I wrote this post a little while ago now but much of it stays true. I hope that it will be insightful and maybe even helpful for you 🙂
I want you to take a good look at the above image, and tell me,
In which photo do I look healthier, 2004 or 2008?
Now look again,
You see? What you see in 2008 is a young woman who is gripped by anorexia. I was gripped with the fear of being unloveable and unhealthy, so I worked out what weight I had to be to be the ‘ideal’ BMI of 25, and then I went at it, and I’d do whatever it took to stay that way.
- I was eating 6 apples a day, and loving the grueling, queasy acidic stomach feeling because I knew that meant the fat was melting away.
- I’d eat half of every meal and avoid fried foods, cheese or too much sugar. I was convinced that if I ate any ‘bad’ foods, I’d have a heart attack almost right away.
- If I put something ‘bad’ in my mouth, like chocolate, I’d taste it then spit it out.
- I’d weigh myself, almost religiously, at least 3 times per week. If I’d gained even a pound, I’d refuse to eat to balance things out.
- Similarly, if I ate something bad, I’d eat something ‘good’ (like a carrot, or another apple or two) to balance the ‘bad’ out.
- I’d consume ONLY a portion worth the calories I wanted to consume. If a yogurt drink was 120 calories per 100ml and the bottle was 250ml, I’d drink what I thought was about 100ml and throw the rest away so I could have calories from something else.
- I had panic attacks after every meal because I feared the food I’d eaten was too much for me to stay ‘healthy’.
- I was tremendously picky about food on dates, and if anything came with chips or cheese, I wouldn’t eat it.
- If I ate something unhealthy, I’d go for excessively long walks that burned off the required amount of calories to be ‘healthy’.
I was obsessed with staying the ‘ideal’ weight.
To my mother, I was gorgeous and pretty. To my then boyfriend (now, luckily, husband) I was a pain in the ass.
But this is what weight loss and dieting can do to you if you’re not careful, and this is why I’ve refused to have a relationship with my bathroom scales ever since.
Don’t get me wrong, in recent days I know that I have gone a bit too far the other way. I am definitely a larger woman now (I blame my husband for introducing me to some wonderfully unhealthy things!) and I definitely do know that I need to lose some weight. But you know what? I’m doing it for me. And I’m enjoying the journey along the way.
This whole new thought process started about 3 weeks ago when I thought about joining a WeightWatchers
regime class. I couldn’t be the only one who thought the very idea of weighing yourself publicly seemed bizarre? It turns out, I was far from alone (NB. Bit of an old post).
So that was me decided, no WeightWatchers, or Slimming World, or any of those other programmes for me.
To be honest, any time I’ve looked at any of those recipes, they just.. well… don’t look particularly tasty to me. I’m not a fan of sweet potato, or courgette, or aubergine. It’s carrots and peas for me.
Come to think, I’m not sure who would do more tricks for raw carrot, me or the dog. Alas, I digress.
Lately. I’ve been a very, very bad girl. A bit better than I used to be, but still a bad girl.
I was in bad habits, and I used to eat 4 chocolate chip digestives with a cup of tea as ‘breakfast’ because it was about all I had ‘time’ to eat. So, so, incredibly not healthy.
Aware that I needed to change, I had a discussion last week with Matt, about my past. I pointed out that I refused to go back ‘there’, back to my old way of being. To me, a size 16 would be perfect, curvaceous and shapely.
“If you get to a size 16, I’ll be very, very happy.”
His tone was clear – if I got to a size 16, he’d have a tough ol’ time resisting me.
So this morning, I changed the routine. I had 30g of Tesco’s dark chocolate crisp granola, topped off with 1% milk, and then I took the dog for a brisk walk afterwards.
I get it, my choice cereal contains dark chocolate, but why should I deny myself of the most important thing in life? Pleasure, and happiness?
Our walk started off quite briskly, but after about 20 minutes, we slowed down to enjoy the scenery. Sure, my back hurt, but this was more about something else. As I lifted my chin and felt the winter sun light my hair through the winter trees, this was about more than just exercising, this was about living.
It was about the simple, small little things.
We can exercise to stay alive, or we can exercise to live.
With the sun in my auburn hair, I smiled and I felt the most beautiful I have felt in quite some time. Neither from being fat, nor from being thin, but just by being me. Simply and presently me. If I hadn’t have gone, I wouldn’t have had some gentle exercise, nor experienced this moment of being. Isn’t that what living should be?
Aware of my desire to change, I stared at the bathroom scales last night. What were they to me? A tool of my health? Or a way to control my very being? Unsure if I was just being lazy, I researched my way of thinking. Once again, there were others who thought like me
I decided that I’m not going to give away my bathroom scales, and nor am I going to bin them. Instead, they are going out for recycling. You see, by giving my scales to some other poor soul, I inflict the pain and suffering of being controlled by the digits on them. Nobody, ever, should have to go through the mental pain, anguish and control of anorexia.
Health is not a number on a scale nor the digit at the front of the rack. Health is measured by how much you do and how you choose to live. Anyone is beautiful without single figure clothes sizes or extensive beauty regimes. When you get know the person inside, you realise that true beauty is far more than skin deep.
If you want to be healthy, remember:
- Eat 5 pieces of fruit and vegetables per day.
- Limit (but don’t cut out, unless you want to) sugar and alcohol.
- Limit processed foods and try to cook fresh
- Remember portion control
- Eat no later than 4 hours before bedtime
- Get 8 hours of sleep each night
- Stay active (even if it is just a casual walk with the dog!)
- Try and quit smoking
Laugh and smile often, because even if the scales didn’t move downwards today, you are beautiful anyway!
Be Bold, Be Bright, Be Beautiful,
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