We’ve all read the articles and supported people that are helping raise awareness of all the different shapes and sizes of bodies out there and frankly this all rocks. Seriously, I think this should keep happening and one day it will be the norm for every body type to feel at home in this world.
My struggle? My own reflection.
This isn’t an “oh woe is me”. I kinda just wanted to get this out of my head. I am pretty damn sure a fair few of you can relate. I thought we could share our stories and give each other internet hugs.
I want to love all my wobbles, lumps, bumps and frankly the whole package, but at the minute I can’t seem to. What I see when I look in the mirror is a poorer version of me.
Almost two years ago, I was lean, strong and pretty damn fit frankly! Then I stopped training for the World Championships (Irish dancing), I started working for myself, so I cut out the gym and training to save money, then went off travelling. Along the way, my endometriosis upped its game. It has kicked my ass and I would say its left me 1st 5lbs overweight, but it hasn’t, I have. It’s me that has eaten the food and not exercised, I always seemed to have an excuse. For years my body has been in flux. Because of my endometriosis, I can go from lean and strong, to massively bloated, all in a matter of hours. Lately, it has been worse. I see this as an excuse, one that I’ve used to eat anything I wanted because I was miserable.
So my struggle with my own body positivity (or is it body confidence ?) is that I haven’t been good to my body, I tell myself I eat a healthy diet, but I also add in a fair amount of shite too. Although there are certain exercises I can no longer do, there are still plenty I can do and I want to regain that strong lean body. My reflection makes me want to cry sometimes. My stomach that protrudes at all times, my thighs that rub, my ass that is getting bigger by the day. Can we be part of the body positivity movement if we want to change our own? Does it depend on the motivation? I know a bit about body neutrality, so maybe I should just aim at not disliking my body quite so much – I’m still oddly proud of it, it’s a weird conflict right there.
I also have an odd separation from my body. I talk to it in the third person…seriously. It has helped me achieve some incredible things! I tell myself “come on body, we can do this”…or often “come on Áine, let’s go”. In the past this has helped me train to exhaustion, to ignore my mind screaming that it’s tired and knowing that my body has more left in the tank. It has also helped me climb the stairs when the pain is dialled up to 11. I often wonder if this separation causes an odd form of thinking in my brain…eating the cake won’t add any weight…
I’ve said for years – I have crap willpower. Upon reflection, I actually have good willpower, I just need a routine to help stabilise it. When I was training, I was exercising 5 or 6 days a week and working damn hard. I was eating well 90% of the time. My body felt amazing, it honestly felt like a well-oiled machine. I could feel the muscles glide then explode and they lifted me off the floor. I had so much power and I had the potential to get even stronger. My endometriosis pain was kept to my period time only too. Hand on heart, I much preferred my body in this state. I didn’t have to think about it, it wasn’t on my mind every day. Ah, the things we take for granted.
So I can actually do this, why am I struggling now? I could say it’s because I’m exhausted regularly from feeling ill. I could say that my digestion at the minute is not great. I could say that the pain holds me back. Really? I think I’m just a bit stuck. I feel that I should love the body I’m in, as we’re all told to do and in my own way I do…sometimes. I’m so impressed with what it’s been through and still moves forward. I just wish I was already in the body I had two years ago. I love the scars that show I’ve survived multiple rounds of surgery, years of pain and a digestive system that is in bad nick, check out my badass self for healing and being strong enough to deal with that!
See I’m caught. My body is a badass but it’s also soft and squidgy. It’s the soft and squidgy bit that I struggle with. I just don’t recognise my body. Yes I know, I’m still relatively slim and all that, but in context, for me, my body feels oddly alien.
Seriously, what has this to do with Body Positivity?
I feel guilty that I don’t have a positive attitude about my body. I know we all have our own journey, I know that there’s a lot of pressure from the world around us to be slim and bright and twinkly. Me? I just want to be strong and healthy again, I know what this amazing body of mine is capable of. Nothing to do with social pressure, all to do with how my body feels. At the minute, I feel as though I’ve let my body down. My body aches and I can feel everything. I’ve lost a lot of ease of movement and more effort is required for practically everything.
Well, I guess it’s time to do something about it? I already have. I’m stopping the excuses for myself. This means getting back into exercise routines, focusing on what I can do. Easing up on the bad food – something I struggle to deal with, maybe I should investigate intuitive eating?
Probably most important? I will aim to be kind to myself and rest when I need to – I will follow my Self Care steps when I need to. I’m just going to get on and take back some control over my body and try not to get overly zealous about it. I need to figure this out as my body will only continue to change as I get older, so I do need to learn how to deal with body changes.
This is a great article in The Guardian and there are people out there talking about Body Positivity, Body Neutrality and all sorts much more articulately than this. I just wanted to share my experience.