My body confidence has never really been great for numerous reasons but I’m gonna start from the beginning. Growing up I was a very slim girl and it became something I was known for. I went to primary school with this girl called J and she was also very slim but she had a illness that affected her in a few different ways (sadly can’t remember what she was diagnosed with), anyway we were great friends and she used to call me her twiggy twin because we were both the skinniest in our class (and probably our school). I wasn’t ill though, I just hated food (Going From Fussy Eater To Food Lover). It became something people identified me by. I used to get asked by other peers why I was so skinny, was I ill or people would make remarks about someone else who was heavier than me and compare their body to mine. At the time I never thought much of it. It’s only since reaching this point in my life I have realised how much my experiences and past memories, which have always stuck in my head have impacted the way I see myself.
When I was started high school I was still very slim. I received quite a few warnings from doctors about how I was under weight for my age and that I needed to put weight on. I didn’t think much of it. It was more of a ‘yeah whatever’ type response. My mum used to tell me how I needed to eat more and expand on my diet but the more people forced me to eat the more I refused.
I’d say I was around 14/15 when I started to gain weight. I think it was partly to due to puberty, my periods had started, I was beginning to experiment with different foods (mostly unhealthy stuff) and I was drinking a lot of alcohol. This is when my insecurities started. I was gaining weight and I knew I was, but when I say gaining weight I mean the bare minimum. I had reached a point where I was the right weight for someone in my age group but I was struggling to see the positives about that.
High school is a brutal time and it’s a time where looks seem like the most important thing in the world. Everything about your appearance matters and if something isn’t up to standards then fuck me you could get torn to shreds by classmates. I wasn’t a victim of bullying but I heard a lot of fellow class mates get ripped apart about their appearance and it stuck in my head. It kick started my paranoia about myself. The endless wonder of what people might be saying/thinking about me. I’d torture myself with it sometimes. Looking back I know I probably wasn’t the main topic of peoples bitchy conversations but I couldn’t help but think I was.
Throughout college I hated my body, literally hated it. I failed to see anything I liked about myself. I’d look in the mirror and just feel disgusted. I couldn’t understand why someone would think I was attractive. To me I had fat thighs, fat face, double chin, fat belly, baggy arms etc, you know all those NORMAL body features. At the very start of college I had to get myself weighed. Due to the course I was doing there was a weight limit on those who could/couldn’t ride horses. I remember I weighed 11kgs and the limit was 13kg so in my head I was almost overweight. That has always stuck in my head. It’s partly why I have never weighed myself afterwards. I don’t want to know my exact weight and I don’t want to become obsessed with numbers. In college I was a healthy size 8/10. Then my boobs grew bigger and I gained more weight (not a lot) and I struggled to fit into size 8 clothing and that was hard for me to let go of that. It was hard to accept that I was I was going into size 10/12 clothes and looking back now it’s so sad. I was healthy, I wasn’t over weight but I was so so unhappy with myself.
I remember one time, I was out for a meal with my then boyfriend and one of his college mates and his friend said to me that I had lost a lot of weight and I was looking good. Thing is, I was severely depressed and I had completely lost my appetite. Finishing a meal was a struggle and I was working my arse off at a racing yard so my weight plummeted and not long after me and my boyfriend broke up. I’m sure we’ve all heard of the break up diet? The one where you’re so down after a break up you just can’t eat. I went through the break up diet. It was horrendous. I barely ate. The only things I could tolerate eating regularly were harribo hearts. Eventually we got back together (and broke up another 2 times afterwards…) and I started to gain weight again. My insecurities played a big role in our relationship. Eventually it all turned toxic for many reasons and we broke up for a final time. After the final break up I began to gain even more weight but I was happy. I still wasn’t happy with my body but I felt happier and people could see that. I was starting to eat a wider variety of foods and I was figuring out what I like and don’t like. It was a turning point in my life.
2017 was the year I was at my heaviest and by that I mean I was a HEALTHY size 14. Hardly heavy but I felt huge. I felt chunky and I tried so hard to radiate confidence and happiness with my body but it wasn’t always like that. Sometimes I was very insecure, sometimes I really didn’t care and sometimes I was so god damn confident I felt great. It depended on what was going through my head. I was working in a office job and my dinner meals were usually unhealthy and I was gaining weight. When I left the office I focused all my time on Bubbles (My Saviour) which prompted some weight loss and I started to become healthier. I then started these healthy shakes and took a dab at promoting them but I’m not much of a sales person. I did however love the shakes but I then got into the mindset that confidence came with weight loss. You could only be confident if you were healthy, a certain size or worked out. Happiness with your body was only available if you had a ‘good body’ (or at least what society classes as a good body). I saw others promoting these shakes and their ‘ads’ played with my head. During this time I cared about the very amount of calories I was consuming. If I had over a certain amount of calories (usually less than what is advised) I was being fat which meant I had to be very healthy for the following few days. At the time I had no problem with being like this but looking back it was not healthy. My mindset wasn’t healthy. I was only doing this health craze because I felt like it was the only way I could be confident with myself. That’s not true. Don’t get me wrong I was quite confident at this point but when I moved to Australia, after a few months I began to gain weight again and my confidence took a hit again. I began to look at influences for some advice. People like Ashley Graham (my all time idol), Iskra Lawrence, Matt Haig and Jameela Jamil helped me realise confidence doesn’t come with a certain body image and neither does happiness. It all comes from yourself, from the body you are in.
It’s taken me up until last year to final stop tensing and sucking in my stomach whenever I am walking, siting or even lying down. I can’t exactly remember when I started to do this but I know it has been a few years. Around November/December time I began to accept the body I am in and I started to let go of the body I used to have. I used to always, always tense my stomach and keep it sucked in almost 24/7. It was sometimes hard to just release that tense even just a few moments before I fall asleep. The image I got in my head of my ‘flabby’ belly left such a negative imprint that I just couldn’t bare to relax my belly. It was a hard habit to crack. I hardly ever suck my stomach in nowadays but I still get the odd moments where my brain realises my muffin top is way over my waist band and my immediate reaction is to instantly suck it all in and tense. It’s been a hard habit to break but I has helped me accept myself and I am a lot more comfier now.
Weight gain is seen so negatively that when we gain just a few extra pounds we sometimes see it as the worst thing that could happen to us. I’m still not the most confident person now but fuck me I am so so so much happier with my body than I have ever been. I am past the point of hatred towards myself. I don’t want to risk dying tomorrow and having spent 90% of my life hating myself. I don’t want that but it’s so hard to love yourself or even learn how to love your body in this day and age. How can we not feel guilty about eating the foods we love or not working out when we constantly get ads, magazines, articles or celeb uploads all targeted around weight loss and ‘finding confidence’. Magazines post articles rating celebs ‘bikini bodies’, celebs promote these stupid diets or weight loss products. It’s fucking bullshit. It’s all about weight loss. Weight gain is not a bad thing and it’s upsetting to look back and see how much time I wasted in my young years hating my body all because society taught me that weight gain is not a good thing. That hurts.
We’re all guilty of making comments or partaking in a conversation about someones weight whether it be years, months, days or moments ago. We have all done it. I know I have and it’s not something I am proud of. The conversation and judgement surrounding someones weight is normal (though it shouldn’t be) and it can be hard to avoid a conversation surrounding that. I now try to avoid such topics just by simply saying “as long as they are happy”. Well as long as they are happy why does their weight matter? It shouldn’t.
This is me now having finally accepted my own body. I am still learning how to love it and my confidence is still a roller coaster sometimes but I am so incredibly happy with who I am and the body I am in. I am done wasting years of my life hating myself. I know this has been a lengthy post which is why I am gonna leave it here for now but I would like to thank you for reading.
Confidence comes from within. Don’t waste your life hating your body. It’s really not worth it.
Sending love and light to you all,