6/12/2019

EMBARKING ON A JOURNEY OF SELF-ACCEPTANCE - THE STEPS I'M TAKING


For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to be thinner. Even when I was underweight, I wanted to lose weight. I was repeatedly joining gyms and quitting when life got too busy or the novelty wore off, every summer I started 'being good' to lose pounds before my holiday, and sometimes I would stare at myself in the mirror, countlessly picking out parts of me that I didn't like.

Although this might sound like something that lots of people experience, I would find myself wearing particular clothes, changing outfits at last minute because 'it made me look fat', and generally breaking down in sobs at the hatred for myself. It wasn't until a few weeks ago that I began to realise I was showing symptoms of Body Dysmorphic Disorder. It was this that made me realise that things had to change.

Over the past year or two, I've put on weight. I look back at pictures in shock at how skinny I looked. Given this, though, I'm still smack-bang in the middle of the weight boundaries for a girl of my height and age. Yet, I still feel dreadfully lumpy. I see models on Instagram with tiny butts, big boobs, small waists, and flat stomachs and damn myself for looking the way I do, despite this fact that I'm a perfectly normal and healthy weight.

So now I am determined to change my mindset after all these years, no matter what it takes, and embark on a journey of self-acceptance. Whether this involves embracing the mole below my lip (which, from now on, we will call a beauty mark), educating myself on which exactly it means to be healthy, exercising in my own way, and eating what I want without guilt.

These are the steps I will be taking on my journey of self-acceptance:



Embracing my looks
Kicking it off with the thing that I'll probably find the hardest, accepting the way I look. From beauty marks on my face, hip dips, tummy rolls, or even my thin lips; I'm learning to train my mind to accept these features as things that make me unique. If I had the same body as all the 'influencers' out there, would there be room for another one? No. If my face was identical to someone else's, would I look different? No, obviously. If I kept my differences hidden, would I be able to share this story of self-love and make others feel less alone? Certainly not.

My wide hips are there for my future child to have a secure environment for development; my smaller boobs don't break my back; my freckled skin means I don't need any of those fake make-up dots across my nose; and, most importantly, my body is nobodies business.

Anyone experiencing insecurities with their own body knows the torture that your mind can serve up and there is no doubting that it is going to take a lot of patience in order to rid of the self-hate but, after all, it's the taking part that counts.

Educating myself on nutrition
I mean, having a boyfriend that actually studies nutrition at Uni is pretty handy but, while he's getting his head around whatever is on his curriculum, I'm going to educate myself on the real truths about nutrition that I need to know about. This is about understanding that carbs aren't the enemy (and in fact should make up around 50% of your daily calorie intake) and that full-fat milk is actually packed full of nutrients. And, would you believe it, topping pasta with cheese isn't going to be the end of the world. 

One method that I certainly won't be using in order to properly educate myself is listening to the words of tabloids, 'influencers', or people with no real accredited qualification in Nutrition. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that right now, until he gets his degree, I won't even be listening to my boyfriend.

Quitting the gym
You heard it right, well actually you heard it here first, but I'm quitting the gym. As I said before, it is something that I've established is not good for my mental health in that the guilt that comes along with not being able to attend makes me feel far worse than what it's worth. I'm not going to start telling everyone to quit the gym because, actually, it's a brilliant place but I will encourage everyone to listen to their mind.

Once my membership is up, I'll be delighted to get back to walking and jogging in the open air and doing exercise that I actually want to do and if there are days in which I have no energy to do exercise, I won't beat myself up about it. Listening to your body in the most honest way is the best way to keep a healthy mind. 

Surrounding myself with more positivity
From books to bloggers, I am going to unfollow all of those Instagram accounts that outright make me feel shit about myself and instead get back to the real feeds that are showing life instead of the new World's Tiniest Bikini. I'm doing this is a multitude of ways and they are definitely things that I would encourage others to jump on too!
  1. Reading books - Currently reading Eat it Anyway and thoroughly enjoying it. I have a wishlist of similar books lined up (to be read in no pressured time frame, of course) including The Truth about Fat; The F*ck It Diet, You are a Badass; and Notes on a Nervous Planet.

  2. New Blogs - The likes of Ruby Tandoh in Vice, The Angry Chef, Gabi Maudiere, Callie Thorpe, and the amazing girls at Not Plant Based all write beautifully composed, honest, and topical pieces on the realities of disordered eating, nutritional truths, and self-confidence. 

  3. Better Instagram - As I mentioned, I'm switching it around with who/what I follow on Instagram starting by following the hashtags #midsize, #healthateverysize, and the wonderful Abi's hashtag #midsizegals. Alongside this, accounts such as @balanced_nat, @harri_rose_, @em_clarkson, @laudennison, and so many more, provide great levels of body positivity and spread the right message on busting the social myths around food and bodies.
So, this is where it begins. By the looks of it, with a lot of links, but indeed with no pressure, a lot of patience, and the consistent reassurance to listen to my body and mind and distance myself from the angry thoughts that society is pushing. After all, we were not put on the planet to live our lives for anyone else and we certainly weren't born to diet. 

For more information or help on disordered eating go here
For help with your mental health or to ask any questions, 
you can contact Mind or 24/7 Samaritans.

3 comments

  1. I loved this post and I struggle as well, always picking myself apart when I really don't need to. Anyway, you're gorgeous girl and you shouldn't think otherwise. But its great you're taking the relevant steps to feel happier/healthier and I admire that so much!

    Lucy | Forever September

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  2. I really admire you for taking steps towards being happier - it's not an easy thing to do. Good luck with your journey, sending lots of love! xx

    Toasty

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