Pour Your Heart Out- a Link Up Honest Blog Post inspired by thingsicantsay.com
Reading some posts over at Good Girl Gone Redneck, got me thinking about body image, something I have struggled with for a long time, but thankfully haven't been obsessing over in recent years. So here goes.
I have a love/ hate relationship with food, and a questionable relationship with my body image.
I suppose most women do.
When I was 12 I became quite cubby. It was awful, totally debilitating. It stopped me from being myself, it stopped me from doing things I could have, should have, and would have.
How I got there I'm not too sure. Just "puppy fat" as they call it maybe. But it was a vicious circle, as my confidence dropped, I felt less motivated and less inclined to do sports. I couldn't take those awful pushy teachers shouting and trying to be motivating while stripping your confidence down.
So I became shyer and more introverted.
Then when I was 15 I took a Home Economics class for the first time, just for a few weeks. And we learnt about calories. I probably had never heard of a calorie, this was over 15 years ago- people weren’t calorie/weight obsessed, well not in Ireland anyway. We (in an all girls school) were given the homework of analysing and taking note of what we ate and how many calories we had for a week. What were they thinking!!
Anyway, that is where my obsessive relationship with calorie counting began. I was so excited, it was so simple, I had never thought of it that way before. It meant by simply taking account of my calorie intake and trying to keep it less than say 1500 calories a day, or 1300 on a good day I could lose or maintain my body weight.
I quickly found food items that you could eat lots of but that were low in calories- fruit, rice cakes... I also began to lie. I would tell everyone I had had dinner/ lunch at another’s house.
I got a trill from missing a meal. To say it became an obsession was an understatement.
But it worked and I lost weight. I got kissed for the first time. I could look in the mirror and like what I saw. Clothes fit me. People commented on me losing weight which I loved, I relished it, it motivated me even more. Even writing this I am getting flash backs of the feelings, they were dangerous.
I don’t think I was anorexic, in my opinion I never went that far. But I had a problem, which I only admitted to myself when the weight lose effected my life negatively resulting in infertility issues nearly 10 years on.
I now have my perfect Little Man, and am expecting number 2. I am happy in my skin. I am not thin, but I am fit and healthy. I will never win a modelling contest, but I have so much more. If I had know when I was 15 that the miss management of my weight loss may have contributed to trouble conceiving, I don’t know if I would have changed it. But all I can do now is be healthier moving forward, and take a healthier approach to diet and exercise. My mantra now (although different now I am pregnant again) is to eat yummy healthy food with some treats and run accordingly. I took up jogging, which is great, it allows me to eat lots, and then get exercise and maintain a healthy weight.
Weight and body image is such a scary topic, teenagers, especially girls (but I understand more and more boys too) are so vulnerable. And susceptible to others opinions of them, and the bombardment of magazines with so called perfect (too often size “0”) bodies. It is so sad. I hope I can instil a healthy approach to eating and exercise in my kids. How I’m not so sure yet.