Here we go again…
An hour ago, just as I think I am beginning to accept my body, I fall prey to a wobbly moment and, in a self destructive moment of madness, decide to try on a pair of combat trousers that, this time last year, were hanging loosely around my then-slim hips.
This morning, for some unfathomable, self-loathing reason, I decided to see how they fit.
As you can probably tell from my melancholy tone, the button and the buttonhole simply refused to meet. After much huffing and puffing, as I eventually forced them together, I was appalled to look in the mirror at the surplus of flesh that spilled over the waistband… Muffin Top? Forget it… This was Pound Cake top.
I have been aware, over the past year or thereabouts, that my health habits, diet and exercise regimes have slipped from being uber-disciplined and rigorous to being, well, basically slovenly and hedonistic.
I am one of those women that probably inspires resentment in other women. I am still a healthy weight and size by all accounts. The jeans I wear are an Irish size 6, I wear dress size 6-8, and generally opt for size small in most clothes.
The combats and jeans that I can no longer fit into were all from the kids department, age 11-12 years.
Standing at 153cm tall, although I am child-size in height, I am very aware that I am a fully-grown woman, and I shouldn’t be overly concerned about having hips, a gently rounded belly and a full bosom.
However I struggle with it almost daily.
The fact that I once was tiny enough to fit into a prepubescent’s clothes makes me feel that I should still be able to do so.
The swell of overflowing boob that spills from my bra cup makes me feel, not sexy or womanly, just fat and flabby. If I would go and buy a new, bigger bra the problem would be solved… But that would be admitting defeat.
I am torn between accepting I am a well-proportioned, relatively healthy and fit woman, not a prepubescent child.
I remember being so very tiny that I had to sleep with a pillow between my knees because of the discomfort of the bones rubbing against each other.
I remember finding it painful to lie on my back at times because of my spine. I frequently knocked my protruding hipbones against the worktop and kitchen cabinets, bearing bruises most days.
When a friend who hadn’t seen me in a while told me I looked like Skeletor I was unfazed, perhaps even slightly pleased. I revelled in my thigh gap, my sharp clavicles and my razor-like cheekbones.
I wonder why I found such self-punishment so rewarding?
Now, on one level, I understand that, despite sporting some extra, untoned flab, I am most likely healthier now than I was then.
However, if I am honest, I miss the days of wearing my clothes and never having to suck in my tummy. The days of light, small boobs that didn’t need a bra. The days of trousers slipping down to rest on my hipbones rather than clinging to my waist as they do now.
I wish I could accept my body as it is.
I worry that if I cannot, I will either return to a weight that was pretty unhealthy and unrealistic. A weight that only came as a result of incredible discipline, self-denial and exercise.
I have been indulging too much and exercising too little because my life has morphed into one I am not happy with. I have not employed good coping mechanisms and am now seeing the outcomes from bad decision-making.
I can start to see now a pattern – the self-punishment I inflicted on myself via denial is being reflected and repeated in my lack of self-love and self-care that has resulted in me making bad diet and lifestyle choices.
My challenge will be to return to some of my old healthy habits but not to go to the extremes I did in the past. I must cease with the extremes I am practising now and regain some balance in my life.
This will be a massive challenge for me.
I am a creature of extremes.
With me, it is black or it is white.
I do not do grey.
Will I succeed?
To be honest, I really do not know.
This time next year, will I be in an even worse position because the challenge will be too much for me? Will I have returned to being a woman in a child’s body? Will I be bigger and even more unhappy? Should I simply throw out all the clothes bearing a tag with 11-12years on them?
Or will I, as I dearly hope, be happy, healthy and at peace with myself?
Stay tuned… I’ll keep y’all posted.
Wish me luck!