A bit of “Love Yourself” motivation today. I set out to find these inspiring quotes because I know a lot of people who feel almost desperate to look more like the media messages tell us to. I remember this feeling, sometimes it creeps in a bit even now, but I do make an effort to look for the inspiring messages, which tell you that you are good enough, instead of the disparaging ones, which tell you that you are not, but you could be if only you lost a bit of weight or straightened your hair or used this foundation or that mascara.
Getting pregnant with my first daughter in 2010 was the best thing that happened to me body image-wise. You see in 2006, still with my first husband, my marriage was falling apart, we had just sold a business that wasn’t working and were losing our house. I became quite anxious and just couldn’t eat most of the time. There were points I didn’t eat anything at all until 8:00 at night and then ate a bit of pasta and went to bed. Unsurprisingly I dropped about 30 pounds in a few months. It was not healthy, however I was now the “hottest” I’d ever looked in my life, I was model thin – you could see the ribs in my chest and everything. Well I obviously loved it and vowed to stay that way, which ushered in my disordered eating phase, where I would try to eat only 1000 calories a day. It didn’t always work and I didn’t know what I was doing so I was probably eating closer to 1500 a day but still, I did a lot of starving myself.
That was until I started to date my current husband; we went out to dinner a lot, I was happy a lot and I didn’t do as much walking. Obviously I gained some weight back. Then I moved here and stayed happy and added baking to my list of favorite hobbies. That did nothing good for my waistline at all let me tell you. I’m not one of those bakers who can eat one and give the rest away, I’m a
bit lot greedier than that. All this time though I was trying to lose weight again. I would try crash diets (750 calories a day only protein for five weeks!) and more reasoned diets (lost 4 pounds in 6 weeks, WTF!), I ran and I lifted weights. I never got anywhere. I mean I would lose 10 or 15 pounds and then just as quickly it would come right back again. I remember feeling like I was actually going nuts because while I was trying to eat sensibly I had 4 or 5 insanely fattening and intricately delicious dinner ideas going on in my head. I was about to eat chicken breast and cottage cheese but I was imagining in great detail sausage lasagna and lobster pies! I’d created a feeling in my head and my body of complete deprivation even though I was unable to actually lose any weight (and keep it off). I remember lying there sobbing to my husband that it was just impossible for me to do and I would never be attractive again.
Then, I got pregnant and had to just eat and not worry about how my body looked, because that was not important anymore. Eating wasn’t about me anymore, it was about my baby. Not only that, I was so sick I didn’t care and had to eat in order to feel a little less sick. It was lovely to eat again guilt free. I tried not to go overboard but also tried not to worry about it. It may have sometimes looked like me going overboard but I did the best I could.
Then I had my daughter and a lot of time and effort went into getting used to this new life we had. It took some time to even get to the point where I could notice but I recognised some time after I’d had my daughter that I didn’t feel deprived anymore. The insatiable, ravenous feeling was just gone. Even when I ate less, actually dieted to lose some baby weight, I didn’t feel it. To this day I get extremely creative when I’m on a diet, I texted my husband the other day to tell him I wanted mac & cheese burgers someday, but it’s not the same as the absolute hysteria I felt back then.
I just needed to eat.
No, I wasn’t managing weight loss but I was managing to make my body feel as though it was in a time of real stress and deprivation and like at any point the food would disappear and I’d just starve to death. I’m sure that’s how it would work in the jungle and my body doesn’t know it doesn’t live there.
These days I don’t feel so desperate. I’d like to lose those 20 pounds but equally, it’s not worth my mental health or any extra stress on the family. If I can’t manage it right now, maybe later. If not later, that’s ok; I’m busy with some other things anyway. Health is important, but we are already healthy. I want to teach my kids to value intelligence and compassion more than beauty and vanity, so I try hard not to let them hear us talk much about calories and weight loss.
I would like for you to know that if you’ve been trying to lose weight for a long time and you’re feeling desperate and hopeless, maybe the most important thing that you could do for your long term happiness is to take a break from it all. Find the book Overcome Overeating and read it and then take a break. Skinniness is not worth your happiness, your sanity or even very much of your time.
But hey, some more high profile people have something to say as well:
‘I have a crumble baby belly, boobs are worse for wear after two kids…I’m doing all right. I’m 33. I don’t look in the mirror and go, “Oh, I look fantastic!” Of course I don’t. Nobody is perfect. I just don’t believe in perfection. But I do believe in saying, “This is who I am and look at me not being perfect!”. I’m proud of that.’ Kate Winslet
“How much time have I wasted on diets and what I look like? Take your time and your talent and figure out what you have to contribute to this world. And get over what the hell your butt looks like in those jeans!” America Ferreira
‘I’m never going to starve myself for a part. I don’t want little girls to be like, “Oh, I want to look like Katniss” (her character in The Hunger Games), so I’m going to skip dinner. That’s something I was really conscious of during training, when you’re trying to get your body to look exactly right. I was trying to get my body to look fit and strong, not thin and underfed.’ Jennifer Lawrence
‘As a child, I never heard one woman say to me, “I love my body”. Not my mother, my elder sister, my best friend. No one woman has ever said, “I am so proud of my body.” So I make sure to say it to Mia [her daughter], because a positive physical outlook has to start at an early age.’ Kate Winslet
“I am allowed to look sexy, feel sexy, and be in love. I am worthy of all of those things, and so are you. Own your good and bad, and all the scary parts that you’ve been covering up because it is yours and no amount of judgement can tell you how to love your body. You are magic.” Mary Lambert
You are magic, and don’t ever let anyone make you feel less than that. Least of all media and marketing people.