I’ve been back and forth wondering which topic to cover first, but I’m grabbing the bull by the horns and talking about body image and me.
I’ve never been what you’d call thin since I passed through puberty. My love of food and dislike of intense exercise have never made me a fan of serious dieting. I guess like a lot of folks, sometimes I’m happy as I am, sometimes not being able to wear the clothes I love seriously gets me down.
I am a true believer that genetics play a huge part in how you naturally look. For example I look like my mum facially and have a very similar body size, whilst my sister is tall and slim, just like my Dad (who, to prove my point, is 1 of 8 and only 1 has a different body type to the others).
This is me and my mum, taken around 6 years ago and is me at my heaviest. You can see the similarity.
This is me and my sister on my 40th birthday. I wanted a masked ball, and you can see how squeezed into that dress I am, despite ordering sizes bigger.
It’s only been in the last year that I have really started to not just accept myself as I am, but love myself as I am. Yes, I would still like to shed a few pounds, but that has nothing to do with appearance and everything to do with health.
I know exactly when the change in my perspective started. It started with an unexpected comment from my husband. I’ve always known he loves me as I am and he finds me attractive. But when you don’t feel attractive to yourself, the words of others do little to make you feel better.
Standing naked in front of our full length mirror one morning, I was on the verge of tears when Robin said something to me that was all the more moving because it’s not the sort of thing he usually says, “Shall I tell you what I see? I see a body that has given me 4 amazing children, a body that I want to climb into bed next to for the rest of my life and a body that fights battles with pain every single day”.
Now, needless to say, that caused copious amounts of tears and blubbing (me, not him lol). I thought about those words over and over and it slowly dawned on me how right he is. 4 pregnancies, 1 c-section (responsible for what I call the caesarean over hang), along with almost 25 years of assorted medications and scars from various procedures have given me the body I have (ok, I admit cake and crisps also played a part).
Fighting a daily battle with Fibromyalgia, arthritis, digestive disorders, a poorly back with metalwork in it and whatever else seems to be thrown at me fairly regularly, all have an effect on what I see in the mirror. But there is a flip side to that, one that is so important to acknowledge and even more important to embrace – Your body is fighting, its fighting against the pain becoming anymore debilitating, it’s giving you the ability to get out of bed each day, even if you have to do it slowly and carefully. Your lungs are breathing, your heart beating, your mind thinking.
So I may never be the dress size I’d like, but I’m loved, I’m desired and I have a body that keeps on fighting. My wobbly bits and over hangs, just remind me of how far we’ve come, they remind me that being squishy means I’m soft to cuddle up with. The boobs that almost reach my waist remind me that I gave 4 children the best start I could give them. My scars remind me that I’m strong enough to deal with whatever is thrown at me. And the hour glass shape to my figure (yes it’s there under everything, I’m just not getting it out to prove it lol) reminds me I’m a woman and there is someone who will always want to get into bed next to me.
If you struggle to love your body, please just take a few minutes to acknowledge just what that amazing body of yours deals with and overcomes, every single day!
Top pic me now, below a couple of years ago with the love of my life xxx