I can’t remember the last time I looked in the mirror and actually liked what I saw. Honestly it’s been years. I was in my early teens when the self loathing started to rear its ugly head. At school when everyone else seemed to be getting boyfriends and attention I wasn't and I didn't hang around with the popular crowd, so in my teenage mind that had to be because of the way I looked! I started looking in the mirror and thinking well I must be ugly, maybe its because my legs are too stumpy, I'm not thin enough, my image isn't right! It was around that time I started to really become aware of what I was eating and starting to restrict it, which is crazy because when I look back of photos of me then, I don't know why the hell I was thinking like that! When I got to around 15, I started to get boyfriends and I was settled with a good group of friends but it was to late. The lack of body confidence and the dislike of the way I looked was already a massive thing and it occupied my thoughts constantly. When I was 18 I signed up to my first diet club and so began the vicious cycle of yoyo dieting, the increase in self loathing and an unhealthy relationship with food.
I wish then someone could have told me what the next 20 years were going to look. If only I had known then what I know now. I could have avoided all the pain and sorrow of what being in that vicious cycle actually brought me over the years. There wasn't a moment in all that time that I was happy with the way I looked. It didn't matter what weight I was, I was never happy. If I ever did reach my weight loss goals, I still hated my body. It did not change anything! I was still disgusted with my arms and would always try to cover them. I still despised the way my legs looked uncovered. I could not stand the way my back fat looked in certain tops and my stomach in others. Clothes were always an issue. Being a bridesmaid for both my sisters should have been a big honour, I should have been ecstatic, instead I was just panicking about the dresses I would have to wear. I spent both days consumed with worry about how I looked. When they got their photos I could barely look at the ones of me. I hated them. Even my own wedding day was overshadowed with the anxiety of how I looked. I dreaded the summer because that meant I wasn't able to cover up. I would never have photos on my own and never ever full body photo! I spent all my time comparing myself to others. I wished I had their bodies, I would look at them and think you don't know how bloody lucky you are! Why can't I just look like that! I was convinced that everyone I ever met was looking at me, judging the way I look, even making comments to others about me. My friends and family would constantly reassure me. They would tell me it was all in my head, I had nothing to worry about, I looked beautiful, we love you but I just couldn't believe them.
I always believed that if I found love, that if someone loved me and wanted to be with me then I would be able to start loving myself, that it would fix it all. no surprise that it didn't. I have been with my husband 14 years, he is always telling me that I am beautiful, he hates how I talk about myself but my mind set has not changed. My body confidence has not increased. Why is having someone truly love me for me not enough?! Why was it not enough even before I met my husband that my friends and family would tell me that I was beautiful?! Because when I look in the mirror I don't understand what they see because its not what I'm seeing.
Its safe to say I have zero body confidence, absolutely none but despite the hell I put myself through one of the toughest things is that now my kids are seeing it. They are growing up believing it’s the norm. It can not be right that my 11 year old daughter is trying to reassure me that I look good in an outfit whilst I am crying my eyes out Or that I barely take them swimming because I hate being seen in a swimming costume. She shouldn’t be seeing that. Neither should my son, body confidence can be as much as a problem for boys as it is girls. They can’t grow up thinking this is how you should feel about your body. I want them to grow up loving themselves. I don’t want them going out into the world thinking that they constantly need other people’s validation to feel good about their bodies.
For them and for me I need to and I want to put a stop to this. Starting Intuitive eating wasn’t just about healing my relationship with food, it was also about learning to love myself for what I am. I guess for many of us the two go hand in hand. It‘s time to learn to accept my body and stop trying to change it. I have people who love me for me, exactly the way I am and going forward that will be enough! I can’t waste my energy anymore on people who‘s opinion should not matter to me. If they don’t like what they see that is there problem not mine! Screw them!
I am loved, I am enough!!
Thank you for reading, stay safe and as always happy eating.