In December I wrote this post: Skinny Doesn’t Mean Healthy. I had a lot of messages and comments off the back of it and it struck a chord with lots of you.
I thought an update would be useful, two months on from when I told myself I would make changes.
So what has changed?
A lot..and nothing. I don’t have rock hard abs and I haven’t weighed myself so I don’t know if I’ve gained the weight I wanted to. But I can see differences clearly. My body feels stronger, more flexible, more able. I started attending a really high intensity circuit training class I hadn’t been to in years and the first week killed me..but since then I am coping with it, I can hold the plank position for longer, squat deeper and I can finally do a burpee without feeling like I will land flat on my face.
My appetite is back. I am eating much more as exercise has kickstarted my appetite, am I always eating the right things? No. Sometimes I have Oreos for breakfast, sometimes I eat oodles of veg and fruit and other times I realise nothing green has passed my lips all day. Balance. I eat well, most of the time. I switched back to real butter instead of low fat spread because life is too short to not enjoy real butter. I eat bacon when I want and Nutella in quantities I shouldn’t admit to but I don’t do it every day and I exercise. Every day I exercise in some form, I am not obsessed with fitness and workouts, I have never been that person but I know I feel better when I do it. In every way both physically and it’s just good for dealing with the stresses of life, so I do it, I walk or I do a light, unstructured work out at home, sometimes it is yoga or sit ups and squats, other times it’s just 30 minutes of dancing crazily with the girls.
My skin is more vibrant, not glowing exactly but I look healthier, I am sleeping more so my eye bags are slightly smaller and taking care of myself in ways I have neglected in such a long time. I find that when I lose weight or gain weight it shows first in my face, for me and for other people. As a teen I always wanted that oval shaped face that seemed to be the ideal but I have a rounded face which clearly shows when I lose a few pounds. I think I’ve gained some weight these past two months and it suits me better.
I have become far less worried about being perfect. I shared a photo on IG last month which showed clearly the stretch marks caused by two pregnancies and subsequent weight loss. I don’t like them. I never will but I care less about them now. This is my body. It has done a lot. Been through a lot. But I’m here, I’m fine, I’m healthy and yet I still don’t like parts of me but and this is the important part I love all of me. I remember thinking that to love yourself was vain, narcissistic even – I should point out that I don’t look in the mirror and think wow you look good. Ever. Ha. But I don’t look in the mirror every day and immediately begin to pick at flaws. My body is the only one I will get so I have to love it and take care of it, it’s not selfish.
regard for one’s own well-being and happiness.
You have to learn to love yourself. Have to. Self care and self love is important. I am very aware that I have two daughters growing up in a world which loves to punish women for not being perfect. Lady Gaga at the Super Bowl is a very real example of this, how many women the world over felt even more unsure about their own bodies after seeing Lady Gaga being torn apart online for non existent belly fat. How many women would love her body? Most of us I imagine, she is in fantastic shape and is an incredible performer yet waking on Monday morning the news was all about her body. Luckily she is a strong, fiery woman who seemed to take it all in her stride but everyone knows that the negativity would have affected her in some way. How unfair that we live in a time where we feel celebrities or anyone in the public eye has to be so absolutely air brushed perfect all the time.
Luckily for us non celebrities real body images are becoming more widespread, especially on Instagram with hashtags such as #embracethesquish becoming hugely popular. Embrace the squish shows photos of women and men taken at flattering angles to show perfectly flat bellies and all the right curves alongside images taken in the same outfit on the same day but with different lighting or a different stance showing how their body really looks. It is powerful and so important for young, impressionable people to see that the images we see that look so darned perfect aren’t perfect. We all have that slight squish when we sit down or slump – well 95% of people I imagine, it is both natural and entirely healthy.
Here are a few ways you can practise self care/love:
- Stop striving to be somebody else’s idea of perfect. You cannot be perfect, nobody is. Try and accept this and just be the best you that you can be.
- Learn something new, growth is so important to how you feel about yourself. If you aren’t learning or growing then you are stuck in the same place. This can be as simple as reading a book in a different genre.
- Be proud of your achievements and celebrate them. Tell people when you have done well.
- Take time to just be, time which has nothing planned in it but it is your time.
- Follow your dreams, unfulfilled dreams lead to resentment both internally and to others.
- Say no when you don’t want to do something.
- If you want something then do it, I had a new tattoo last week which felt frivolous but I have wanted it for ages and immediately afterwards although in pain I was thrilled I had done it.
- If you are really unhappy with the way you look or feel for a genuine reason and not just the usual I wish I had bigger boobs, a smaller bum, bigger eyes. Then do something about it, most things such as hair colour/cut, weight loss can be achieved and will do wonders for your self confidence.
- Spend time with people who make you laugh.