I wasn’t always curvy, I’ve been slim too in fact I was slim for the first 23 years of my life so I know exactly how it feels to be both. I know how it feels to be obese too, yeah a total fatty. At my heaviest I was 136 kilograms, I know right I can’t believe it either.
How did I allow myself to get outa control?
Why couldn’t I stop shovelling crap into my mouth?
Where had my motivation gone?
When did I lose my identity?
There’s many reasons why I put on weight and not all of them had anything to do with food.
I had two babies, I was sad, I had depression… sexual abuse as a child haunted me.
There were times that I celebrated with food (obviously lots of times), comforted myself with food and even saw a full pantry and fancy schmancy party spreads as a status symbol.
Then there was the merry go round of fad diets and health kicks, a constant over the last twenty years. When I put on weight it was because some part of my life wasn’t centred, my feelings were swaying in the breeze and I had ‘lost control’.
Sometimes it was small things like a tiff with a co worker, or feeling judged by a family member, money stresses or a bad day with the kids.
Sometimes it was big things like feeling worthless, hating my looks and body, insecurities, depression…dark thoughts and bad memories.
For twenty years I fell victim to myself and allowed myself to be sucked into the hype, most people will tell you I have always been confident but deep down I struggled.
At times I wanted to fit into the cool gang…at school and then with the mums at my kid’s school. I know, so sad!
I took judgement personally and let extended family have far too much say on my life. I had a need to please and it invaded all areas of my life including work which just meant I worked my arse off and ended up frazzled.
Then at 41 I was diagnosed with breast cancer and everything changed… for the better.
Cancer and all that it brought changed me in lots of ways but one of the biggest ways was it made me look at my body in a completely different way.
I could have hated my body for allowing cancer to invade it but I didn’t, instead I started listening to my body and loving the shit out of it. I stopped being at war with my own body.
There were many surgeries (9) and recoveries, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and so much more, throughout all of this I had to learn to tune into my body. I had to treat it better and start honouring it.
Treatment made me fat as a tick adding 30+ kilograms to my body and stripping me of my breasts, body hair and the ability to function, wiping my own arse was impossible some days.
Cancer stripped me bare, tore me down but it certainly didn’t defeat me, instead it gave me the opportunity to start again.
I looked at my body and my life very differently, I started to bloody love myself and let go of feelings of failure and judgement. It didn’t happen overnight, it’s a work in progress and every day I’m learning new ways to improve myself…the reward is for the first time in my life I understand my body and the effect my attitude to life has on it.
Throughout chemo I learned to speak to my body in a more nurturing way. Instead of hating my bald head I learned to thank it for holding my picture book of memories.
Instead of hating my washed out eyes that had zero eyelashes I learned to thank them for allowing me to see my children and the ocean and for opening every morning.
Instead of hating my barren and scarred chest I learned to thank it for holding my heart that was still beating, a heart that was filled with love.
Instead of hating my ulcerated mouth I learned to thank it for allowing me to speak words of love and gratitude.
Instead of hating on my weak and swollen legs I learned to thank them for getting me to the supermarket, allowing me to push a trolley full of food to feed my family. Some days it was a ‘shuffle’ and I had to pause often but my legs got me there.
Instead of cursing my numb arm that’s filled with raging nerve pain I learned to thank it for allowing me to wrap my arms around loved ones.
I thanked my body even when needles were puncturing it, scalpels were slicing it and drugs being pumped into it.
At night I would lay in bed and inch by inch thank my body and in the morning when my eyes opened I had nothing but gratitude.
This body of mine responded well to gratitude and thanks, it heard it…felt it.
Yeah that’s right, gaining weight isn’t all about kilojoules in and exercise, situps and squats don’t wash away years of pain.
We don’t all need to have endured ugly horrible things in our life for it to affect our weight, sometimes it’s a bad relationship, harsh words spoken, being judged or bullied, the loss of a loved one.
The thing is to work through our feelings, really work through them and then move on…as Taylor Swift says-“shake it off“.
So I know how it feels to be slim, curvy, tubby and a fatty, and I also know what it means to be stripped bare emotionally and facing my mortality.
These days I try to honour my body and listen to it. Together my body and I are working on being the best version of me…finding my identity again.
Don’t give up, don’t lose hope because we are all worth it, we are all learning. It just takes a little bit of work, gratitude and thanks.
Til next time