I’ve seen a few posts circulating around from bloggers I follow about body image and how they want to improve how they see themselves.
I’ll openly admit, I’m very guilty of putting myself down when it comes to my body.
I’m naturally an hourglass frame. Even at my slimmest, I still had some curve to me. I like my curves and feeling feminine, but for the last few years I’ve had a very poor image of myself.
When I was in university, I was slender. Like really slender. I was a little chubby in college I’d worked like crazy to lose 2 1/2 stone healthily over 18 months. I didn’t feel good in my own skin and wanted to change.
I’d reached a weight I was healthy and happy at. I felt confident and sexy, but inside there was still that little niggling voice in the back of my head telling me I needed to lose more. I ignored it for the most part (that was a road I did not want to go down) but still kept losing some. I still didn’t feel 100% comfortable in my own skin.
I never dieted (thank God, I hate those things! Me and diets definitely don’t mix!) and ate whatever I wanted, but I became fixated on reaching this level of body perfection in my own head that was completely unattainable. I exercised religiously to keep my shape.
Through being on the receiving end of college body shaming and feeling like a square peg in a round hole (not an uncommon thing in the performance industry unfortunately) I had become terrified of gaining a large amount of weight again.
We basically had it drilled in to us, “If you don’t look like this, you won’t get where you want to be.” It was a load of garbage but you can thank my college acting and dancing lecturers for that one. I was told by my dancing teacher I had a “big head” and to pull up the waistband of my tights during a can-can dance because “all my belly was hanging out”, and this was after I’d lost weight and was quite slender.
A girl who was a magnificent actress and singer was told by them she was “too fat” for musical theatre, to which she left a few months in to the course after falling in to a depression and her confidence shattered. It’s only in the last few years she’s managed to get it properly back and is regularly performing again.
So you can see how this all came about.
At my thinnest, I was around 8st 13 when I was near finishing uni. For many that would be normal and healthy for them, but for my frame and how I’m built (I’m 5’5 and genetically speaking, the women in my family are naturally curvy) I looked near skeletal. My collar bones jutted out, you could see the bones above my bust when I moved. As my mother put it “I thought if you’d got any thinner I would have been scared to hug you for fear you might break.” I showed my boyfriend a picture of me at a bar with a friend at around that time, to which he said “Oh my God, you were so thin!” with a very concerned look on his face.
I looked in the mirror and thought, “Nope, not today.” and got myself a few pounds back on. I had fell in to the trap many women do of becoming fixated with the number on the scale and looking back, it’s bloody scary how distorted my thinking was about my body.
Then I met my boyfriend. I was 20. We got together and began our relationship. I noticed within weeks my frame had begun to fill out. My hips got wider, I got some more boobs (I’m a chesty gal to begin with) and my figure became more womanly. My hormones went crazy like a second coming of puberty! It was like my ovaries had gone, “Right, baby making mode, girls!” practically overnight and the child-bearing hips had well and truly come out.
As I began to fill out and put some weight on (and actually become healthy again) I began to panic. I was worried of how people would see me, I avoided going on nights out dancing as I was self conscious. I became anxious. Would my boyfriend still find me attractive that I’d got a bit thicker? Would I ever feel sexy and desirable again?
The answer is yes. When all said and done, worrying about how you look to friends is completely redundant. They don’t care. They just want you to be happy. If anything they’ve just bombarded me with chef nicknames (I’ve been lovingly nicknamed “Nigella” which I think is hilarious!) 😂
I don’t weigh myself anymore, I exercise to feel good and stay in shape working with my body rather than against it. I’ve eaten healthier than I have in years.
I’ve come to accept that yes, I’ve naturally got boobs and an ass and yes, that’s ok. In fact I love them now rather than looking in the mirror and going “urgh God!” 🙂 I’ve been accepting my boyfriend’s compliments more. I remember him telling me he found it upsetting to hear me put myself down in the ways I was. If he tells me I look pretty/sexy/beautiful, say “thank you” rather than “No I don’t…”
Like on this lovely post I read from collaredmichael about women’s body image from the male partner’s perspective, there was this phrase that really stuck with me. It was something along the lines of:
Who are you going to believe? The person inside who puts yourself down or the man who thinks you’re the most beautiful woman in the world?
Thanks for putting up with us, guys. We know it’s not easy!
I’m not 100% completely loving my body yet but I’m getting there. Body confidence is definitely a marathon rather than a sprint.
P.S. this picture was took right after the cat had been on me for cuddles 😂
And to all you ladies and gents, you are gorgeous inside and out 😘
All my love,