Look how fat I was. Just look. Can you see it? Nah, me neither. It’s one of those photos that you show someone and they say “oh wow, look how tiny you were” leaving the “what happened?” unsaid, hanging in in the air.
I spent that holiday in Gran Canaria plus several years before and after thinking I was huge. I loathed wearing those horrible netball knickers/skirts combos at school because my thighs wobbled when I ran and I thought that equalled fat. Being fat never equalled having a boyfriend. It sounds ridiculous to look back and think that was my thought process. Being accepted and liked is all that really matters at that age. I realise now that as a pear shape I carry my weight on the bottom half and I was perfectly fine just as I was.
Now that I really am overweight as an adult I see that back then there was absolutely nothing wrong with me, I would love to look like that again now. Not that there is anything wrong with me now so to speak, it’s unrealistic to think that you could come away from having 3 babies unscathed. Carrying a few extra pounds isn’t the end of the world but for me I find it really affects my self esteem. I don’t feel right, particularly since I’ve just hit the big 40. I feel podgy and nothing fits me properly like it did when I was slimmer. At only 5’2 every extra pound shows and I dislike my ‘hamster cheeks’ when I smile so I tend not to that much in photos or avoid being in photos at all. So yes, I intend to lose weight but for myself. Not because I feel I should, not because I’ve read the latest ‘beached whales in bikinis’ article in a scummy magazine and not because anybody has told me I should.
Over the years my weight has been up and down, I’ve ranged from a size 6 to a 14 and everything in between. I’ve tried Slimfast, cabbage soup, starvation and all manner of ridiculous diets. I’ve even tried so called safe diet pills before finding out they contained ephedrine when my heart started racing uncontrollably one day at work. Did any of it help? No, absolutely not because yes, I may have lost weight and felt I looked much better but I felt lousy. I’m slowly losing weight properly now and being more aware of getting up and moving, I have a desk job and since I’ve started working full time it’s surprising that although I feel like I’ve been on the go all day the very few steps I clock up over the course of the day is far, far lower than I would have done when I was doing the school runs with the kids.
It worries me that now I have a daughter that one day she may look like this, may think she is fat because media all around us tells us that slim is pretty, flesh on show should be toned and tight and if not it should be covered up. I intend to talk to her about body image because I wouldn’t want her to feel like I did. This has no reflection on my own Mum as I never spoke to her about how I was feeling, my Mum was never one of those Mums that was always on a diet or moaning she was fat. We were fed plenty of fruit and veg (and the odd Findus crispy pancake). Had I spoken to her about it though I know she would have told me there was nothing wrong with me (because there wasn’t).
Oh how I loved my perm, my hair was so much better then. Why can’t it come back into fashion? Now that’s a 90’s throwback I could really get behind!
So to my 15 year self and to my children I say be who you are because who you are is perfect. All that time and energy spent worrying about whether you’re slim enough or attractive enough could be put into something far more worthwhile. People can either take you as you are or get stuffed. Don’t ever let anyone put you down or make you feel bad for just being you. That boyfriend that tells you that your fat arse sticks out when you walk? He can do one. (Yes this happened to me). The friends who take the mickey out of your appearance? They can either shut up or ship out too. You don’t need their negativity and certainly don’t have to put up with it.
Although you might want to work on not being photographed like this…