Those who follow this blog know I’m committed to advocating a positive body image, so much so, I was bowled over when a photo I shared of myself in a bikini last year which happened to show my stretchmarks went viral, leading to me starting the #proudinmybikini campaign, encouraging others to feel good about themselves.
Reading the hundreds of comments and messages on social media that my image had made them feel proud to don a swimming costume or bikini again and some stating they would now take their kids swimming when they felt they couldn’t before, truly moved me.
It makes me angry that women in particular, mothers or not, are made to feel bad about their bodies but slowly thanks to we bloggers flying the flag for diverse beauty, things are slowly becoming more balanced and equal.
Imperfectly perfect is what we are- and in the words of Beiber (I’m a fan, what can I say?) please ‘go love yourself’ (me included).
As a mum of two, my body has taken a bashing for sure, it’s undergone two pregnancies and two C-Sections and as someone with PCOS and insulin resistance, I have to work incredibly hard to keep my weight steady.
And guess what? It fluctuates.
Now you’re probably thinking, I’m not an overweight person but that doesn’t mean I don’t struggle, that my weight doesn’t yo-yo (I LITERALLY put on 5 pounds every month during PMT time due to water retention) and I go through periods of low esteem when it comes to my body.
It’s not constant but it’s there. I was a very slim child before the ‘puppy fat’ stages between 10-13 before puberty kicked in and frankly what has left until now a yo-yo way of life between a small UK 10 to a large 12 for most of my adult years.
I’m an hourglass shape and the last few years has seen me mostly wear a UK size 10 (that’s 6 to my US friends) but right now I’m a dress size bigger, something which happened without me noticing over the few months thanks to indulging as a way of dealing with stress when a relative became unwell.
A size 12 you cry-no biggie right (pun intended) but the majority of my clothes patiently waiting in my wardrobe don’t fit me bar a few yo-yo pieces and I’m feeling a bit demotivated.
I want to state that admitting this here doesn’t mean I believe or advocate an ideal size, a 10 is just the one that suits me when it comes to my shape, build and height.
I’m just being real that I struggle to keep my weight steady.
I know that now I’m back to eating a low GI, low carb diet (the one that works best for me with my PCOS) and running several times a week, means in around a month or so, I’ll (hopefully) be able to wear my jeans again.
And here’s the thing, I don’t hate myself right now, yes my arms and thighs are bigger, my tummy protrudes (more) but I still feel OK, I don’t hate my body, I’m just a little frustrated because a) the majority of my wardrobe is just ‘hanging’ around and b) I hate feel self-conscious when it comes to photos taken of me by others and published on social media or on the blog where I question whether I look ‘big in that shot’.
I know it sounds vain and it FLIPPING is but being ‘on camera’ for a lot of my work and let’s face it, we all are, when it comes to social media, adds a layer of pressure and there’s no point denying it.
I remember that distinct and sometimes overbearing feeling of pressure in losing baby weight after kids, too.
The images of ‘media mums’ back in their skinnies straight from the maternity ward and being 3 stones bigger myself while taking 18 months to return to pre-baby weight, was HARD.
And losing baby-weight does take time and it’s common for most to take time yet the mainstream media have never seemed to get this memo. Thank goodness for the reality of blogging and social media which has and IS working to naturalise baby weight and post-pregnancy bodies.
…Look, everyone has a goal weight that feels ‘right’ for them. 3 stones of baby weight once baby had made an appearance and for a long time after, did not make me feel good in my skin. That’s normal but if others’ are more sensitive around that time and if more women showed the reality of this, life would feel a lot less stressful for many (and at a time that is stressful enough due to a new little person and lack of sleep).
That’s why we need more posts of real women naturalising what a post-baby body looks like, admitting when they put on weight and that it’s normal and OK if that happens (it’s life) as is doing something about it when you feel you need to, like I am.
We all know obesity is a huge problem in the Western world and glorifying the overweight is as bad as promoting the underweight, an ideal that has been forced down our throats for the last decades, but not conforming and promoting positive body image means accepting perfection does not exist and that weight for many including myself, fluctuates.
I’m writing this post because I want to be honest with you all, I don’t want you to feel you’re alone if your weight is yo-yoing too.
I was a small size 10 late last year and I’m a 12 now, I even wore maternity leggings the other day to feel comfy.
I’m not at my ideal weight right now but hopefully I will be again sometime soon so I can most importantly feel healthy, fit and STRONG for myself and my family. In the meanwhile thank you Spanx you beautiful sucky in ‘skorts’ and working on being KIND TO MYSELF.