Saturday, October 24, 2009

Body love

Today, I picked up an old copy of WHO Magazine. The front cover screamed "Biggest Losers - Are They Still?". I would hazard a guess that not a week goes by when a magazine doesn't have something about celebrity weight-loss or gain on the front cover. Good on Magda for shedding the pounds. Tisk, tisk... look at how skinny Nicole Ritchie looks. Oh my, I don't think should be putting that in her mouth...

For as long as I can remember, I've been on a diet. I can recall family gatherings where the table was laden with delicious carb and dairy-laden nibbles. As a kid, I would stand close enough but not too close so that I didn't appear to be moments away from inhaling everything in front of me. Anytime I so much as cast a glance at something my mother would throw me a menacing glance, or if I dared reach for something she would swiftly smack the back of my hand, followed by a growl of "You don't need that." Damn straight I didn't. But I wanted it.

I have always been one of those 'big boned' girls. You know the ones. Taller than the other girls, was the first to wear a bra, teased for wearing anything that was shorter than my knees, told I had tuckshop lady arms by the boys. It sucked. Even at 178cms tall, I've never been skinnier than a size 12, spending most of my teenage and early adult years at around a 14, barely being able to fit into anything at Sportsgirl or Portmans when it mattered most.

Even at that time, I would look at photos of myself and see a fat girl. I would take a quick glance and then push it away, vowing to not eat ever again. Looking back on those photos, I can't believe I tortured myself mentally and physically as much as I did. I actually looked pretty good, in hindsight. I was healthy and curvy. But I can still see the anguish on my face in those photos. I didn't like my body one iota.

Now I'm 27 years old. I would like to think I don't have as much of a hang up on my body as I did 10 or more years ago, but the reality is I still judge myself. Harshly. I even convince myself that other people have the same judgements of me. As confident as I appear to be on the outside, I'm ashamed to admit that sometimes I feel like I over-compensate on the confidence to mask how frustrated I am with myself that I don't look a certain way or fit into certain sized clothes.

Then some days I do a complete 180 and look in the mirror and think to myself "I look great." I tell myself that the size I am now (18-20) is fine and that I don't really look like I'm that size. But I am. And I'm the only person who can do something about it.

I'm not really into fad diets (such as Atkins, Lemon Detox, all those meal supplement shakes etc), as I love food too much. After years of experimenting, I know that the only thing that truly works for me is a good amount of exercise and sensible eating.

Three years ago I lost 30kg by seeing a personal trainer and eating a strict low-fat, low-carb, high protein diet. And it worked a treat. Until I put most of it back on again. The last few years I've gotten into a pattern of skipping breakfast as I race out the door to get to work on time, forgetting lunch as I get too busy in the office, and so I binge when I get home at night and eat anything I can get my hands on. And we all know the easiest things to eat are often the worst things for us.

So I've started on a new program - Ultra Lite, which is pretty much the same program I was on those few years ago. A colleague at work has done it and she looks fantastic. Granted, I have more weight to loose than she did, but to know that it works and it easy to manage into everyday life without having to make too many major and drastic changes is a big plus for me.

Today is day four, and I'm feeling pretty good so far. The portion sizes are small to teach you that you don't need to eat as much food as we do. It's all about balance - salad, veggies and meat in moderation, but regularly. No sugar, no complex carbs. I don't feel hungry and I'm starting to get more energy during the day. I take ketosis tests every morning, so I know for the last three days my body has been burning fat. Hooray!

This new journey isn't about 'being skinny'. It's about being healthy. I'm not healthy the way I am. The fashion stuff is just a bonus. Most of the time I love what I see when I look in the mirror... from the neck up. Now it's time to love all of it.

I go back to see my consultant on Tuesday night and am looking forward to seeing how much weight I've lost and how far my measurements have decreased. Stay tuned! The journey to Body Love has started.


Sleepydumpling said...

There is a wonderful book that every woman should read, called "Screw Inner Beauty" by Kate Harding and Marianne Kirby. All about finding health and strong self esteem in body image. I borrowed a library copy, and need to go and buy a copy to keep!

Luisa said...

stsHey Kiddo,

I really love reading your blog, this was a great entry. Big hug from the US, Luisa xx