I received another comment this week on the blog post I wrote last year about why I stopped following Slimming World. And it got me thinking. Thinking whilst also eating a fruit tart in the sunshine I should add. What is my relationship with food like right now? And why is my body fighting to regain the weight it lost?
I’ve put weight on, perhaps understandably, since I broke my arm, as I can barely walk to Tescos without an assortment of aches and pains, but moving less isn’t the only reason. Yes, I have eaten what is easy to make, buy or eat, but I’ve comfort eaten because I’ve been so bloody miserable and I’ll be honest, I’ve spent a lot of time in bed eating chocolate (see also: assorted crap.)
My weight has been the least of my priorities and other things have taken precedence. Like growing new bone. But you know what? It’s been a bloody relief. Breaking my arm has given me a reason/excuse to not have to think about my weight for once. Bit like being pregnant, no one is going to judge you if you’re putting weight on because you’re laid up in bed with a major broken bone are they? I’m bombarded with messages on a daily basis that it’s not OK to be overweight and it … is … exhausting.
So much of my life has been wrapped up in thinking about how much I weigh. Each time someone doesn’t swipe right on me, I’m convinced it’s because I’m too fat. If I don’t get a job, it’s because I’m too fat. I’m not as successful as I want to be, because I’m too fat. When I look back at some before photos on Instagram when I lost four stone, I am conflicted. I’m proud that I put my mind to something and achieved that to some extent, but it was really easy to get carried away with all the positivity that was being given to me for weighing less and less each week. My worth was wrapped up in how much (or rather, how little) I weighed on the scales.
And at the time I loved it. People were lovely to me, said such nice things about how I looked, but that put an inordinate amount of pressure on me. Or rather, I put that pressure on myself. I was honest about the times I didn’t lose weight, and would beat myself up for it and vowed to do better next week. I would get butterflies in my stomach days before weigh-in, second-guessing myself, trying to think about everything I ate that week, pressure, pressure, pressure.
I looked good, and I felt good because my jeans fit and men noticed me.
But that is a high standard to maintain and, after 18 months, I think it just got a bit too much for me.
A lot of people think that being fat is the worst thing in life you can be. And I found that out the hard way on some dating sites, but you only need to look at the Twitter feeds of plus size influencers to know that fat phobic abuse is widespread. How strange to be so offended by someone just because they happen to have a bit more flesh than you. Bizarre isn’t it? I had to stop reading many Facebook threads that were body positive because I just knew most comments would follow the predictable rhetoric of, “Well, she can’t truly be happy that size,” or, “She can’t be remotely healthy.” It’s exhausting reading that bullshit all the time.
And, my favourite: “Why doesn’t she just eat less and move more?”
If losing weight was that simple, there would be no diet industry. That’s why I wrote that blog post about why I stopped following Slimming World in the first place because I could see how easy it would be to just get caught up in a lifelong cycle of losing weight, gaining weight… then losing weight again. I should know, I was on the Cambridge Diet aged 12.
I’ve always been a big girl, I love food and I have a 5ft 9” frame, but I do believe that there are also deep-rooted reasons why I don’t have the healthiest of relationships with food, and I just got to the point where it was that that I needed to address.
So that’s what I’ve done, and continue to do. I’m now talking about things that happened in my past that I’ve never talked about before, and as much as I don’t expect to wake up one day and be a size 10, I do think that if I’m happier in my soul and heart, everything else will just fall into place. That might mean I lose weight, but it might not. It might mean that I’m happy just as I am.
I’ve always exercised, even at my fattest, and when I get discharged by the hospital, I’m looking forward to seeing how my body feels about exercise. I have steak and salad to look forward to for dinner tonight, followed by strawberry and Prosecco trifle. Because that’s just what I feel like eating. And quite frankly, I’m 47 years old, and I’m sick and tired of being told I have to look or be a certain way. I will decide what to do with my body. Another thing this arm break has taught me is that my body is incredible. OK, I have a big tummy and an incredibly hairy right underarm, but MY BODY GREW NEW BONE GODDAMMIT! How amazing is that? And I vow to appreciate that every day. But being healthy mentally is just as important as the physical, and I think having that approach, looking after both aspects of yourself, is what true happiness is about.
And for the first time in months, I’m really looking forward to the future.