Me, My Body & My Relationship With Food.
Me and my body have known each other for 25 years, 9 months and 8 days and a few hours now, give or take. My body has abled me to walk, talk, grow, learn, run and survive for all this time and I have been guilty of not looking after it well enough.
We push our bodies to their limits. We pile on the stress, we pile on the pounds, we starve ourselves, we put them through fad diets and we get too much or too little exercise.
Me and my body have had a funny relationship for a long time now - probably for most of my adult life and I am starting to notice it more and more.
7 years ago;
Seven years ago I was 18, just finished my A Levels and probably about 7 stone. I was a size 6/8, I was naturally slim and ate like a horse but was a self professed 'bad food' phobe. I mean sure I've always been a fan of chips and I like a frozen meal or a bar of chocolate as much as the next person but I never really liked cakes, I'd always pick up a piece of fruit over a biscuit as a snack.
I was always a 'boney' kid. I have had people grab my arms all my life to see if they can fit their little fingers round it (spoiler, still can). I never put on weight and not through lack of trying or through shit eating. I had a fab metabolism and walked a fair bit down from school but I never made a conscious effort to exercise either and I wouldn't say the outdoors and I were friends.
And here we are seven years after leaving school as a tiny size 8. Now, today I am a size 12/14 and a size 392748347 if we're talking Primark sizing. I put a good four stone on in about 4 years and whilst I haven't put anymore on since, I certainly haven't shifted any either.
Now I have boobs I never had, I have a belly considerably more bloated than I used to have and I have thighs and arms that wobble more than they used to. I have a double chin (make that quadruple if I am taking the ultimate bad selfie) and I have curves I never used to have.
How I got here;
A few years of bad habits was all it took to derail me. When you're 18, the idea that when you're 25 your metabolism might not be what it was is absurd. When you're 18 the idea that you might not be able to shift weight as easy as maybe you could before doesn't seem real. A couple of years of bad choices saw me gain 4 stone and a fair few dress sizes and some body issues I didn't expect to have.
In my final year of school I shared a bag of chips most lunchtimes with a friend. In my foundation year I ate a McDonalds five days a week. In my first year of university I didn't buy fruit and veg because it was expensive and formed a habit of 'two evening meals' with my friends. It took just three years of bad habits to pop on the pounds.
These days I think 'I'd feel so much more confident if I dropped a dress size'. I'm sure it's a phrase a lot of us have uttered to ourselves in the mirror but really, when I think about it, I wasn't that self confident when I was a size 8 either.
When I was a size 6/8 I was constantly told I was too skinny. Friends and strangers alike would comment on it, doctors hauled me in for discussions about anorexia, my blood sugars were low and I'd feel faint a lot and I never felt 100% happy with myself. When I think back to how I looked back then and I think about all the clothes I could have worn that wouldn't suit my body shape now. But I don't wear them now and I never wore them then. I was too self conscious about my gangly frame and my quiet personality to fully embrace what I could have.
And now, weirdly I'd say my self confidence is in a better place. This summer has changed a lot of things for me and I wrote about it in my love letter to summer 2k18. The weather has had something to do with it because I have been too hot to care. My age has something to do with it because I know life is too short to worry if someone else silently thinks your shorts are too short for the size of your thighs. But some of it definitely is to do with the fact I look in the mirror and 80% of the time think I look totally fine. I am used to this body, I have learnt what suits this body shape, I know what size clothes I need to buy.
But equally, the other 20% of the time I look in the mirror and sigh. I suck in what I want to disappear, I squeeze myself into things I know are too small because I am desperately hoping I haven't grown out of another pair of jeans. And it's this 20% of the time that motivates me to do something about it. I want the self confident mornings to be 90%, 95%, 99% of the time.
So I want to make a change. My weight doesn't bother me, it doesn't fluctuate and it's totally fine for my height but I for sure want to tone up them wobbly bits. I don't even want to drop a dress size really. I have the privilege of being a size 12 gal who shops cater for on the reg and can wear - near enough- anything without too much worry. But I want my arms, my belly and my thighs to be a bit more defined, all them bits that all them McDonalds and lack of exercise have fallen on.
And mainly, I want to get this body of mine moving. I have neglected it for far too long, taking up running sporadically only to fall of the bandwagon again. Being self employed has allowed me to become complacent, barely averaging 2000 steps some days and I have used the excuse of being 'busy' instead of adding in half an hour a day for exercise far too much.
This time around, I want to stick at running because I like it but I also want to make more of an effort to try different types of exercise too. Maybe join the gym if my finances align, work out at home, get breathless with HITT sessions and calm myself down and improve my strength and core with yoga.
My relationship with food;
This I think is the big area for me as someone who is A. picky with food and B. allergic to food, I don't really want to limit myself or cut something out. However, I also have a mahoosive problem with feeling bloated a lot and I know what my triggers are but rarely act on them. Last week me and the blog squad kept a food and health tracker in our bullet journals and compared them at the end for suggestions and I definitely knew where I was falling down. The things I noted on my analysis for my own week were;
- portion sizes
- too many fizzy drinks
- too little water
- thought process with fruit
A few years ago I would never have plated up a portion for myself the size of what I do now. I always had the 'little and often' mentality of my Mum when it came to food unless it was veggies or fruit or fresh bread cos obvs. But now, now I have 3 main meals a day plus the odd snack but my evening meal especially is way more than I ever would have served before. I think it's the classic excuse of big dinner plates (mine are huge and small portions looks like half a meal) combined with just very slowly over years upping my portion sizes.
I never uses to drink coke, my parents always regulated what we had as 'a treat' and then I met my boyfriend who used to drink it daily and suddenly my 'treat' was readily available to me. Now most main meals don't taste right without a cold glass of the fizz and water has become almost non existent in my life. In my weeks diary I drank 2 500ml bottles of water in the entire week - and just consider, this is still in the heatwave.
And fruit, specifically as snacking. My relationship and thought process with fruit has changed and I realised this week it's down to my breakfast. My ultimate pleasure in life is my breakfast and I have been eating it for approx 6 years every day and it's a big ol bowl of greek yoghurt, grapes, kiwi, apples and strawberries and I truly look forward to and relish it every day. But, what I realised was the quantity of fruit I buy ain't cheap all the time and thus, I only eat it for breakfast to make the fruit last as long as I can. But that in turn means I don't consider fruit a snack anymore, I consider it breakfast food and this is something I deffo am working to change.
So does it matter really?
In the grand scheme of things no. I doubt anybody is truly 100% happy with their own body, we are ALL more critical of our own than we are of anybody else's and it's easy to forget those whose bodies we envy have their own hang ups.
What does matter is that you are healthy, you are happy with how you look for as much of the time as you can be and if you aren't, then that's ok too.
Don't let anybody tell you your weight, your body or your appearance doesn't fit. But equally, don't let anybody tell you you can't make a change if you want to either.