After posting what was a really happy moment of me and Sophie for my Instagram, with the caption that actually I felt fat in it, a lovely woman recommended that I watch a documentary called Embrace. She suggested that it had changed the way she battled and viewed her own body and that it might help me also. So I downloaded it from iTunes, grabbed a brew and got stuck in.
Well, I’ve just finished watching (and crying) my way through this incredible and totally different type of documentary and I feel like I have to write this for you. For us. For our daughters and for women everywhere.
If, like me, you have been battling with your body image and weight your whole adult life, if like me you have been always striving to achieve the perfect tanned, toned, lithe body that will surely make you happy, then I write this for you, for your daughter, for my daughter – for all of us.
I don’t know why and I sure as hell know I’m as guilty of this as anyone but for some reason as women, we don’t tend to stop and think about how awesome our body really is, exactly as it is right now.
Your heart is beating, keeping your body alive without you even knowing or thinking about it.
Your brain is talking to all of the systems in your body making all day and all night, ensuring you can get on with your day.
Your lungs and diaphragm are working constantly to give you the oxygen you need just to be able to sit here and read this.
Physically as human’s with extra weight or not, we are a miracle of science and the way our bodies work is mind-blowing when you think about it.
Not only that, but you might have grown and given birth to another human being and you will undoubtedly, despite the negativity you have for yourself, have endless capacity to alter another human’s day just by your words, your touch, your smile, your laugh and your thoughtfulness.
Women are incredible if you think about it for a minute…
Think of the woman you love most in your life and you will think of someone (likely to be your own mother) – brilliant, creative, witty, resourceful, kind, compassionate, able to solve even the most complicated of puzzles, able to survive and nurture others on little to no sleep, able to summon patience when others can’t, able to take care of family and of friends, able to just make everything feel ok again.
Except you don’t realise but I just described you. That’s how your family think of you. I know, no matter how hard you are on yourself, that this describes you. It describes almost all of us doesn’t it?
Let’s not forget that you probably also work, run a home, raise other compassionate, funny and totally lush mini humans who can also do all of the above things. Not only that but every day you help them to grow, learn and evolve so they can support and contribute to this incredible world we have inherited.
And we do all these things for all these people, we are central to so many people’s lives and yet you and I are still utterly fixated on just the one tiny little detail of our lives that I have yet to mention – our weight.
Isn’t that so sad to think of? In fact, it makes me so angry that we allow ourselves to waste time and brain power, sacrifice time with our families and obsess over what we eat, when we eat it and what our next meal should or shouldn’t be. There are a million better ways to use and enjoy time.
A few week’s ago, my friend’s and I booked a girl’s trip to Spain and my first comment was
“Omg I need to lose two stone before we go”
I didn’t think about how lush it will be to have time to myself without my gorgeous but demanding kids, I didn’t think how much we will laugh, how the sun will feel on my cold Northern bones, nor how a full nights sleep will feel, not even how I will revel in the chance to read all the books I’ve been stockpiling – I simply thought about what a beast I will be in swimwear and how nothing will fit me.
I mean, it’s ridiculous, awful even, when you say it out loud isn’t it?
I guess it’s not really our fault as we are trained by the media to think like this. Images of airbrushed, photo-shopped, tanned, booby, seemingly perfect women confront us in our daily lives everywhere we go as though being thin and looking young is the only standard of beauty worth aspriring to. As though our entire life’s worth is built upon the size of our thigh gaps and smooth skin.
Even the current rhetoric around obesity that comes from the NHS is feeding into this. They say being fat is bad, which I accept to some to extent but then that immediately tells my brain that being thin therefore is good. It’s perhaps not the message they mean to portray but it’s the one I’ve taken away from it subconsciously as I check my kids snacks aren’t over 100 calories each…
But you know what? We have a chance to change this, we have a chance to make a change for the world our children inherit, the way they see beauty, the way they see their own flaws and strengths.
Well I know each woman will be different but for me, that means throwing away the diet book – nothing good ever came from a word where the first three letters spell “die“.
It’s going to be long road – 31 years of absorbing the media’s version of beauty, 90’s waifs, and noughties Victoria Secret body types means that there might always be a small voice telling me I look fat or that I’m not good enough, tanned enough, toned enough or whatever. I hope not though because actually I know that my body, the one that’s typing these words, thinking these thoughts, urging us as women and mother’s to come together to make a change for the good – it’s actually pretty bloody amazing.
So right here, right now, I’m publicly putting it out there that I will no longer be talking about my weight, I will no longer refer to my flaws as anything but beautiful, that I will not question and challenge my food intake but instead celebrate it and enjoy it.
I hate the gym so I’m giving it up but I will move my body in a way that makes me happy through yoga and my newfound love of running (and gossiping!) with a good friend.
I will eat what I want, I will dress in ways that make me happy and in doing so I am going to break the cycle of body facism.
It stops right here with me on my blog, on my own media space and I want it stop for you too.
Because you know what? You can look just as you do now and you will be absolutely perfect.
You are smart, strong, kind, caring, funny – all of these things. None of them related to weight and all of them incredibly important.
And that my love, is how a woman should look.