Overweight but Happy – Why I Accept My Body Shape as It Is
Last year, obviously in need of a good cry, I decided to watch Long Lost Family. It was an episode from the UK, where a mother and daughter were separated at birth. The daughter was taken to live with her adoptive family in another country.
Well, they found the daughter, of course, and we were told of how she always felt like the odd one out because her adoptive family were all tall and thin, while she was short and plump. Yet they all ate the same food as a family, and did the same activities together. Can you see where this is going?
So she finally meets up with her long lost mother. They run to each other, reuniting with a tearful hug. Then the birth mother and daughter go for a walk along the river to catch up.
These two women, who hadn’t seen each other for nearly half a century, who lived in different countries, eating different food with different lifestyles, had the exact same height and body shape. They were both short and plump. It was eye opening.
Your genetics determine your body height, weight and body shape. Just as they determine the colour of your eyes, the shape of your nose and the colour of your skin. You can fight it if you like, but it will always be there, written on the blueprints of your humanity.
Recently, I have made the decision to stop stressing over my weight. What is the point? It was written in my genes that I would be healthy, strong and carry weight around my waist and hips.
How do I know this?
Because all of my sisters, my mother, my grandmother, her sister, my aunties, my female cousins, we’re all the exact same shape. We’re all apples, every one of us. Some of us are smaller apples, some of us bigger apples. All of us are apples.
I lost some weight a few years back. About twenty kilos, give or take.
I was still an apple.
During that time, from the day I decided to lose weight, from dropping the kilos through to the dreaded plateau where I gave up, and until I gained all of the weight back three years later, my self confidence was in the gutter. The lowest it has ever been.
I felt fabulous before I decided to lose weight. I looked in the mirror and appreciated what I saw – a wife and mother of our beautiful, healthy children. I did my hair and applied my makeup and wore cute, fashionable clothing. I strutted around full of confidence and sass. I loved me as I was. Overweight but happy.
Why on earth did I choose to shatter all of that precious self esteem by deciding to diet??
I don’t know, but I did.
Once I began my weight loss journey, I felt good. It was encouraging to see the scales tip back the other way and watch the number go down. But as my weight went down, my self esteem dropped.
What if I gained it all back? I will be a failure. People will see that I have tried and failed. Plus, not only that, but when you are overweight, you’re pretty much invisible. When I had lost weight, I was visible now but still a bit fat. Still not good enough!!
As the gradual weight gain began, my new ‘skinny’ (ie, size 14) clothes started getting tighter. I had to buy new clothes. The defeat filled me with shame. Every few months, I’d have to buy more clothes, each time further and further back on the rack.
It wasn’t until after I had reached my starting weight that I began to feel like myself again. Smart, sassy and fabulous. The expectations were gone and I could enjoy being me again. And you know what? I went straight back to my old weight, not a kilo less, not a kilo more. And have stayed at that weight ever since.
I would like to make it clear that while I enjoy food, I don’t over eat. I also don’t exercise, but I lead a busy, active lifestyle running after my family and working two jobs. I probably drink a little too much wine at times, but I don’t snack between meals and I don’t eat a lot of junk food. We all eat family meals together and my husband and children are not overweight, just me.
I have now opted out of trying to reach society’s definition of perfect female beauty. And you know what? I’m a 40 year old mother of three – that’s enough to boot me out of the “young, thin and pretty” category anyway! I’ll never be in my early twenties again, and I’m not going to try and look like it, either, weight or no weight!
I have accepted that this me, my lot in life. I have no health problems, I have people who love me for who I am and who don’t give a shit what I weigh. I will never order a salad as a main in a restaurant, and always order a chicken schnitzel with creamy garlic prawns on top with chips and veggies. I will never turn down a second glass of wine or the offer of dessert.
Life is too short to care about what someone across the room might think – if they were so perfect they wouldn’t be judging complete strangers, would they?
I ended up with the fat straw in the lottery of life. But I’d rather be gloriously plump and enjoy myself than spend my life miserably striving for an impossible (for me) ideal that society has set.
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