I struggle with my weight and I struggle with food. I love to eat, I love snacks but I’ve had to come to the horrible conclusion that I can’t eat whatever I want whenever I want and be skinny. I’m not one of those people, I have to watch what I eat not to become obese.I say this because I was once really big.
Three years ago I almost hit 90kgs. I can’t even look back at the pictures of me at that time.
People would grab my belly and jiggle it around asking me how I got so big. It hurt, so I would vow to stop eating, I would promise myself that I would become tiny. It didn’t work, because I refused to accept what was happening with my body. I refused to take ownership of my bad habits. I told myself that I was big and fabulous but I hated how I looked. I hated how big my clothes were, I hated that my boyfriend at the time was half my size. How could I feel beautiful, how could he think I was beautiful when all I saw was a fat monster?
I think I would have continued to struggle with my weight had I not left the country for a year abroad program. When I got back I’d lost 25kgs. That was without going on a strict diet or a crazy exercise regime. My secret? I cut my portions in half, sometimes more than half. I was (am) a big overeater, I had at some point forgotten what a sensible portion of food looked like and relearning that was really hard. I had to tell myself to eat when I was hungry, not when I thought that I was supposed to. I focussed on chewing my food more as I ate, I trained myself to be concious of my hunger levels and to stop before I felt full. It wasn’t easy and I can’t say I’ve mastered it, I still occasional slip back into bad and I have unfortunately gained a tiny portion of the weight back. But the good news is that as soon as I do, I am able to identify the problems and fix them.
When I see images like this, I feel encouraged to continue taking the steps I’m taking to lead a healthier life. On a lot of female safe spaces I see women ridiculing pictures like this saying things like, “Why can’t we just love the body that we’re in?” And I get it, a lot of motivational images like this one can get mixed up with Thinspo which are images that are circulated by pro ana (anorexia) groups who encourage men and women to be skinny using unhealthy and unsafe methods.
The truth is though that sometimes I have to reminded that I don’t want that extra piece of cookie, I’m not hungry, I’ve had four and I’m just eating because I am bored or lack self control. My stomach isn’t a wastebasket. While I don’t print out these images and stick them on my wall, just knowing they exist, and passing by them on line somewhere does give me that reminder that yes, building better habits is hard, but something I want to do. That even though I hate sit-ups and crunches, I should do them.
My weight is an incredibly sensitive topic for me and it’s something that I think I’ll forever have to work on.
Self control isn’t easy.