Love Hate Body

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with my body.

In my late teens, and my early 20’s, I treated my body with such distain. I was embarrassed I had curves. I hated my “chunky” thighs and “big bottom”, always enhanced by my smaller waist. When I looked down at my legs (it was alwaysabout my legs) I would shudder. They were unshapely with bulging fat knees.

I claimed my extreme dieting was to reach my goal of wearing a skirt. The truth is, I wasted most of my late teens and early 20s by constantly dieting and trying to change myself.

My weight became such a fixation for me at times that I’m sad to say, my school work suffered. In year twelve, I was stressed with the impending HSC and an inability to manage that stress effectively saw me binge eat. I would eat anything and everything I could find during the day. I would sneak lollies into school regularly, and my bag was full of mini packets of Tim Tams or entire packets of Arrowroot biscuits, or anything that I could continually munch on to try and stuff my fear and the disappointment I had in myself.

When I got home from school and should have been studying, I was making delicious bacon sandwiches or pork rolls to eat before my parents got home and served up dinner. And then I would spend hours on the treadmill in my room trying to run off the calories I had consumed. All the while telling myself over and over that I was a “fat failure who won’t ever be a success”. My priorities at that time, when I should have been studying to get into university, were my weight and my eating. I was so fixated on it that it consumed my every waking moment, I believe. I would even take money from my Mum and Dad’s coin pile to use at the canteen. The same thing over and over, I would eat a ridiculous amount of sausage rolls, chicken drumsticks, even boxes of Cadbury chocolate fundraising packs. I would consume everything at once, and then I would spend the next few hours repeatedly yelling at myself under my breath. Saying the most horrible things over and over. So angry that I was getting further and further away from my “ideal” body weight, and telling myself I was “useless, embarrassing and fat”. It actually breaks my heart to think I would talk to myself like that now, being the mum of two little girls…

And I have to point out that at around this time, I was also playing a great deal of basketball – Representative and State, and was probably a size 8-10. It saddens me now to see my old basketball uniform and how teeny tiny it was and yet how out of proportion and exceptionally large my body looked to me.

All I ever wanted to do was to work in TV. I always thought early on I wanted to be in front of the camera and that brought with it some serious body issue challenges and I put immense pressure on myself to look a certain way. I really didn’t feel I would be taken seriously in the industry unless I could look exactly like who and what I saw on my TV.

Tall, extremely thin, great skinny legs and straight long blonde hair with stylish clothes. That was what I had to aspire to in order to be successful. But I’m not tall; I’m about average for a female. I’m not naturally thin either, I am very curvaceous. My hips have usually always been bigger than my shoulders, so although my waist does kinda go in, I always felt very bottom-heavy. My hair is a dark and dirty blonde naturally and it is surprisingly curly especially on wet and rainy days. And stylish clothes can only be worn by someone who is confident, and I always though thin people were confident. Not those who are carrying a bit of a liver roll or nanna flaps.

I have a huge regret that I abused my body in my early years. It’s something that I can’t say I have totally overcome, but I work really hard on it and almost daily.

I’m not entirely sure at what point things started to change for me, but I DO NOT speak to myself like that AT ALL anymore. I won’t ever be a perfect model, but I actually realised I don’t want to be. I want to be me.

I now try to relish my “differences”. I realise that personality and kindness and empathy I have in abundance, and that to me is way more attractive than my body.

As I approach 40 next year (EEK!!!) I have also really relaxed about wrinkles and skin sag. Lucky, cause I’ve got some great laugh line crevices and the skin on my arms and legs isn’t taut no more. And that’s ok. I am actually ok with that…

Now I want to just “feel” great. I want to be the best, most energetic, clear minded powerhouse that I can be. That means I need to eat clean. I need to give my body the best nutrients it needs to do all the amazing work it carries out. For me this is paramount now, and I love that I am showing my children this pragmatic view of food. It’s important.

From time to time I stuff up and I have a good blow out. I’d be lying if I said I don’t dream of hitting the entire Tim Tam packet (family size of course) when things get stressful. Just last year, when Grant had his accident I felt myself lean on food and lollies again to try manage the stress. But luckily I’ve learnt a lot about myself over the past ten years and I was able to pull myself into check and stop.

Bad foods don’t make me feel bad about myself, but eating poor nutrient deficient foods make me feel sluggish and yuk. I don’t want to feel that way. I want to thrive! I want to live life to the fullest. I want to be healthy both physically and mentally. Meditation also helps me when I’m really tense… So does putting on my favourite music and singing really loudly around your lounge room!

And another thing that really opened my eyes to what my life could truly be like once I accepted my body, was discovering Taryn Brumfit and watching her Embrace film a few years ago. It only strengthened what I had been discovering, that you can love yourself and truly be the person you are destined to be if you just embrace your body, rather than be ashamed of it. This lady is a modern day Saint; she has lived and breathed it. She can connect with you instantly through her inspiring words and charismatic self. She throws herself out there to show you and me that we’re beautiful in so many ways other than our bodies! Her global Body Image Movement has seen millions touched by her drive to teach us that while our body issues may be different, we as a society are focussed on a perceived need to be perfect. How can we EVER win or be happy in that scenario?

I am so proud and honoured and (scared let’s be honest here) that she has asked me to join her on her book tour, for Embrace Yourself, and I will be her guest speaker at the Bathurst Event September 21st at Bathurst Panthers. If you’re free that night, please come and hang out with us. Honestly, it could change your life. That sounds quite dramatic, but often our body issues are so consuming that small changes to how we view ourselves and how we treat ourselves can make HUGE differences.

If you’re a mum of daughters then you most definitely should come. Not to hear from me, but to hear from Taryn. We as Mums of daughter’s have a really scary future with so much emphasis on social media and body image. A lot of female teenagers I meet from time to time have bad body issues similar to me, but in my younger years social media and Instagram and looking like a Kardashian wasn’t prevalent at all.

Now young girls spend hours in their bedrooms, dressing themselves up and putting on perfectly contoured makeup to take ridiculous amount of selfies they can edit, enhance and make themselves look thinner and shinier, before posting them and obsessing over how many likes it gets. It’s so scary; it’s horribly unhealthy and a recipe for bad self esteem and poor body image.

Chezzi

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