I’m going to try and talk about body image, as it is a huge part of my mental health, closely linked to self esteem and my disordered eating.
This is how I feel – this is how I talk to myself in my head –
“My god, you are disgusting. Really though, you are awful. Look at you, just look at yourself in the mirror. Your thighs are massive, they wobble, they’re covered in cellulite. Your hips are horrific, like, just look. They’re almost square. Your stomach… look how it hangs over itself and the way you don’t even have a waist anymore. Your fat upper arms, your fat shoulders, your double chin and your fat face. You can’t even rely on your face anymore – you never sort out your facial hair and the bags under your eyes make you look ancient. Why is your hair so thin now? It permanently looks greasy as well. From the back, you look appalling. Your skin is a really horrible colour, like sour milk. You’re not even thirty years old and you look like a fat, frumpy, middleaged misery.”
This is what getting dressed looks like –
I can’t wear short sleeves or vest tops without a cardigan because of my fat arms. I can’t wear tops that aren’t baggy in case they cling to the fat where my jeans end unless I can wear a cardigan or another layer on top that I kid myself will disguise the fat roll. If it’s sunny or warm then I am fucked because of the whole cardigan situation but also because if I manage to convince myself to go barelegged, I can’t wear anything that is cut above the knee. I also must not wear anything remotely fashionable because then I look like I want people to look at me and also like I have the audacity to think that I look nice. The same goes for wearing anything particularly colourful or printed. The fashionable thing is a moot point actually as now I have a son I no longer spend any money on myself…
These are my thoughts on the above –
I haven’t always been this size. As a teenager, thanks to a combination of a mild eating disorder and being incredibly active, I was underweight but looked fabulous. I still hated my body. The only difference is that, back then, other people would tell me what a fantastic figure I had, whereas now even my boyfriend can’t help make me feel sexy.
The last eight years have been spent being overweight and feeling shit. However, just before I fell pregnant I was going to the gym and eating healthily and, do you know what? I was beginning to feel good. A rubbish pregnancy and a depression later, I am the heaviest I have ever been with the worst self esteem I have ever had… and I have to change that.
Changing my entire self conversation is going to be difficult, especially as I have limited time and resources but I am so desperate to be happy in my own skin that I’ve got to do something.
Plans, then –
I’ve got to be more accountable for what I eat. I binge eat and I eat without thinking, so meal plans and being mindful is a good place to start. I’m also going to cut out refined sugar – I did this over the six week summer holiday and was successful for the first time, but let it lapse.
I must do some form of exercise every day, even if it is just half an hour of walking. I bought myself a swimming costume but I haven’t worn it because of the negative self talk about merely entering the changing room, taking my clothes off and wearing a swimming costume in public. I bought myself trainers so I could go running, but I can’t convince myself to run where people can see me. I’ve got to change that!
I’ve got to spend more time on me. I need to have a better grooming routine (for lack of a better phrase) because when I have nice hair and when I do my make up, I feel marginally better…and do you know what? I deserve to feel nice, it doesn’t make me any less of a mother to spend a little money on myself every now and then, or to take an hour to nip to the hairdresser across the road. Now that my little boy is older and not so dependant on me, it actually makes me a better mother, because he needs me to be happy and confident and well rounded. He needs me to be a good role model so he knows what a strong female looks like, and that’s my job now.
I have to change the way I treat myself, look at myself and speak to myself, not only because I deserve it, but because my son needs it.