If you could change one part of your body, what would it be?
I wonder how many of you gasped in horror, shook your heads ans shouted ‘NO I LOVE MY BODY JUST THE WAY IT IS!’
Not many of you huh?
I get it, it’s super hard in today’s society to be at peace with the way you look and fully accept every inch of your body.
The part of my body that I don’t like is my belly. It’s an area that has plagued me with sadness and shame for so many years. Even now.
During my eating disorder, my belly was the main thing that I obsessed over. I checked it numerous times during the day; in the morning, in the afternoon, at work, after the gym. Just to make sure it hadn’t become larger or miraculously shrunk in the space of a few hours. Sucking in, pushing out, poking and prodding, comparing and never feeling good enough. I was fully drawn into this world and was determined to shrink down as much as possible, especially my stomach.
Let’s rewind to 2013, this is one memory that really gets to me. I visited Dorset with my best friend (hey girl) for a nice weekend. Overall we had a lovely time, full of happiness and laughter, but for me, those memories are tarnished all because of a photo.
I remember seeing this photo for the first time and my heart sunk, I felt completely disgusted by myself and all I could focus on was my belly, the rolls, how bloated I thought I looked.
When I got home, I cried and I mourned for a body that I could never achieve.
The funny thing is, at this time I was thinner and lighter than I am currently. I was probably near my lowest weight.
So What Does This Mean?
It means that there are always going to be parts of our bodies that aren’t seen as ‘right’ by society. There will always be new fads and diets and exercises that get their profit by making us feel worthless. That will never stop.
But what can stop is the way we speak to ourselves and the way we speak about ourselves to others. How many times have you been talking to your girl group and all the conversation seems to be based around is how much exercise you need to do, how ‘bad’ you’ve been, how you hate that your thighs touch or that your arms jiggle? I’m guessing it happens fairly often? So stop! Stop being so hateful towards yourself! All the constant comparing and the picking apart of our lovely bodies.
Of course self love isn’t something you master overnight, you won’t wake up tomorrow, throw off the duvet and declare undying love for yourself (you should, but it just doesn’t work like that). It’s something that you will continuously work towards, you will always be bettering yourself and improving your inner dialogue to reach that place of confidence and well, self love. Just like anything in life, you keep practising, you become better at it and then one day it will click!
So here’s a few things I’ve realised since looking back through my old pictures and checking out these new ones:
Firstly, my belly has nothing to do with my weight. I could be lighter or heavier, thinner or fatter and I would still be yearning after those flawless abs you see all over instagram.
secondly I’ve learnt that I’m so incredibly blessed to have this body! It allows me to run, to skip, to dance. I can do so much with no limitations and my belly helps with all of that!
One day I hope to be lucky enough to carry a life inside me and guess what? That’s something my belly will allow me to do. It will stretch and grow and form that life. When I think of this, I think of my family and friends who have had children. Not once did I look at them in disgust, just pure awe and happiness for them and the fact that our bodies can do something so magical.
Lastly I realised how much time and energy has been spent dwelling on my belly. Thinking about flattening it down and making it disappear. Listening to people’s comments and advice, doubting myself. How many times did I stop enjoying a night out because I was bloated and paranoid? How many times did I panic on holiday and shove a T shirt on because I was embarrassed? How many dance classes did I miss or quit because I was too scared of the comparison in my leotard?
So much time wasted.
So many memories jeopardised.
Hating your body is so exhausting, don’t you think?
I’m not saying that I’m cured and I’ll probably never be the girl to bare all at the gym. But I am definitely happier and learning to love these rolls!