Until my mid twenties actually… until NOW, the last couple of months, 2016, post baby and closely reaching my 30’s, for as long as I can remember, I have worried about how I look. My outer image projected to the world, my body shape, the size of my clothes; all this festered massive worry and self doubt.
Its only now that I feel like I have a different attitude, I am much happier in myself and I feel sorry I wasted over 14 years with such a negative image and outlook.. I just want to give my teenage self a massive hug and explain that the 90s waif-like trend of size zero, represented by Victoria Beckham, Paris Hilton etc was not ‘normal’ this what not something I should ever aspire to be!
So today I wanted to just write down and ramble a bit about how I am continuing to find MY balance and how my attitude has changed/ changing in relation to healthy eating, exercise and having a healthy mind. This is more a post for me to just collect my thoughts and is in no way a post to tell you what you should eat, how many squats you should do and what magic tricks will help you lose lbs! This is simply me making sense of how I’m getting some sort of balance and releasing some of the worry that trapped me for so long… that’s not to say its a battle that will ever completely go away but I am managing it better, learning to silence it and liking/ accepting myself more and more.
Similar to many I started to be aware of ‘body image’ around high school age, at the time, you don’t realise how quickly it consumes you, but it did and that became daily self criticism and many tears (thank you mum for always trying to wipe them away) Its scary when talking to friends how many others felt like this, at the time though I felt like it was just me.
I decided to channel the worry into exercise however, this quickly sparked a need for working out, which now I see and acknowledge, became an obsession. At the height, Id spend 3 hours in the gym and hardly eat to fuel my body, I even embarrassingly fainted mid circuits class- sounds obsessive to me!
Crazily working out wasn’t enough, I wasn’t getting the results I wanted! The next stage was developing an unhealthy focus on eating, it became all I’d think about, depriving myself, counting calories, no carbs, avoiding social situations where you’d eat. Thinking about food 24/7 but not actually enjoying it when it came to meal times- how miserable! Luckily it never got darker than this however, I can see how easily it could have, which is a really scary thought.
Constantly thinking about food (or the lack of) mixed with 6 days of exercise, 2 sessions a day and I still felt the same, flooded with negative thoughts, feeling jealous of my carefree friends who could wear anything they wanted and oozed confidence. I was tired from getting up at 5.30am doing the first work out of the day, to then see how long I could go without food for before I nibbled an oat cake! Ohhh and the panicked if I had to miss or cancel a workout session, my mood would be low and i’d be snappy but it was only because I genuinely thought I’d gain weight instantly!
It wasn’t until I was pregnant and my body inevitably changed that I wondered why I was so insecure before? As I was gaining weight, i’d look at pictures from before and couldn’t understand why I was so harsh, so critical, I really should have cut myself some slack!
Photo credit Rock Solid- Me competing in 2014