If only I was slimmer”
Is something I used to think to myself fairly regularly. If only I could lose a few pounds, maybe try and define my waist a bit more life would be so much better, so much easier. Maybe if I was a little bit taller, like seven feet, I could eat whatever I wanted and still be slim.
Sadly, for many women a LIFETIME of weight watching is a given. From a young age, I was told I was fat by other children, media and fashion. The sad reality was though, I actually wasn’t. As a teen I swam five nights a week, ran and had a healthy attitude to food. My body was naturally, how should I say, top heavy and my face is a round shape. But I didn’t realise all that back then. Consequently, body image took up a huge space in my mind well into adulthood.
After I had Little Man I did get a bit down about my baby weight, I mean, what new mum doesn’t? However I managed to lose it all plus a bit more. I gained a healthy outlook through exercise and felt empowered by the mental strength it gave me. However, after I had the girls it was if an irreversible switch was flicked.
Like all new parents, I looked at my beautiful babies and felt an overwhelming urge to protect them from the cruelties of this life. As my premature twins battled to stay alive in NICU a priority was keeping my food intake up so I could feed and nourish them. I didn’t question what my diet was like. Partly because I eat pretty well anyway but also because it just didn’t matter. My body needed energy and that was the end of it.
I’d sit with my girls for hours, doing skin to skin, and I’d think about what kind of personalities they might have. Imagining us at home my thoughts turned to their teenage years. How it would break my heart to hear them speak disparaging things about themselves or other women.
It’d make me sad to see them physically healthy but unable to value it. I’d hate it if they couldn’t appreciate their own beauty or if they spoke of a constant need to change how they look. I understand it might be an inevitable part of growing up but I believe bad habits can evolve into quite evil things.
LEADING BY EXAMPLE
I made the decision a long time ago that I never wanted my children (especially the girls) to hear me say certain things. They were:
- I need to lose weight;
- I look fat;
- I wish I was slimmer;
- Do I look fat?
Even though it was a conscious thing at the beginning I’ve found that because I’m not saying it, I’m no longer thinking it. Yes, in an ideal world I would still like to get down to my pre-twin weight. But it isn’t a negative nor an obsessive thing, I trust that it’ll happen in time. I’m genuinely happy as I am. The doctor recently confirmed I’m physically really healthy and that means more to me than dress size. Considering how my mental health has been seriously tested and Little Red’s ongoing issues, things have been put into perspective more than ever. I’m not saying you don’t have to care about your weight, I’m just saying it doesn’t always have to have negativity attached to it.
I’ve let go of chasing those ideas of perfection that actually belong to someone else and instead I’m just being the best version of myself. Because the realities of chasing a certain kind of perfection is that the goal posts will inevitably keep moving.