This is the first time I have ever lost weight for the right reasons.
It’s not because I’m trying to make someone happier, not because I despise myself so much I am cutting out food. It’s not because I have a mental model that I will never fit into in my head. It’s not because I feel any pressure, not because I’ve had an ultimatum, not because I think it’s expected of me.
I’m doing it because, after a hard time, my body said, “enough”. I began taking vitamins, eating better and taking more exercise just so I can make my body a little bit stronger, a bit more resilient. If I can fit into smaller clothes because of it, then great, but that’s not the reason why.
I grew up feeling terrible about not being the same size as my sister, someone who was always going to be smaller than me because a. she was well, fit and active and b. has my Mum’s tiny bone structure, which I don’t. I was given chocolate with one hand as a “treat” to make up for being ill, while the other hand told me I was too fat to eat the chocolate I was being given. I have never, ever felt comfortable in my skin. I still don’t, I am not sure I ever will. But I can feel stronger in my skin.
This week I have been run down and have needed to take a few days off work. Nothing more exciting that tiredness, dizziness and some nausea, probably emanating from the germpit that is my sinuses. I’m disappointed, but grateful not to have been ill over Christmas when Norovirus and killer colds were doing the rounds. But this is also the first time I have needed to take off since I started eating better and looking after myself more at the end of November. This, I admit, is not a wellness streak a normal immune system would be proud of, but it’s enough for me. Maybe this is helping in more ways than one, maybe my body is feeling stronger and more able to cope.
My history with food is chequered and complex. Whether I’ve strayed as far as being in the eating disorders category at times, I’m not sure, but I was certainly quite firmly in the disordered eating camp. Food has been a friend and an enemy, a comfort and a curse. I don’t expect this to be cured in three months of pointing, possibly not even in three years of working on my diet. But it feels like a good time to think about what food and eating mean to me and how I can make it a healthy part of my life without turning it into an obsession or a stick to beat myself with. And I am always on the lookout for those sticks!