I consider myself to be one of the lucky ones, one of the unknowing and unscathed. I lived three quarters of my life blissfully unaware and unworried. It was not until I reached the grand old age of twenty one that it bulldozed its way into my consciousness. ‘It’ being the horrible realisation, the gut wrenching understanding that I, I was fat.
Or at least I was told I was.
I like clothes, I always have ergo I have frequented many a store and boutique. One day in a local shop, the owner suggested that as I spent so much time there, how would a little Saturday job take my fancy. I was at uni, I needed the cash and quicker than you can say staff discount, I was on board. I was in my element; I was surrounded by beautiful pieces and likeminded ladies. Yet not long after, I got a tap on the hips from my boss accompanied with a “you’re very wide here”. This was followed by a few “I suppose you’re not that fat” asides and a “that’d look better on her, she’s much smaller than you” remarks. If I asked for a dress to be put aside for me, when I went to try it it’d be two sizes bigger than I normally wore. If I protested that I didn’t think I was that size, I would be greeted with a most sceptical “really??” I started to worry, fret and eventually, not eat. I calorie counted to within an inch of my life and eventually the pounds started to drop off. I got down to 9 stone something, my clothes got looser and my friends cried because they thought I was ill. All was good. Oh no, wait, my friends were crying because I looked gaunt, that’s probably not that good. In fact it was only at that point that I realised something I swore would never happen to me had got me tightly in its bony grip.
I had never ever been concerned about my weight. Weight never crossed my mind when I was younger, I had no concept of fat or thin growing up and when I started working at said boutique I was unconcerned and really, pretty darn happy with my size 10/12 frame (yep, 10/12!). When it all began I was slim, my clothes were size 10 (12 on my hips) and I was made to feel disgusting by someone who had 3 sizes and 40 years on me. Ironically, after strictly dieting, I was still a 10 (12 on my hips – who knew I have bones!?) the only difference was that I was hugely embarrassed. I had let someone’s own insecurities and jealousy implant such a hatred for my own body that I starved it. I didn’t need to lose weight and my 5 foot 9 inch frame couldn’t really afford to. But it became an obsession and every waking moment was taken up by counting calories. I lost pounds and personality. I thought I was strong and bloody minded enough than to let anyone undo 21 years of being happy in my skin but I was wrong.
Seven years on I’m no longer in contact with my ex-boss, I have put all of the weight back on but the insecurities sadly remain. I am still a size 10 (12 on my hips) and every day I worry about the size of my arse, the wobble of my thighs and the calories in a chocolate bar. I know it’s crazy, I want to shake myself for being so self-obsessed yet I have been indoctrinated by someone’s ridiculous opinion. However, I’m not angry at her, I’m angry at myself and that I’ve let some body doubt my own. Despite 99% of me realising what she spouted was utter bollocks there is 1% of all powerful worry that continues to niggle. I know I’m not overweight, I am healthy and when I fancy a Big Mac, I’ll have one. I’m not going to starve myself or swallow pills in the hope my ribs will jut out, as thankfully that temporary insanity has passed. I’ve proved to myself that I have the willpower; the determination I afforded on cutting out all sugar, fat, carbohydrates, protein and joy out of my life was unwavering. Therefore I am determinedly channelling all that energy on finally embracing what I’ve got. I’m coming to realise that worrying about sugar, spite and all things size isn’t nice; I have bigger fish to fry.
(Twice please with mushy peas).