I’ve been overweight most of my life and if you told me that I would be posting this online a few years ago, I would have said you were nuts. I’ve always been really ashamed of it, I was never one of these women that would happily proclaim “I’m fat and bubbly” to the world. I never talked about it because I thought that perhaps people wouldn’t notice and I felt that by addressing it, I was putting myself down.
I’ve navigated my way to losing weight with a broken compass, a strong sense of denial and confusion. I’ve taken a detour down so many roads that led to dead ends that, each time, it becomes increasingly harder to make the u-turn back to safety. It’s been emotionally draining and heartbreaking. I’ve controlled my calories, starved myself, joined the gym, quit the gym. I’ve walked, juiced, detoxed and lifted weights. I’ve taken laxatives, diet pills and kept a journal of my intake. I’ve ridden a bike, worked out at home and spent hundreds of pounds on gadgets, appliances and memberships. I’ve been vegan, vegetarian and pescetarian and it’s all led me back to square one, except that every time I arrive back, I have a little bit more weight and a lot more self loathing.
It’s a lot easier to call yourself a failure than it is to say you’re depressed or sad.
I’m thirty this year and I’m worried about my health. I use food as a vice, to fill an emptiness and as a welcome distraction from the stresses in my life. Not only is there the emotional eating aspect, but I’m also addicted to sugar and salt like so many people in Britain. It has taken me a long time to come to this conclusion and you would assume that it would be obvious, but it’s a lot easier to call yourself a failure than it is to say you’re depressed or sad. This is the real, hard hitting issues that are not being addressed by the media regarding obesity.
I watched the Channel 4 documentary, ‘Plus Size Wars’ this week and I was left uncomfortably sat on the fence. I don’t want to embrace or encourage my unhealthy issues with food but I also don’t want to demonise myself for having them in the first place. I think that it's great that there is a community of young girls that can support each other through hard times and I wish I had that when I was a teenager, but on the flip side, when does it turn from being a confidence booster to the notion that being obese is cool?
I wasn’t happy because I was lighter, I was lighter because I was happier.
As I watched so many young girls line up to meet Tess Holliday, I felt sad because the focus is still on admiration and longing to be like someone else, much like young girls looking up to a size zero supermodel. I understand the concept of being inspired by someone and I think that it’s a beautiful thing when someone is influential in lifting people’s spirits but I can’t get seem to get past the health factor.
I’m not just talking physical health, but mental health. This has been lost in the exposure. What has become evident in my quest for a healthy body is that my mind, without question, comes first. It’s no surprise that the more depressed I’ve been, the more weight I’ve gained. The happiest periods in my life, were when I weighed less. I wasn’t happy because I was lighter, I was lighter because I was happier. At the same time, we can’t assume that everyone who is overweight is unhappy. It’s a delicate subject but at the core of it all should be mental well-being, longevity of life and health. We are all human beings, not statistics. Instead of telling people to ‘eat less and move more’ we should encourage talking and self reflection.
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