Last week, like every new year, I did a clear out of my wardrobe, making a pile for charity of any unworn clothes that had been lurking under my bed, in suitcases or at the back of my wardrobe for the last year – most of which, are being ‘saved’ until one day when I might be able to fit back into them.
The day I get back into those size 8 Topshop denim shorts that barely make it past my knees will be a miracle and I’m frustrated with myself that when I do these clear outs, I set myself unrealistic goals – like maybe I’ll be a size 8 again. The last time I wore a size 8 comfortably, I was maybe 22/23, I worked 60 hours a week waitressing and would go to bed with restless legs syndrome, making it impossible to really rest. I then went travelling for the summer, I walked miles every day, I drank bottles and bottles of water, I lived off salads, fish and crisps because I was too poor for anything else. I was out in the sun every day and if I’m honest still idolise what I felt was the the fitter, healthier me of 2015 and it’s a shame really, because at the time, I still remember thinking and feeling fat.
I get frustrated with myself because when I go through my old clothes, or I look back at old photos and I set myself goals, my head tells me to rewind to 2015 me, with a gap between my thighs and a visible collar bone and then my heart tells me to stop worrying, 2015 me is unrealistic, focus on getting healthy, not thin and often, I have no idea who I’m listening to.
In the last few years, I’ve gained close to 3 and half stone and my dress size has gone up to a size 12 on a good day (a 14 or 16 for the top half and the odd pair of jeans) I don’t feel huge but I’m top heavy. I’ve always had big boobs which I really struggle to love and any weight I do gain goes to my arms, stomach, boobs and face. All the bits you see.
I wanted to write this, despite it being incredibly difficult to put down in words, because I’m struggling. I spent hours last month going through my Instagram, removing anyone that made me feel inferior, one of the best things I’ve done with social media. I now follow the most body positive people I can find, I high five and admire all the women that get their bits out (wobbly bits and all) and look bloody fab. Why though, can’t I feel the same way about my own body?
I’m short and the weight I’ve gained is highlighted as there isn’t much room for it to travel being 5’1. I went to the doctors a few times last year and they warned me (wrongly or rightly) that if I didn’t change my lifestyle, even just slightly, my chances of diabetes were sky high and the likelihood of having difficult pregnancies would increase. I was advised to make a conscious effort to move more, drink more and get fit. Not only for my health but for my mind too.
I’ve never until now, really truly considered the negatives of an unhealthy lifestyle or thought that my weight could very easily spiral out of control. I didn’t really take this in. I knew I wanted to lose weight but never did anything about it – would never say no to the biscuits in the office and didn’t really do anything about exercise. Just keep hoping I’ll wake up one morning and the size 14 jeans will be too big for me. I’ve been naive.
A part of me just wants to say ‘fuck it’, follow the rest of the fab women online and love myself for all the amazing things my body can do, eat the bloody cake and accept myself as I am. On the other hand, I feel so uncomfortable in my own skin that the more I do nothing, the more I worry the demon thoughts that damage so many people will eat me up. The more I allow myself to feel guilty for slipping up and eating the cake or allow myself to feel terrible about a really good memory because of how I look in a photo of that moment – bigger than expected.
I don’t know a whole lot about health and fitness, despite trying to understand every conflicting bit of information out there and I’m not an expert. I want to work hard to change my habits and feel better, feel good but feel like a traitor for saying I want to be thinner.
I want to get to a point where I can successfully drown out any unhealthy thoughts and feel like me again.
I’m day 3 of healthy eating and whilst I feel motivated right now, I feel scared that I won’t do it. I know I’m not and shouldn’t be defined by my weight. My goal is to feel happy, comfortable, confident and healthy.
And I’ll get there – I know I will.