I’m trying to write a post on body image without coming across like a wanker who’s like I LIKE AUBERGINES. (I do though, they are de-freaking-licious).
But yes, body image.
I dunno, I feel like a lot has changed recently in my head regarding the way I view myself.
And I mean, it goes much much much further beyond the way I view my body, it’s more about the way I view myself as a whole.
Like, I actually quite like myself?
I mean, my body is hilarious. Hilarious not quite being the right word, but it’s hilarious in the sense that I sometimes look at my naked self in the mirror and wonder what my 16-year-old self would make of me now and then it’s really fucking hilarious.
I have a really crinkly belly that needs to be tucked into my pants (those pants being of the high-waisted Marks & Spencer variety – if they don’t hide my belly button then I ain’t interested) and it’s littered with purple stretch mark streaks.
My legs wobble and spill about, and let’s not even get me started on my boobs. Put it this way, I’m fairly certain I managed to accidentally lean on my nipple the other day.
But y’know what? I’m proud of myself. Really fucking proud.
I CARRIED A BABY. I battled mental health issues. Dealt with an eating disorder. Got over colds and chest infections and kidney infections and a particularly delicious tummy infection. I have scars on my hand where a cat attacked me, another on my finger where I sliced myself open during an egg decorating competition, and more on the backs of my ankles where I scratched away the skin repeatedly during a moment of intense anxiety when I thought my boyfriend might break up with me aged 16.
I am strong in my own way and that’s what makes me interesting.
I think having a baby has somehow been an awesome catalyst for my change in tune of self-esteem, but there’s also been a lot of little factors that weigh in too.
For example, I LOVE the current clan of women shouting up on social media shouting about their ‘middle’ clothing sizes. It’s nice to normalise sizes above a 12 in an online world that can sometimes make you feel like you’re the only one without a flat tummy and a thigh gap. Gals like Lucy Wood and Vix Meldrew who do size 14 hauls on Instagram are just brilliant.
I also follow Ruby Tandoh on Twitter and I think her approach to food is aggressively refreshing.
She says: ‘You deserve to have a good relationship with food, whatever that relationship looks like. Doughnuts, pasta, huel, smoothies, peaches, instant noodles, jollof rice, haribo… if you’re alive, well, and eating without undue anxiety, stress or upset, you’re doing fine. Eat up.’
And I agree, wholeheartedly.
We need to cut this crap about always aiming to be ‘healthier and happier.’
Eating fewer calories and being happy are not related.
I’m trying harder to listen to my body and my appetite and to undo all the negative associations with food that society has tried its hardest to imprint into my mind.
Take last Friday morning for example. I was at the station and needed to grab something for breakfast which would see me through until my lunch meeting at 1pm. Instantly my default thought it ‘what’s the healthiest thing I can buy that won’t be calorific but won’t leave me hideously hungry?’.
And then I have to override that bullshit thought with ‘a £5 fruit pot might fill you up for ten fucking mintues but will leave you feeling sick with hunger whilst you’re trying to traipse between meetings later on’.
So I buy the croissant because the croissant is what I actually want to eat and therefore THAT is the healthiest choice.
I dunno, does that make sense?
Some days I have doughnuts and pizza and I slob out on the sofa with my family and I just drink in how special it is to be making memories together, enjoying food and laughing and talking crap about the cats in the street.
I don’t feel guilty or think about how I’ll ‘eat super healthy the next day to make-up for it’ or think things like ‘but we did loads of walking yesterday so we deserve this’. I just enjoy it. I live in the food moment.
The next day I might want a burger, and that’s cool.
Or I might want an aubergine.
I’ve also been trying to experiment a lot more with cooking and ingredients recently and it’s made me realise how poorly educated in both of those things I’ve been most of my life.
Food has always gone into two categories – ‘will help me lose weight’ or ‘dirty, sexy, bad-for-me food’. And in a shocking twist, it turns out there is an in-between.
And vegetables have always fallen into the ‘will help me lost weight’ category. So I’ve eaten them in the most boring way possible. Maybe with grilled chicken. Or a measured smattering of cheese. When y’know what? Vegetables actually taste really fucking awesome when you stop trying to make them a diet food.
I dunno, I’m just trying harder to nourish myself. Be that with beetroots or my local Chinese’s Kung Po chicken.
I am trying to enjoy food harder, to shift diet culture crap from my brain and to love myself for exactly what I am.
I want to set a good example for my child and for the people around me, because weight and our food choices do not define us.
And let’s face it, buying a dress half a size too small because you’ll definitely fit into it once you’ve eaten ‘healthy’ for a couple of weeks is the most miserable waste of money ever.
Next on my to-do list? To convince my boyfriend to bin the bathroom scales. We got this.