Since having my girls I have put on a lot of weight; 15kgs to be exact. The little voice in my head is continuously telling me that this weight gain makes me less of a person; that I should be ashamed of myself. Well, it’s time to tell that little voice to shut the fuck up.
You see, I have been thinking about this a lot. I’m 35 now, I have two amazing children, I am finishing my masters degree by completing an original piece of research that has implications for improving childhood health, I am kind to others, I love puppies. Why they hell am I defining myself by what I weigh.
We are so hung up on weight, and body image. We walk into shopping centres and are bombarded with images telling us we are not good enough. The internet is saturated with diets and weight loss messages, and somewhere in all of this we bought in and decided we are not good enough. I am about to return to my teaching job; a fantastic position where I get to share my knowledge on nutrition and inspire the next crop of practitioners. Yet instead of being excited about that, I am terrified that I am too fat to teach. I have been putting aside the fact I am knowledgeable and passionate about nutrition, and defining my abilities by my weight.
This all came to head for me yesterday. when I cut my calories so drastically I could barely work from fatigue. I realised my obsession with losing weight, which ironically is not helping me lose weight at all, was now interfering with the things that actually make me a valuable human being.
What would happen if I stopped focusing on what I weigh and started to focus on being amazingly happy?
What if I decided that what makes me amazing is not my body, but my mind and heart?
What if I decided that eating a whole batch of the one minute slice, didn’t mean I was a failure, weak or a bad person?
What if I starting moving my body in ways I love, and that made my soul happy, and stopped thinking the only exercise I should do is one that makes me skinny or strong (being strong is an awesome goal, but the new focus on ‘strong’ is associated with the message that you are strong or a failure – just like the skinny message).
What if I showed my girls that food is about pleasure, nourishment, family, and that happiness comes from living a great life that fulfills me?
I’m going to answer those questions by living them. I am going to try these radical ideas, and let go of the idea that my weight in some defines who I am. I am going to stand in front of my kids, and in front of my class, and I am going to be fantastic just as I am. Because maybe, just maybe, if I stop judging myself for something so superficial then what makes me great can shine out in the world and inspire others.
I can see this life ahead of me too. It’s filled with beach trips, cooking great meals, fun at the park playing, yoga because yoga is freaking amazing, love, family, joy and somewhere in there will be the moment when I realise that self-acceptance is happiness. It is also freedom.
Who is going to join me?