Talking to my sister in law recently, I recounted to her how utterly exhausted I am of feeling the need to lose weight.

When I say that, I do not mean that I am physically exhausted on account that I am a little overweight, I mean I am mentally exhausted from the perceived pressures of our society that makes me/you/us feel like we should be actively trying to lose any excess weight if we are not what is considered to be ideal BMI or body perfect.  
Are any of you sick of feeling guilty or ashamed for being slightly overweight?
Are you sick of the self-deprecating comments you feel it necessary to make?

I am.

I wrote a blog post in July 2017 about body image so having had a quick reread of that again this morning just to check that I’m not effectively repeating myself, this week I am going to talk about acceptance.

I can’t tell you how many of my adult years I have focused on my weight, my shape, my body image. I feel like I have been on a diet for almost my entire adult life without actually being on a ‘diet’ if you know what I mean. Each day, mentally counting calories, deciding whether I can eat this or that, feeling  guilty if I eat a chocolate bar, feeling like I’m constantly attempting to lose weight without actually following a particular regime, and therefore not even reaping any results or benefits, just feeling slightly deflated at the thought of a constant battle against my body. 

I finally thought “enough of this nonsense” and decided to just happily accept that I am now a size 14 (occasionally a size 12 if it’s on the more generous side) and embrace the fact that I will probably never be a size 10 again. The same as I will never be aged 20 or 30 or 40 again.

I gained weight after moving to France, years of yo-yo dieting will not have helped, starving myself in my thirties to become a size 8, putting it back on, losing it again. Size 10 for a few years, up down, up down.

Realistically, anyone who has to starve themselves and visit the gym 5 times a week for a gruelling cardio schedule just to fit into a size 10, is clearly not naturally designed to be a size 10.

I am probably naturally a size 12 but my love of champagne (or any fizz for that matter), cheese, bread and pastries and of course my age have naturally all contributed to my expansion into my ‘new premises’.  Number 14, Middle Aged Street.

I’m 47 years old. I’m not saying I’m letting myself go or that I want to provide myself with a lifetime permit to become a glutton. I naturally have no desire to become morbidly obese, diabetic or grossly unhealthy,

I’m just saying I’m no longer going to punish myself with these socially imposed restrictions of how I am ‘supposed’ to look. I have finally accepted that I will never have a thigh gap or washboard abs and I have stopped referring to my body in negative terms.

I used to receive spam emails into my junk folder, clearly these adverts were aimed at potential ‘male’ clients “gain extra inches to be a better lover”, “do you wish for extra girth?” . Pills, lotions, potions, contraptions all aimed at giving men those all important extra inches.

Strangely enough, any other gain of extra inches and extra girth is not generally considered a positive change. 

But really, what is the big deal in carrying a few extra pounds?

Don’t get me wrong. I would be perfectly happy to be slim, tanned, toned gorgeous and healthy (and whilst we’re on the wish list, several inches taller would be nice) and if I worked hard at it every single day, perhaps I could be more of those things, but that’s the point, I don’t want to spend my life making huge daily efforts to achieve these things. I love food, I love wine, I love eating out, I love enjoying life, I love a good brisk walk but not necessarily jogging or working out. I am not prepared to spend another second of my life obsessing about the fact that I am no longer a perfect size 10, nor a 12. I’m not even a perfect size 14 for that matter.

In fact, if I’m being completely honest, I’d find it difficult to think of my body in terms of  perfection on any level but my point is there are literally millions of us who feel that way. The question is why?

Why do we feel inferior?

At this point I am going to take a few excerpts from my previous post because I really can’t think how to say it any differently or any better than I did before:

As a society, we are becoming ever more brainwashed into what we are led to believe is ‘body perfect’ or ‘beautiful’. With the selfie-culture, we are becoming increasingly more fixated on how we look.

We are all painfully aware that these new ‘trends’ are foisted upon us in a ploy to sell ever growing lines of merchandise and the fashion and beauty industry is a veritable goldmine, one of the most lucrative industries in the world.

We owe it to future generations to turn this obsessive tide so that our children and our children’s children do not develop into adults in a society where the primary concern is ‘image’.

I would love to believe that as a society we should feel it is more important what is inside of a person; their mind, their beliefs, their principles, their creativity, their humour, their intellect, their compassion, their imagination, their life experiences, than to be all consumed with how someone looks.

We need to look beyond the purely aesthetic. We need to stop body shaming. We need to stop condemning anyone who doesn’t socially conform to the ‘production line of perfect specimens’ to a life of potential ridicule, misery and rejection.

There is no such thing as one size fits all because we are all unique.
And whilst there are many people in this world who make a handsome fortune from looking really great and hats off to them, I am not one of them. I  don’t get paid to look like someone else’s idea of ‘fabulous’.

Any efforts I make are purely for myself and for my husband and my husband is entirely happy with my body.

How it looks, how it feels and what I am able to do with it.

In fact, my husband is more complimentary about my physique now than ever before, now that I have stopped standing in front of the mirror poking and prodding myself and moaning about my weight, my shape and carrying around the millstone of guilt and shame. 

My own acceptance of my body is as though I have finally given him permission to love it too and love it he does.

And the reason for this, I can only assume, is that confidence is sexy.

My body may not be perfectly contoured in the eyes of the world, but in the eyes of the man who loves me it is perfect in every way.
What more recognition, acceptance and appreciation could I possibly want or need in life?

Who else needs to find me attractive and think I am sexy?

The answer is: No-one and naturally, it works both ways.

So in preparation for this Summer I will not be thinking about dieting or trying to lose weight

Should I find myself at the beach, I already have a bikini body in the sense that I own a bikini that comfortably fits and a body in which to put it on. 

Anybody who doesn’t want to look at my imperfect body, feel free to look away. I am not comparing myself to you and I’d appreciate it if you didn’t do the same, I don’t need or want any sympathy just because I don’t resemble an airbrushed, photoshopped catwalk model and I definitely don’t need to be judged.

Men and women alike:

Trust me when I tell you that, despite everything you see in glossy adverts and the endless brainwashing we have been repeatedly subjected to, we genuinely are allowed to come in all different shapes and sizes. Who knew? 

I am WOMAN shaped. Not Apple, not Pear, not Hourglass or Diamond.

Be comfortable in the skin you are in by accepting yourself.
Be kinder to yourselves, love yourself.
Be prepared to feel happier, more confident and more positive.

If you have a partner, love every part of them in return.

And be prepared for this…….

Don’t waste your life wishing you could be ‘something’ or ‘someone’ else.
If you want to spend life obsessing about ways to improve yourself, obsess about being kind, about being decent, about being thoughtful.

But don’t be a diet-bore!

We’ll all be size zero one day.

Until then I’m going to enjoy my life, because life is short and so am I.

The Virtual Recluse

Excerpts taken from my July 2017 blog post:
%d bloggers like this: