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Ok, so this has been a post that I’ve been wanting to do for a while now but I just didn’t really know how. First of all, how does one take bloody blog photos for such a personal thing? I didn’t know how, so I’ve decided to eschew my usual blog photography and instead use real, proper pictures of me. After all, this is a personal post.
Today I’m talking about body confidence. This isn’t some “5 ways to be body confident!” or “How to love yourself!” type post, because to be quite honest I am still learning about how to have a positive body image. I just wanted to get this post out, in a sort of cathartic way I guess, and hope that maybe it’ll open up a bit of a conversation with you guys about this topic.
Some of you may know that I had a bad ski accident last year and as a result tore 2 of my knee ligaments. I needed to have surgery for it in August and thankfully now my knee is doing pretty well. However, I have put on quite a lot of weight as a result and I’ll be honest and say it has been quite difficult for me.
I feel quite conceited saying that, as there are far worse things going on in the world, but nonetheless I’m going to talk about it today. I am going to be honest today and tell you all that since my accident I have put on almost 2 stone and went from a size 8-10 to a size 12. When this happened, everyone around me told me that I’d lose it easily after my surgery, once I was walking again it would come right off. But that didn’t happen.
Now I get that this wasn’t something I could control and everyone puts on a bit of weight from time to time, but this really affected me. I was getting ready in the mornings, only to find out none of my jeans fit me anymore. None of my ‘going out’ dresses fit me anymore. I went to the Scottish Baftas with my brother, planning on wearing a dress from a University ball the year before – the zip didn’t even go near me.
All of this kind of came to a head when I bought a dress for my University Christmas Ball this year – a red velvet number from Coast, which I loved. The only thing was, I had to lose a few pounds to fit into it. So between November and the end of December I was meticulous about eating and limiting myself to between 1100-1300 calories a day.
There were some days when I would give in and order Dominos or eat out, I’ll be honest, but afterwards I always felt so guilty and would go to bed thinking tomorrow I’ll do better. Dieting made me feel miserable, but I knew that if I wanted to fit into that dress I’d need results fast.
A few days before the ball, I was in London and got food poisoning. I was seriously unwell and couldn’t eat for 3 days, so as a result I lost a little bit of weight. I fit into my dress and the sad thing is, I felt almost happy that I had got the food poisoning.
However, on the night of the ball the few pounds I lost made no difference to the way I felt. I felt so self-conscious, so nervous that I looked chubby and like I didn’t fit in my dress properly. This was all the result of seeing 1 picture of myself with a friend and not liking how I looked. It ruined my entire night and I even left early from the party afterwards because of it.
The next day, I was looking through the pictures on my camera from the night before and I found that I didn’t look nearly as bad as I thought. Sure, there were some unflattering photos from bad angles, but there were a few good ones too. I had let 1 picture ruin one of my favourite nights of the year and I felt so angry with myself afterwards. But it made me realise something.
Throughout my life I’ve struggled with my body image. I’ve thought I was fat since the age of 11 or 12. I think this comes from growing up in an era where the only bodies that were glorified were the ‘heroin chic’ supermodels, when there was no representation of any other body types and every woman’s magazine was filled with articles about the latest fad diets. There was no one for me to look up to and think, that’s someone like me. Or at least that’s the way it felt.
I look back at pictures of myself when I was younger and now I think I looked so slim but at the time I would hate the way I looked in pictures. After every night out, I would rapidly untag any pictures on Facebook where I didn’t look thin. At this time, I was a size 8-10 and not overweight at all – but my mindset made me so negative and unhappy about my body.
What I have realised now, after all those years of hating my body and after this year of having to accept that my body has changed, is that your happiness is not determined by the number on the scales or on your clothing. It is your mindset that will affect the way that you feel and learning to accept yourself the way that you are is what will bring you the self-confidence you’ve always wanted.
I can’t say that I am totally body-confident and have totally got over all of my insecurities, but I am done with feeling shit about myself all the time. I am done with the diets, the fitness accounts on Instagram and the unrealistic ‘body goals’ that I have set for myself before.
I’ll be honest and say that this year I do want to lose some weight and hopefully fit into all of those beautiful clothes that I can’t wear right now. But I’m going to focus on getting my fitness back first and just try to lose weight in a gradual, healthy way. I’ve accepted now that I have to be realistic about what my goals are for my body – I’m never going to look a like Victoria’s Secret model. But if I could tone up a bit, build up my strength again after my injury and feel fitter then I will be very happy.
I feel like this has been such a rambly post, I’m not really sure what I was trying to achieve by posting it! I guess I just wanted to type out all my thoughts and just have this post here for whenever I feel bad about my body so that I can look back on it and snap out of that negative mindset.
I’d love to know your thoughts on this topic and if you have any advice on feeling more body confident! I’m also going to be doing some fitness/health updates here on my blog soon – although I promise there will be no diets or negativity allowed in them at all!