Ever since being a teenager I’ve struggled to love my body. I’ve struggled to embrace my femininity and have body confidence. My boobs are small. My hips are two dress sizes larger than my top half. I have cellulite, stretch marks and ‘beauty’ spots. I’ve never got back to my pre-baby weight and that ‘baby’ turns 3 a week today. I’ve felt ashamed and embarrassed for someone who was once a fitness instructor should be able to lose the baby weight.
I’ve treated my body badly. Filling it with junk food and barely any exercise. I’ve looked at myself in disgust and told myself my body is ugly. I’ve felt sadness and insecurity over my appearance. I’ve left bread crumbs on the benchtop as a teenager so my Mam believed I’d ate whilst starving myself.
I’ve changed outfits a million times for feeling fat when I’ve never been overweight. At 18 I lived off water all day so that I had enough calories to have cheesy chips for my only meal of the day. I’ve got upset over tagged photos where I’ve felt my small boobs made me look less of a woman and my belly (in my head) looked pregnant.
I believed a past partner when he laughed at my small boobs and ridiculed them, telling me they weren’t nice and I allowed myself to become insecure. I’ve tried just about every diet going and on more occasions, than I care to admit have I calorie-restricted myself. I’ve not trusted my body or my appetite. I have told myself my body isn’t good enough. That I need to lose weight, be leaner, perkier all whilst needing bigger breasts to be sexy. I wished to feel sexier all the while pulling apart my so-called flaws.
Then I hit rock bottom and felt a whole new level of low. I decided enough was enough. I needed to make changes. I couldn’t cope any longer feeling this way & I started thinking my past depression had crept up on me.
Those low moments felt like they’d came from nowhere, why was I feeling this way? Nothing bad had happened. Then I realised I hadn’t dealt with my past insecurities. Instead, I’d allowed my feelings of not being good enough to get to an all-time high. Now I was forced to overcome them and I’m so grateful.
No longer could I ignore them, they were too loud and draining. I decided to acknowledge them, face them, and no more faking it. Let my negative self-talk be heard and tell myself just as I would a friend “thanks for sharing that, but it’s not true”. I’d then tell myself something positive. Mantras became standard. I read the goddess revolution, watched YouTubers like Melanie Murphy talking about overcoming her struggles. Then things started to change.
I started to learn to trust my body. To trust that my body knew how to lose weight if it needed to. That my body knew what was best for me and if given the opportunity to do so, it would know how to overcome unhealthy addictions. I started to have faith in my own appetite & listen to what my intuition was telling me about food choices. I started witnessing when I had a negative thought about my body and learned to laugh at the ridiculousness of it. I became a friend to my body. I remembered that I’m more than my appearance.
I started eating way healthier purely for the fact I had its best interests at heart. Not to be skinny or fitter, but for the fact, my body is my home and so I want to treat it well. To remember it’s sacred.
I’d also eat indulgent foods at times. Now that I’m not worried about my weight and trusting my body knows how to be a healthy weight I could do it guilt-free (Melanie’s food diaries helped with that). Just like you’d treat a friend to a cake and wouldn’t want them to worry about every mouthful, I’d remember that was applicable to me. A healthy life is a balanced one. Finally, things started to shift.
My body slowly started to change & so did my confidence in it. I started to embrace my small boobs and my larger hips. I learned to love being a pear shape. I’m no longer wishing for bigger boobs or to be an hourglass. I’m embracing my femininity, not by looking a certain way but by knowing my body is good enough as it is. That I’m more than my body or my looks. That it’s OK to want to feel sexy, confident, and ‘feminine’ but that means not changing my body but embracing it.
My body will change if it needs to when I just start loving it a bit more. I don’t get to hate my body and expect it to change. I make peace with it and should my body require change it will do so naturally. All the whilst I stay committed to learning to love all of it.
Can I say I love all of my body? Hell no, but I’m getting there. I’ve spent 17 years hating on it so I’m not expecting it to happen overnight. What I do know is I’m starting too and you should too. My confidence is higher than it’s ever been and my self-esteem is growing all the time. I didn’t worry about the size of my chest on this photoshoot. I didn’t feel the need for a push-up bra or padding because I’m embracing my femininity exactly as it is. I didn’t worry about my shape because I’m more than my body. I haven’t gone on a diet, in fact, I’m now anti-diet.
I’ve simply focused on a healthy relationship with food. I didn’t have photos taken for any other reason than to say to myself my body is perfect as it is. I can feel sexy because I choose to. Not because of how I look, but how I embrace all of myself. So to my small boobs, two sizes bigger hips, and my whole body I love you. All of you. You’re all woman and I’m so grateful to be a woman.
It Did Do Harm – An open Letter to Grandparents & Those With Adult Children
(Blog post on generational trauma)