Size is just a number.

I never used to think about food.

I grew up in a household where meals ran like clockwork and weren’t a topic of family discussion. We ate breakfast at the table, I took a packed lunch to school and we sat and ate dinner together. When I went to college, I was surprised that people ate so much rubbish; chowing down on giant bags of chips and guzzling Pepsi like it was about to become obsolete. It was an eye opener, but I didn’t have the tastebuds for it.

It was later in my twenties when I started dating that food crept its way into my life, and under my skin. I ate out at fancy restaurants, cooked romantic feasts and snacked through loved-up movie fests with my SO. At some point my body changed and I didn’t even notice.

I went through a phase of nearly killing myself in the gym, battling to keep hold of the fat reigns before the hungry horse galloped off. I knew I was at that point where if I didn’t keep it under control, my cute, tight little birthday suit would pop its buttons and reveal a larger inflated onsie lurking just beneath the surface. So I spent several years in denial, shoving the extra fat underneath different silhouettes.

And then it happened. I stepped off the treadmill, threw in the towel, and accepted I was never going to be skinny again.

Gaining weight is an inevitable part of ageing. In the same way I embraced my wrinkles, I had to accept my new, rounder shape too. Accepting a more generous body shape wasn’t easy, far from it. Youth is synonymous with beauty in society’s unwrinkled eyes and it’s a choice you have to make to swim against the tide. If I could have flicked a switch and chosen to freeze my weight at a svelte figure, I would have. But there’s not an app for that. Yet.

There were days when I looked in the mirror and contemplated surgery, but a zippy nip tuck is misguided confidence. I knew I’d start with fixing up one thing and then shift my focus to another. Did I really want to spend the next few decades literally trying to shoo ageing away with a scalpel? And besides, I’m not the same person I was in my twenties, so why would I want to look like her? I’m more mature, confident, have learnt from my mistakes and battled through tough times.

So I embraced my new self-image and gave away clothes I knew in my heart of hearts I would never wear again. I stopped trying to hide my shape in dark hues, bought bold brights in a bigger size and as soon as I did that, the compliments flowed.

“You look well”, “So healthy”, “A tan really suits you,” they said.

In giving my new comfy onsie the green light I found an exciting sense of calm. My confidence blossomed, my smile was as broad as my hips, and I was happy again.

Life isn’t about pressing pause; it’s about moving forward. I’ve had some incredible life experiences – some fantastically good, others heartbreakingly bad – but they all add up to ‘me’, whatever size that means. Like the wrinkles on my face, my body is a reminder of how far of come.

Comment: Have you ever struggled with your body image?

 

Want More?

Have our best reads delivered straight to your inbox every week by subscribing to our newsletter.

SUBSCRIBE

 

You Said

Comments

Win 10K cash
Win a brand new Hyundai