life. I’m curvy, there is an 11″ difference between my waist and hip measurement and I can’t change that without losing bits of bone. It’s just the way I am. I also know that I’m not happy, healthy, and I don’t look my best when I’m over weight. Some people can carry it and look truly stunning. I can’t. I’m not happy and it shows in the way I dress, the way I hold myself and the way I feel. The love yourself, love others challenge I took part in is about exactly that. It’s about knowing yourself, loving those bits about you that make you unique and acknowledging the things you love in others, whether they’re possible for you or not.
As a Fashion Blogger posting outfit posts you put yourself out there and open yourself up to criticism, which can sometimes be vicious (I’ve not had much, but someone slagged off my harem pants last year too!)
The key to dealing with it is confidence.
I’ve learnt a lot from my weight battles, but the main tip I would pass on is to be confident, and if you’re not, fake it till you are. Confident people know their body, for all it’s positives as well as it’s flaws and failings, and when they’re criticised they know whether that criticism is valid or not. They take it as a call to action, or they ignore it, they don’t dwell on it and let it eat away at their self worth.
Do you struggle with your weight? Are you realistic about your body and it’s potentials? Do you feel confident or do you think you let others knock you down?
Tell me your stories!
header image by chrisphoto