For years now, I’ve had this constant mental battle with my body where one day, I look in the mirror and I’m so happy and anywhere between a few hours to a few days later, I hate it! The typical idea was that women always go through these battles because the trends of body shapes are forever changing, but as of recently, the media has been pressurising men too! Nobody is safe anymore and with the trends changing rapidly, it’s so hard to keep up. First thigh gaps were cool, now we frown on them as if we never praised them in the first place. Now it’s all about the girls with the thick thighs and the unattainable bodies. I’m completely down for the thick thighs don’t get me wrong, but I point out the unattainable body shapes because not even the girls you see have that body! It’s all bought. I see people striving for a body shape that they may never have because it’s just not how they’re supposed to look. Some girls are naturally very slim and some are naturally bigger, others are (currently) blessed with an hour glass shape but trust me, give it a year or two and the media will be fat shaming them until it’s cool to be a size zero again!
Rant over, back to me. I remember exactly where and when it started. Prior to this time, I had NO care in the world about my body, I was simply just a young girl living my life and had no sense of self-consciousness. One day when I was in school and roughly 14-15 years old, I remember running through the playground and I felt my thighs rubbing together and within an instant, my mind was filled with thoughts of being fat and thinking ‘omg, everyone’s looking at my huge thighs rubbing together’. I almost wish I had pictures of myself from this time but I’ve always been a very slim and petite girl so I honestly have no idea how I put two and two together and made eight but for the next few years, I became so self conscious and probably a bit crazy.
I can’t say I had an eating disorder, because nobody has ever known about this. I’ve never been diagnosed with anything or had anything suggested to me, nor have I ever known why this happened to me. But after I came to my very far fetched conclusion, I just stopped eating. I never really ate breakfast much anyway but I think I managed to get out of it by telling my parents there was a breakfast club at school and I never had lunch at school ever. I would go to lunch with my friends just to be with them, but I’d rarely eat and if I did, it would be a few bites of a sandwich. Then I would have dinner and depending on what it was, I’d eat it all, eat some or eat none and I could go a full day without eating. Sometimes my parents would send me to school with a packed lunch or some fruit (I was always the healthy girl at school) but being the lost and unappreciative little girl I was, I’d usually give it to someone else. I’d convinced myself that by not eating anything, I’d become so slim (although I already was) and everyone would praise me for my body. I’d learnt the art of sucking in too which of course we all do, but I’d learnt to suck in 24/7 to the point it’s become natural to me till this day. I don’t even realise I do it anymore, I guess it’s because I learnt to make it look natural and how to control my breathing around it.
This lack of eating lasted about a year or two and then suddenly, the complete opposite happened and I was binge eating. I couldn’t tell you why or what made me change my mind but it just happened. I still wasn’t eating breakfast because my body became so used to not having it that eating in the early hours would make me sick. But by 10:00/11:00 I’d be eating chocolates, crisps, a whole packet of biscuits and whatever else I could get my hands on washed down by some sort of fizzy drink. At 1:30 would be a full lunch followed by any left over snacks, 3:30 would be chicken and chips religiously and sometimes if I was still hungry I’d have a snack, followed by dinner. At one point, I’d have some kind of greasy chicken and chips or KFC literally everyday for months. You’d think I’d be piling on the pounds by this point but my metabolism allowed me to eat whatever I wanted without it showing.
Everyone told me to be careful because it would catch up to me eventually but I’d ignored them all and now my metabolism is the complete opposite. I’m still very slim and petite and I don’t think my frame will change much but when I start to put on weight, the first places it all goes to is my neck (double chins), my hips (love handles) and the bottom of my stomach (that horrible little pouch). I don’t completely hate my body, majority of the time I’m actually very confident but one of my friends once said this and it stuck with me.. To the outside world, people may look at us and think “I wish I had a body like hers”, we may even be someone’s ‘body goals’, but we live in our own skin, nobody knows our bodies the way we do and so regardless of what everyone else thinks, good or bad, there may always be something we don’t like. So let’s not judge people. Yes, a slim person can complain about their body and yes a bigger person may have no complaints at all. The only thing we can do individually is either accept it, or change it.