“OK, the first week of 2018? Full on diet mode, I’ll exercise like crazy, I’ll be the person I always wanted to be, the desirable one in adverts, on Instagram and the like.”
I was an asthmatic child, relying heavily on inhalers. Not much went in my favour with my big brown tortoiseshell NHS glasses, an eye patch to help my lazy and pretty much blind eye gain strength and my hypermobility/almost club foot, which has contributed to an ankle issue preventing me from certain exercises today. I was that child, the goofy nerdy overweight looking oddball.
I recall at a very young age leaving the children’s hospital with my mother, her arm tugging me through the busy streets of Birmingham to the nearest WHSmith. She thumbed through the cassette section, she purchased a curious blue coloured cassette tape then we made our way home. My mother disliked using public transport, so living just outside the city meant a long walk home. My 6-year-old slightly turned in legs could barely keep up.
“We’re going to do some exercise at home. The doctor said it would help”
It was at that moment when my mum said those words that my insecurities began manifesting. I remember having a massive meltdown, I refused to exercise … I don’t recall much after the tantrum, but the prior is insanely vivid. Growing up was hard from there on out, I loved food and that was that. I was the ‘Muuummm I’m hungry’ kid. I remember her flicking through the GUS catalogue ordering school uniforms; my sister’s from the kids’ section with pretty pleated A-line skirts, and then the thud of the book on mum’s lap as she turned to the women’s section to look for mine. Having to settle for form-fitting pencil skirts which made me even more conscious about my larger than ‘normal’ thigh size and the fact that my butt stuck out miles behind me – the butt my mum still affectionately dubs the shelf. I won’t mention the time I bent down in a crowded hall and my ass split my skirt all the way up. School days were fun. Not.
I’ll fast forward to now, two years ago I began yet another health kick. Again, ‘I failed’ I hate that word, failed. So negative, so Debbie Downer… It’s not for me and this time it triggered a spark inside me, I didn’t fail at all! I learned and I taught myself a valuable lesson.
Quick fixes don’t work.
Today, I’m not about that exercise life. Not to say I don’t exercise, but what I do may not be to others’ standards. I’m the girl who will choose Burger King over broccoli. I’ve dabbled in slimming coffees and shakes but I’m not the shake weight girl. I’m also not the girl plodding the concrete for an hour; my knees literally can’t right now anyway. Trying out these fads and dodging the feeling of ‘failure’ made me sit back and assess why I was doing this, what was the catalyst in making me feel ugly in a world that approved Jessica Rabbit-esque body types.
That’s when I experienced a huge f*** you moment. We’re a world and audience constantly sold to, #HairGoals #LipGoals #BodyGoals. But I’d had enough. I sat looking at my gorgeous kids, and the husband who for over 13 years has loved every inch of my wobbly ass. I have everything I desire right in front of me. Who was I still seeking approval from? I usually eat well, but I have blowouts, evidently more regularly than others and that’s cool with me. Moderation has become my mantra, fun has become my lust for life, and to keep me motivated, I remind myself that slow progress is better than no progress. No matter what journey you sail, you’re still doing great baby.
Like the great Dr. Seuss once said …
‘You’ll look up and down streets. Look’em over with care. About some, you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.” With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet, you’re too smart to go down any not-so-good street.’ – Oh, the places you will go, by Dr. Seuss.
I loved this book as a child and still read it to my children now, there’s much to learn from this story. Your ship is for you to sail, be the wind that pushes it to where you wish to go. In an ocean so huge with many treasures in the depths below dare you be brave enough to seek them. You want to shift pounds? Do it! Just try not to be sucked in by the exploiters of the dieting business – This goes for anyone trying to put on weight too. My mom struggled to gain weight in her 20s and 30s (it’s almost a shock I’m from her gene pool). Speak to your GP or take a moment with yourself and discover your inner mojo, set a pace that works for you.
For me? I’m gonna flaunt my size 18 ass and be comfortable in it, why? Because I am a happy hottie. Happy New Year to the year of YOU. Now, #workwhatyouown – seek and DESTROY.
Oh and psst, You’re beautiful x