Learning to love my body

21 04 2013

Well. “Love” might be a bit too strong a word for it. But it’s growing on me.

Like most women, I have severe hang ups about my body. I’m “well built”. I love food. It doesn’t make a good recipe for a body you’d be happy to break out on Bondi Beach. Or even in the comfort of your own home.

Shopping for clothes became a tortuous affair. In my head, I fitted nicely into the Size 16 Camp. The fitting room reality begged to differ. So buying clothes turned into a nightmare that I tried everything i could to avoid. Or I prepared myself for feeling like shit once I stepped behind the Curtain of Doom (aka the fitting room). I didn’t want to admit to myself that I was outgrowing Size 16. That meant I was Larger Than Average. A label I didn’t want, but was doing little about.

As a result, my dress sense probably ranked no higher than my grandmother’s (god rest her soul) as I rarely shopped for clothes. And definitely not current season ones. Why spend all that money on something that looks rubbish on you?

But today heralded a bit of a turnaround. I wasn’t planning a big shopping spree. I knew I needed a few new bits after losing over 16kgs since September. And after finally taking five bags of clothes that are now too big for me to the Wellington Women’s Refuge. Some of which I’d only worn once or twice. If ever.

It was like saying goodbye to the old me at last. But I’m still a little scared to say “g’day” to the new one, memories of changing room let-downs still vivid in my head.

I found myself in the familiar territory of Kathmandu. I’d thrown away a few pairs of walking trousers (including a Kathmandu pair purchased right before Xmas) so felt I deserved a new pair.

Trying desperately to avoid the all-too-familiar let downs of yester-year, I picked up a couple of pairs of size 14s. Better to be safe than sorry in my book. The resulting look wasn’t exactly pretty. But not for the reasons I’m used to. They were hanging off me.

Swapping them for a size down confirmed once and for all that I’m well and truly established in the Size 12 Camp. For someone who’s 169cm (5ft 7 in old money), I would have always labelled that person as “slim”. I guess now I’m one of them. But I still don’t like to admit it.

This revelation meant my self confidence took a well-earned step up. I even went on to buy not one, but two new dresses! Encouraged by my dear husband who, while claiming he was encouraging me to buy them as a “well done you” gift, has most definitely got ulterior motives as he’d do anything to drag me out of the trousers I feel more comfortable wearing.

Are there things I’d still like to change about my body? Of course. I’m a woman. We always want to change something (I call it perfectionism). But at least now I can look at myself in the mirror and kind of like what I see: toned arms, visible collarbones, an almost flat stomach. By jove, this running malarkey seems to suit me.

I know it’s still going to require me to slog my guts out to stay this way, but what better motivation do I have other than liking myself more? I don’t want to return the relationship with my body to the brink of divorce, like before.

So while I still don’t love my body, at least we’re on speaking terms now.

Before and after

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