Back in 2010 when I was still blogging over at Parent24 everyone was writing love letters to their bodies.
At the time I could think of nothing worse and the mere thought of having to deal with the way I looked, much less say nice things about my body, filled me with dread and fear. So I politely ignored the whole thing.
But it stayed with me. It was like a little scab that I kept picking at, this inability to love my body for what it was post-children and mid-depression. I kept promising myself to lose weight. If only I could lose weight I would love my body. I would love and accept myself.
But only then.
As it turns out, I had it the wrong way around.
You have to love yourself first before you can lose the weight.
I didn’t realise that at the beginning of this year. All I knew was that I had just turned 39 and that I was not planning on looking the same way when I turned 40. So I gave myself this whole year to learn to love myself. And believe me, it took the most of this year. I didn’t start out the year wanting to love myself, I started it out wanting to take my power back – in fact it was the word I chose for the year. (just had a little cry reading that by the way)
I still have to force myself to look in the mirror and not cringe at the flabby tummy and the stretch marks some days, but these days I’m closer to carrying them with pride, this irrefutable proof of motherhood and LIFE. I marvel at how I get into the bath and not fill it out quite so completely. Or at how much space there is in a movie seat all of a sudden. Or at how I went ice skating with my kids last night – something I would not have done a year ago. Or at how I can walk a quick 5 kms and feel ALIVE when I’m done. Not to mention the impact on my relationship with Etienne and my children.
I am a better person for not loathing myself.
Because how can you love without reserve if you aren’t ok with yourself?
Here are some more things I realised this year:
I told myself that I would look old and wrinkly if I lost weight – not true. Many people comment on how much younger I look these days.
My friends are amazing. They have supported and loved and carried me through this journey. You know who you are, I love each and every one of you for this and there are not enough words to thank you.
I always thought people that are thinner look at me and judge me. I don’t judge anyone, and the people that judge me aren’t worth my time or effort.
We are our own worst enemies. We keep telling ourselves that we should really lose that last x amount of kg’s, our boobs aren’t nice enough, we have a big bum or a fat stomach. We judge ourselves harsher than anyone else does.
It doesn’t really matter what I look like, if I am happy with myself my relationship is amazing. Yes, shedding a few kgs helps, but in the end I had to make the mind shift before the weight finally started coming off.
I had to break the cycle of emotional eating. I still battle with this, but I know the triggers now and try to occupy myself otherwise.
Anxiety and depression are our enemies, we should wage war against them.
Take care of yourself. I took control of my health this year and it has made a massive difference.
This blog post has been rattling around in my head for some time now and I can only hope I did it justice. All I really want to leave you with is that you owe it to yourself (and to the people that love you) to love yourself and your body and accept the things you probably cannot change without surgical intervention.
How much weight did I lose? Almost 20 kgs (and yes, I could do with losing more, but I’m good for now)
How did I do it? Less crap, less alcohol, more walking.
So, 40, I’m coming for you. It’s you and me babe. You. And. Me.