I have an ongoing battle with my brain regarding my body image. For many years I wore lycra for a living, and spent a fair amount of time training in front of full length mirrors. Whilst I loved my work I didn’t love the vanity involved in certain aspects of it. In fact once I was told by an agent that he “likes girls who have ribs and hipbones showing”. After ascertaining that he was in fact not joking I tried not to look too disgusted as I needed the work.
Five years on and I have let go of the extreme dieting that kept me looking as skinny as a ten year old. I realise that it wasn’t a good look, and the obsession with food was making me miserable. I literally couldn’t eat anything without knowing its calorie content and ensuring it would be burned off in my next workout, God I was dull to eat out with !
What I’m left with is a pretty full on hang up about my weight and my body. Even though I eat plenty, and have a fairly average sized figure there is still a part of me that is disgusted with my wobbly bits. I look in the mirror and struggle to see the beauty in the new me.
Fat acceptance appeals to me. Not as in fat and unhealthy, but fat and healthy. A fat girl who exercises and eats a salad with her cake possibly ? It would be brilliant to go in a clothes store and try on clothing without feeling anything bigger than a twelve is a failure. To eat something and not be already promising myself that tomorrow will be a leaner, healthier eating day to make up for this sin. It is all so superficial and dull that I hate myself for feeling this way, but I do.
I can’t help thinking that life is too short for all this worry. I wish I could be free from all this concern. Society isn’t making this any easier for me. Obesity crisis I’m told, we are a nation of fatties and it must be stopped. Is guilt making us fatter ?
Conversely I look in a magazine or turn on the TV and see the skinniest folk imaginable in the public eye. Women with prepubescent bodies whose heads look giant in proportion to their emaciated bodies, yuck. My brain tells me this is wrong, but I wouldn’t hate it if I woke up looking like that.
Even the larger ladies in the public eye eventually get smaller, initially it’s all articles about how comfortable they are with their bodies, next its their exercise DVD, frustrating.
I want to live my life, not think about food. I can’t go a day without thinking about this, what a supreme waste of time and energy that is. I could let go of this, eat when I’m hungry, move my body, enjoy my life. Wouldn’t that be wonderful. Whats stopping me if the fear that if I let go of all this fear it would push me over the edge. I would eat and eat and soon they would be making me a special giant sized bed and rubbing special cream into my fat folds.
So, I will probably be fighting this battle for the rest of my life, along with many other women. One things for sure though, I will never return to the skinny, obsessed, dieting, dull version of myself that wore lycra for a living. Lets face it eating cake is more fun than being thin.
This resounds with me so much. I could have written every word, except the agent part. I’m so with you. I want this to not be what defines my thinking because it does so much!
I understand, all we can do is keep reminding ourselves that bodies come in all shapes and sizes and there is beauty in all of them.
Life would be a bit boring without cake wouldn’t it?
Any weight obsession is so hard to break and your right may well be in the background all of your life. But I think if you can look in the mirror and like what you see and accept it really doesn’t have to be perfect because what is perfect after all, you can feel a lot happier.
The media has a huge amount to answer to, their idea of perfect is quite frankly far away from perfect on my scale. Then I look in the mirror and see my nose is bigger than I would pick off the shelf, I’d love to ditch the varicous veins, and I may well of choose arms without a wing and slightly shaved down thighs but actually all in all I quite happy what looks back at me. Far away from media perfect but the fact is I am happy with it and that goes much further than the perfect nose and golden tanned slim legs don’t you think?
Sorry huge comment but Ella you look lovely and you ooze lovelyness and like I say life without cake please….
Don’t apologise I love huge comments. Thank you so much for being so sweet.
I know I have hang ups about my body but I also eat a crazy amount of cake/biscuits/chocolate as well, so I can’t be too concerned about it. If my jeans feel a bit tight I go easy on the good stuff and try and be a bit less sedentary. I agree with you that the media peddles an unrealistic and unhealthy image of what women ‘should’ look like, which is part of the reason why I posted naked photos of my wobbly bits! The response I got was great. And did actually make me feel better about myself. Obviously not a method that everyone would be comfortable with but could be worth a thought…? 😉
I did consider a MoVo inspired naked fest over here on Purplemum but I just don’t have the balls.
I couldnt agree more !! I ruddy love cake and baking so i will never be slim! I never have anyway really, i have been slimmer but never just slim!!
The media has a LOT to answer for. Some days i wish i were slimmer but i am not obese so hey ho its back to eating cakes i go!! Xx
It’s weird how we perceive ourselves because having met you I would say you are slim. Your right though cake does rock !
I count myself as very fortunate not to have big food issues. Clearly our society is insanely obsessed with it, and I’m glad I never really got hooked in to all that madness (I have plenty enough without that!). I love food…it is one of lifes natural pleasures and i will always eat more than i need. Im not overweight medically and am actually happy with my body…of course….there are things I’d change if I could. It doesn’t stop me wanting to hide in shame when im with my skinny friends on the beach (really should ditch them 😉 Shame is the worst…it’s crippling…and shame about our bodies can be dangerous (how many women do I know with a past or present of eating disorders??) Honesty about all this can only be a good thing…shame can only exist in the dark. Beautiful honesty Ella. X
Maybe the answer is putting on a fair bit of weight and then losing a few stone, hitting a happy medium and celebrating your new slender self 🙂
There must be a connection between the unrealistically skinny images that surround us everyday and the fact that the nation is getting larger. I actually don’t think we’re ever allowed to feel happy with what we look like. This morning I saw a picture of myself as a teenager and couldn’t believe how thin I was. In fact, I think I was a little too thin. Yet at the time, I firmly believed I was fat and was always trying new diets. I’d like to say I’ve completely outgrown that but I haven’t. Well, I don’t diet and I am generally less concerned about my appearance (I think I can thank motherhood for that – I’m too damn busy to diet or worry about it) but I never look in the mirror and think: “You know what? I look good.” It’s a shame. My body has done so much, is doing so much. It deserves more appreciation. So does yours. x
I love your honesty in writing. You are so right in what you resolve too. An inspiration…
My daughter is still young enough to inhabit her body in total comfort. It is not that she is not conscious of her body â€“ she is deliciously aware of it. She delights in it. She likes to adorn it, to change outfit several times a day, to dance and run and jump and climb, to wriggle and wallow in a bath, to prance about naked. Her body is an uncomplicated source of pleasure for her.
But something terrible is going to happen to her. She is going to learn to judge her body, to wish it were different, and probably to expend effort, time and money trying to alter it.
No matter how much we love her, and love the way she looks, and let her know this, other forces are at work that will cut across all this and destroy her easy self-acceptance.
What happens to us?
A baby girl reaches for her toes, fascinated as they dance in and out of her vision.
A little girl pulls up her top to display her round belly proudly.
A young girl dances up and down the hallway, delighting in her nakedness before a bath.
A young school girl insists on wearing the same worn T-shirt five days in a row because itâ€™s a firm favourite.
A primary school girl tucks her skirt into her knickers to keep it out of the way while she climbs a tree.
A school girl teeters along in her mothers silk dress and heels, pouting red lipstick, and twirling in front of the mirror.
A pre-teen girl tugs at her shirt self-consciously.
A pre-teen girl arrives late to school on no-uniform day after a melt-down over what to wear.
A teenage girl disappears into the bathroom, to emerge two hours later with legs shaved, hair washed and straightened, face made up, short skirt, heels, and smelling of a cocktail of products. She pauses in front of the mirror, sucks her tummy in, and grimaces.
A teenage girl sits at the table pushing her food around the plate. No-one realises that she has already missed breakfast and skipped lunch.
Another teenage girl also never eats breakfast. She threw the sandwich bread away at lunch and this evening sheâ€™s not going to eat the potatoes or the pudding. Sheâ€™s trying to diet but sheâ€™s hungry. At bedtime she finds herself stuffing half a packet of biscuits and then feels bad.
A teenage girl pulls off her skirt and tosses it to the floor where it joins the growing pile of discarded clothes. She holds up another and drops that too. Next she yanks on a pair of trousers, but cannot fasten them, and bursts into tears.
A young woman wraps a towel around her body and manages to wriggle out of her swimming costume and into her underwear without removing the towel.
A young woman sits in front of the television, an empty crisp packet, ice-cream carton and biscuit tin before her. The phone rings â€“ a friend suggesting to meet up â€“ but she says â€œnoâ€ and goes back to watching the television.
A woman frowns at her credit card statement â€“ new outfit, hair tinting, foundation and mascara, magazine subscription, 4 inch heels, cut and blow dry, face cream, wax, new bikini, gym membership, new dress â€“ the list goes on for pages.
A young mother serves dinner to her kids and sits with them at the table nursing a cup of tea, trying to lose a stone â€“ again.
What happens to us?