I and everyone who knows me may describe my levels of self esteem as 'dangerously high' , 'borderline narcissism disorder' and 'more confident than she should be'. So why has being my highest weight hit me so hard?
It all started during a PT session last week where I decided to do a fitness challenge that included deadlifting my body weight (again: more confident in myself and my abilities than I should be) and for that we needed to know how much that was. It was significantly more than I thought I was and suddenly all that confidence and self love went out the window, despite my body looking exactly the same as it did that morning. Instead I was overcome with guilt, and I immediately started scrolling through 'thinspo' and googling photos of Emily Ratajkowski.
I felt guilty for gaining weight, I have been letting indulgence get the better of me as a way to deal with stress and this involves eating chocolate for breakfast and only eating meals that involve enormous amounts of cheese. I felt guilt for letting myself 'be naughty' and for not looking after my body the way I perhaps should have been. I am still a perfectly healthy weight so why do I feel so awful about my body? Sometimes I think as women we look for any opportunity to feel bad about how we look and its so quick and easy to get into criticising ourselves when it comes to something as fickle as beauty. Not being perfect is also seen as a sign of weakness. I even feel less confident around other women because I know I weigh more than them (especially at blogger events), it's ridiculous and a feeling I've always been prone to but I am guilty of feeling 'in competition' with other women at times in terms of looks (for no reason??) and if I weigh more or I'm not as pretty I feel like I'm losing that competition. I am the worst feminist in the history of woman kind. The patriarchy has got to me, ladies, I have been compromised.
So, we've covered the original guilt of not looking after my body and therefore 'letting myself go' and the secondary guilt of caring so much about my image and the guilt of being a bad feminist. But theres layers to this shit, its a guilt lasagne. Next up: Guilt of wanting to be thin. I am soooooo guilty of having a big aspiration in my life to be thin. Helped along by high fashion culture I have glorified thin women since teenage-hood. I think a woman who barely eats must have her shit together, a perfect body = a perfect person. Of course I recognise the toxicity of what I think and I know it is entirely inaccurate. I used to want to be skeleton thin, I thankfully no longer wish that on myself, but I am still addicted to that feeling of losing weight. Its the feeling I get when I walk up a slope and my legs look thinner than they do on flat, I feel so much better when I think I'm thinner and I feel so guilty for that. I think of myself as quite a progressive person especially when it comes to image and confidence, so when I get that rush of happiness if I look thinner or if I weigh a couple pounds less I get an after shock of guilt for feeling that way.
I get so flattered if someone says 'oh you've lost weight' 'you look slimmer' etc and I really shouldn't feel so happy when/if I'm told that. What people are really saying by that is 'you look better when you're thinner' which is a huge fuck off backhanded complement which I'm definitely not happy about at all.
I'm still in a place where I equate beauty with being thin, and that does make me feel guilt, but I'm working on having a healthier outlook.
We talk about self acceptance like you have this long journey through your teenage years and somewhere in your 20s or 30s you find self love and thats it, now you love yourself forever and you'll never feel bad about how you look ever again and you'll be the most confident person in the world for the rest of your life. But its not true. I've been lucky and I found self love and body confidence when I was around 17, completely comfortable in my own skin. But the reality is sometimes you loose that a little, and then have to work on yourself again and find your way back to that place, which is what I'm doing. Will I still lose weight? Not going to lie: Yes. I am excusing it as something I am doing for myself and I am trying to turn it into an empowering thing for me rather than something that just plays off my toxic feelings towards weight loss that will ultimately bite me in the arse.
My life lesson for you all today is : Don't let the guilt get to you. It's okay to have these feelings around weight and image and its okay to have a bit of body dysmorphia and its okay to compare yourselves to others in terms of looks as long as you recognise that that behaviour is only harmful to you and work on letting go of those tendencies. Be kind to yourselves xo