Body positivity is a tricky one to talk about. I mean I am all for it. I have never been a fan of the portrayal of the perfect body having to be stick thin and I hate the way the media portrays females – specifically celebrities when their weight fluctuates one way or the other. Those trashy magazines that have a front cover which one side slates someone for looking too skinny whilst on the other side, berates someone for having put on a bit of weight. There is no need for it, this constant scathing attack on the female body – something which over our years on this planet, we ALL struggle with at some time.
Over the past year or so, there has been a lot of focus on body positivity. The message seemingly that we should embrace the bodies that we have. To love our curves. Embrace our stretchmarks. To adore our saggy boobs that look a bit lifeless after more than two years of breastfeeding! And of course, I am all for it. I love and salute ALL of the women who have braved the likes of Instagram and posted photos of themselves in celebration of their amazing bodies. After all, female bodies are amazing. The things that they have to go through – periods, childbirth, breastfeeding (in some but not all cases). They really are incredible things.
But. And you knew that there was a but coming.
What if we don’t want to embrace the things that we don’t like about ourselves? What if we strive for better, try our hardest to keep on top of it, and don’t consider ourselves as body confident until we have reached our goal. Is that ok?
You see, I am never happy when I am bigger. I’ve never really been a big girl but over the years my body has fluctuated between a size ten and a size fourteen. Most of the time, I have been somewhere between a twelve and a fourteen. The problem I have, is that it all gathers in the same places. My legs tend to stay pretty much the same, and the weight all hits my stomach, hips and back. When I am on the larger side of the clothing sizes, I hate it. I don’t wear tighter tops as I don’t want the flabby bits beneath my bra to be on show, and I don’t want my belly to be poking out. The majority of the tops that I have in my wardrobe are floaty. They cover the multitude of sins that I don’t like. I hate seeing myself in the mirror. If I am totally naked, it’s ok – but when I am getting dressed, I have to generally put a vest top on before my trousers so that the top half is covered up and I don’t have to see it all squished up and hanging out. It really is a problem for me.
During the Summer, I started losing weight. I joined Weight-watchers for three months to get my eating a bit more under control, I was busy enjoying the sunshine with the boys, and I really noticed a difference in my body. And that was really when I decided to take action. To maximise what had sort of happened naturally (I didn’t really diet other than continuing to eat fruit and yogurt for breakfast and eat lots of salad for lunch). My main meals were exactly the same as they always had been – garlic bread and mint Magnums to boot!
But what I did, was start exercising. I joined up to Results With Lucy so that I could work out at home and for the last six weeks or so, that is what I’ve been doing. I try to exercise at least three times a week. Sometimes it’s a lot more, and sometimes it’s a lot less. But when it’s a lot less, I know about it. I feel the weight creeping back on – because it does that doesn’t it? It takes AGES to lose and one cake to put it back on again! And when it’s creeping back on, I can feel the loathing beginning again. The not wanting to look in the mirror, the feeling of my tummy expanding again underneath the slimline jumper that had suddenly become a lot looser.
And that’s when I really started to realise that I am just happier with myself, with my body, when it is smaller. I will never be less than a size ten – I am not striving to be mega skinny, so please don’t worry – you all know I love biscuits way too much to make myself ill with it. But mentally, physically, I prefer being skinny. There, I said it. Skinny.
I remember when the other half and I got engaged back at the beginning of the year, and his Mum and I were talking about wedding dresses and styles I liked, and she said to me something about not going and losing loads of weight just so I would potentially look better in the dress. Because the other half loves me no matter what size I am! And she also mentioned recently after it was clear that I was losing weight and toning up, that she preferred me with some curves on me.
But I don’t.
When I stood in my wedding dress in the shop a few weeks ago, I looked amazing – wedding dresses do that right? They make you look incredible. But as I looked at myself, I realised that there is no way I want to be any bigger on the day. I just don’t. And now when I haven’t exercised for a couple of days, I feel the guilt and I feel the undoing of all of what I have been working on.
And so when I see these body positivity photos, as much as I do fully support them and think that each and every one of those females are incredible, I know that I can’t be positive about my own body, unless it’s looking how I want it to look. Even now as I have just about managed to squeeze back into a size ten, I am still working on improving it, on toning it up. And there are days when I look in the mirror and realise there is still so much work to be done on it. And of course I am fully aware that I have to keep up the routine because it all changes again the minute I stop.
So does it make me a bad female for not embracing my curves? For not letting the world see all of the bits that I dislike about my body? Does it make me less supportive of the female sex? When there is SO much focus on us loving our bodies no matter what shape and size they are? And so much focus on trying to stop this negative portrayal of weight in the media. Am I simply going against everything that females are fighting for?
But I am not the only one am I? Every single female that goes to a gym, that works out at home, that goes out running. We are all trying to reach that same goal right? All of us want to lose weight? Or keep it at the size that we want it to be. The size that makes us happy. We want to love our slimmer bodies? We still want that body positivity, but with a slightly different body than the one we currently have! That is what we are working towards, striving for. We will be body positive at some point, but we can’t be positive of the body that we just aren’t that keen on? That’s ok right?
What do you think? Is it really as easy as learning to love the body that we have, or is it still ok to want to strive to make it better? And then to love it once we have reached our goal?
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