I DON'T HATE MY BODY, I THINK IT'S WONDERFUL...
Image caption: Me in Dublin in 2016
I know, surprising to hear isn’t it? How often do you hear someone say that? Never, right? Especially a woman.
I was 16 stone at 16 years old. And I’ve fluctuated between that weight and 11st 9 since then. I’m now 34 years old and I don’t quite know what weight I am. I haven’t weighed myself since January. I could be 10 stone or I could be 18 but it doesn’t really matter does it? While knowing my weight may have no impact on you, it had a very big impact on me. Recently I have realised that nothing determines my happiness or the state of my health more than when my brain and my body tell me I am happy and healthy. The weight on the scales often made me quite sad for not being a number I wanted to see and I really don’t like feeling sad. So I stopped weighing myself.
I am fascinated and mortified when I think about the amount of time I spent researching diets, meal planning and writing food diaries and I was always just sad and disappointed in myself, even angry. I realise now I could have used that time much more wisely. And none of those efforts made me like my body. None of the restricting food, none of the weight loss. I was never quite there. Never quite good enough. I never allowed myself to be happy.
Then, in 2016, I did a self development course in London and recognised something rather special. You ready for the revelation? Ok, well…
Who I am is a loving auntie. Who I am is a thoughtful and funny friend. A helpful and conscientious and sometimes frustrating colleague. A caring daughter, sister and niece. What makes me a human is my interaction with other people, what I can accomplish with them and what I can do for them. I am a combination of hopes and dreams and emotion. I realised that it is within my power to create a great and happy future for myself. To travel, to learn, to love and to dream big. And the most surprising thing about all of that? Everything that makes me this human being, has nothing to do with what my face or my body looks like.
The morning that revelation hit me in October 2016 I was standing in my aunt’s bathroom in London looking at myself in a full length mirror, crying. And I knew. This is the first time I am crying for the right reason. My body IS that incredible gift so many people have been telling me it was, for years.
I used to think it was cuckoo when someone said ‘your body is a gift’ because I couldn’t wrap my head around seeing past the rolls of fat, the unwanted hair, the dodgy hearing and cracking joints. But now I realise: my body has carried me around the world, allowed me to build sand castles with my nephews, kept me warm, allowed me to learn, to talk, to smile, to create, to show love in all its forms and to express the person I am. And I’d been continually cruel to it, I’d hated it and given it such a hard time. Well, NO MORE. From now on this body (and the brain that goes along with it), gets what it needs, what it wants and what it deserves. Some love.