My physical appearance, more specifically, my weight, has always been a touchy subject for me. I know beauty comes in every shape and size and I know that weight has no direct correlation to beauty whatsoever. I know that my husband loves me and finds me attractive no matter what I weigh on the bathroom scales… I know all of that. However, I truly believe that you must feel comfortable with yourself and in your own skin. And for large portions of my life, I have not.
I first started gaining weight and getting heavier in Primary School, a couple of years after we moved down to England from Scotland. I’m the youngest of three children and my siblings were not overweight. I have no clear recollection as to why I gained the weight- was I sad at moving to a new school with new people? Did I get jealous of my siblings and want to be more grown up like them, and so wanted the same as them- including meal portion size? I do remember being told I was a ‘good girl’ if I cleared my plate at meal times. Did that subconsciously stick in my mind and with my need to please people, did I want recognition for being good? Whatever the reason, it happened.
Occasionally I would get the odd jibe about being ‘fat’ in Primary School, but on the whole my classmates were fine and didn’t really entertain thoughts of a vicious nature. High School was an entirely different kettle of fish though! My weight was freely commented on. My self esteem was low. Fat meant ugly and unattractive. Painfully aware of my body, as all teenagers are, I had the same puberty worries as everybody else, with my weight on top.
Kids in High School can be, and usually were cruel. I hated it and I hated myself. Resigned to the fact that I was larger and ugly, I didn’t try to be particularly girly. I actually felt embarrassed to try and be feminine. Like it wasn’t my place. I developed a hard emotional exterior to try and protect myself. I did lose weight in High School and going through old photos, I can see I looked the same as pretty much everyone else, weight wise. Yet I was still know for being ‘fat’. I was that girl. And I believed it too.
I maintained a similar weight in to my early adulthood. In my twenties I did reach a point where my weight plummeted. I worked nights and did a very physically demanding job. At the time I was also having some personal turmoil that I had no control over, so I did become quite obsessed with the other areas of my life that I did have control over. Food and my eating habits being one. Looking back I was quite unwell, but I did come out the other side OK.
Since that point, I think I have been like most people- weight fluctuating. Dieting when I’ve had a ‘special occasion’ on the horizon- our wedding, big holidays, etc. I’ve also had quite a lot to deal with personally and like a lot of other folk, I make bad food choices for comfort. ‘I’ve had a bad day, I need something ‘nice’ for tea…’, ‘I deserve this because…’
I’m not stupid either, I know eating healthy and in moderation along with exercise maintains weight most people strive for. I know there’s no secret to it. And for bouts of my life, I’ve been there. Gone to the gym three or four times a week, done stretches everyday, eaten fruit until it comes out of my ears and spouted about ‘the new me’. Never lasts, because that is JUST NOT ME. It isn’t. I’m envious of people who do have that lifestyle and who genuinely love it, and those who have that lifestyle- hate it, but have the willpower to stick to it. Neither of these are me. No willpower whatsoever…
I do exercise, but not in a gym. I can’t drive, so my husband and I walk pretty much everywhere. Easily get in our 10,000 steps a day. More than. I just can’t diet long term. I’ve tried many, many times but I just love food too much. I love junk food, burgers, pizzas, chocolate, cheese, bread…. it’s all divine! I’m one of those people who can not even be hungry but want to eat something because I crave the taste. Greedy? Probably. But it is my vice. I don’t smoke or drink alcohol, but I do enjoy my food.
I’m currently at one of my stages where I am unhappy with what I see staring back at me in the mirror. What I see isn’t how I feel I want to be. Have I been brainwashed by modern imagery and false idealisms of what the female form should be? Possibly, but I don’t think so. It is about how I feel emotionally and physically and I know my own mind. I feel sluggish and tired and my clothes don’t fit as nicely as I’m accustomed to. It’s about me and what I want. And I’m entitled to feel however the hell I want about my own body.
Whenever I’ve occasionally voiced my desire to maybe lose a little weight or mentioned I’m trying to watch what I eat, I’ve been hit back with, ‘Shut up, you don’t need to lose any weight. You are thinner than me…’ So? You are you and I am me. I do not compare the two and why should anyone else? If you are happy in your own skin, I’m thrilled for you. I really, really am. But I may not be, so please do not disregard what I am saying. I want to feel good in my own skin too. We are not the same person and so we cannot expect to look the same, feel the same or even weigh the same. We should be encouraging our friends and family to reach their goals and be happy. Be supportive.
It does make me feel uneasy when people make personal comments about someone else’s weight. I just don’t get how people can think it’s OK. Other people’s bodies are not there for us to speculate over. When women are slender and people give back handed compliments or feel the need to comment on how they should eat more- are these women not entitled to be just as self conscious of their bodies as everyone else? Are they emotion-free and ‘fair game’ to comment about because they are below a certain weight threshold and not considered ‘fat’? What on earth has their weight got to do with us?
On the other end of the spectrum, my heart sank when I once heard someone say, ‘If I ever get that fat, shoot me.’ I have actually heard someone say that in public in reference to a woman who was minding her own business, walking down the street. I’ve also had someone wind down their car window and shout, ‘Fat Bitch!’ at me as they drove past when I was walking to work. People really can be that toxic.
Weight can be a touchy subject for a lot of people. There is no specific that we all have to adhere to and everyone will always have an opinion. We do live in a body conscious age, with a lot of unrealistic imagery put out there- but we also live in an age where we have choices and where people talk about and encourage embracing who you are and what your body is like.
I was reminded recently just how mean we can be to ourselves when it comes to our appearance. I had been to a lingerie photo shoot and was going to view the end results with a friend. He’s a really nice guy and I knew he would give me an honest opinion on the images. Nearly every one I looked at was a ‘no’ from me, whereas he was urging me not to be as hasty and kept a few I had dismissed in the mix. He wanted to know what I didn’t like about each one, and so I picked out points that my eye was instantly drawn to- bingo wings or a saggy thigh… All of which hadn’t even caught his eye. He was looking at the pictures over all and thought they were lovely. I was looking for that negative. I was looking for it and picking spots… nobody else even noticed my ‘flaws’.
Having said all of that, I may weigh a little more than I would like at the moment, but I am in no way embarrassed or ashamed of my body. I try to dress to flatter my figure and wear what is comfortable, but I would never shy away from donning a swim suit or showing a bit of flesh (when appropriate). My body takes a hell of a lot of abuse and is doing me just grand. It may be a work in progress, but that’s fine. I often need to remind myself not to be too hard on it- everything I do, I am reliant on my body for. Every bit of fun, pleasure, sights I see and places I go… all because I am blessed with a healthy body.
My only advice is to do what makes YOU happy. Be how you want to be and try not to concern yourself with what everybody is doing. Appreciate what you have and be damn proud of it. Don’t be made to feel guilty for not looking a certain way- and equally don’t be made guilty for wanting to change either. It’s no one else’s business but your own. Be who you want to be for YOU ♥
With much love,
Miss Kimmy Cupcake xx