I’ve been trying to lose weight, after a fairly hideous scales moment where I saw a number I never wanted to see. My physical self confidence has been slithering away pretty hard and fast lately, to the point where it is affecting more parts of my life than I care to write out loud. I rarely appear in photos, because I hate how I look (I think) – my nose is too hooky, my tummy to saggy, my breasts are too big, my face too quirkily ‘classic’ for me to ever believe I am worth good clothes or to feel good. Let’s face it, home with children in sloppy clothes, when you know your husband still loves you whatever and your children still think you are the best ever, who cares?
Well I do. Or I thought I did.
SO I’ve lost 12lbs in 2 weeks, which is an amazing accomplishment for me, since I do not find it easy to do so at all. And I am slimmer; not massively but noticeably. My face looks better, my clothes feel better, my tummy has less of a roll over the top of the saggy baby belly that I’ve learned to live with. I feel better.
It’s the first time I’ve looked at photo of myself in normal every day clothes, averagely crumpled – ever – where I thought I looked beautiful. And happy. And confident. All those things that have seemed so far away for so long.
And even when she posted a photo of me later, with bare legs… hmmmmmm…. I didn’t mind.
What struck me at that moment was the different thing that had clicked in my head. It’s not so much how I look, but how I feel. These last two weeks, I have stuck to a really tough diet – and I’ve done it. I’ve beaten the demons, overcome my fail points, decided I want change more than food or the comfort of eating. And I think that is what was beaming out of my face, pleasure at feeling happier. I’m ready to start running again, my back doesn’t hurt and I’m confident I can carry on till I get to the (not actually particularly low) weight I know I will be happy at.
It seemed particularly poignant to stumble across this, very important project at that moment. I’ve been ashamed of my lack of willpower for a long time – I don’t eat that badly but I eat lazily and I had stopped trying to control it. But it’s that, the lack of willpower and the sense of intentionally damaging myself that has brought me low. These have been tough few years, so very tough and being slimmer has been low on the priority list. Being happy meant starting way before my weight.
But ashamed of my body? This body, for all its sags and bumps and stretches has brought six children into the world. Birthed them, loved them, fed them, held them as they lived and died. And how I think about it now affects everything about how I remember these years. This is the body that was almost all Freddie ever knew, got Bene here against the odds and is still standing, despite everything. How I look after it affects the rest of my life, but how I love it affects the how my girls think of themselves when they are almost 40.
I’m suddenly ashamed that I was ashamed. I’m so very pleased to be losing weight but I’m more pleased to have realised that the most important aspect of that is, aside from being healthier, to have grown some respect for myself and some belief that I can make changes and stick to decisions.
My very first thought, when I read about the “A Beautiful Body” project, was to ask to be involved. I’m still summoning the nerve to make that email happen. But I wouldn’t be ashamed to show the world what a body which grew and loved six children looks like.
And that is a big change. Quite an important one.
Probably worth being nearly 40 for.