A better me

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.

Just keep walking

My New Years’ resolution was to start walking and lose weight (how very original!) so I made Etienne buy me takkies for my birthday (which conveniently falls on 1 January).

I left them in the box growling at me for a couple of weeks before I took them out and decided to take them for a walk.  I try to walk every day and have been building up slowly to a 30 – 40 min walk every day.  We live in the deepest darkest pit of suburbia with a LOT of hills, a lot of trees and a lot of old houses.  And the odd cool breeze.

Have I lost any weight?  Sadly, only about 2.5 kgs but I can now look over my boobs and almost see my toes.  Which is a massive improvement, let me tell you.  I forgot to measure when I started, so I don’t know how many centimetres I’ve lost, but it feels like a whole lot, must be at least half a person by now!

My biggest fear about going walking was that people would judge me for I look like whilst walking.  Now I don’t really give a shit, at least I’m walking.  They can sit in their cars and glare at the sweating fat chick, I don’t care.  I won’t look like this for much longer.

I normally walk in the evenings, but we took the kids swimming yesterday and tonight we’re going on a double dinner date with friends (to an actual restaurant, with other grown-ups!), so I decided to do it after school drop-off this morning.

Herewith some observations:

  • The chubby Moms walk in the evening, the SAH skinny Moms run and walk in the morning.  A LOT of them with make-up.  I don’t manage to put on make-up most days, much less when I’m going out to sweat.  I don’t understand this?
  • There are a lot of people that have actual gardeners, not garden services.  And the gardeners are quite a friendly bunch, they all greet.
  • Dirty dustbins really stink in this heat when the garbage truck is late.
  • The neighbourhood dogs are a lot quieter in the day than at 6pm at night. (could be the heat?)
  • There are seriously a lot of older people in our area as they were all watering their gardens at 8h30 this morning. How did I not notice this before?
  • The whole ‘vibe’ is different, a lot quieter in the mornings with so many people not on the street and in their houses.  And you don’t smell anyone cooking supper.

By far the biggest benefit of walking is that I’ve been able to get my head around so many things that I considered barriers in the last few weeks, it literally feels like my mind has opened up.  Not that it was very closed to start of with, it just needed a good old dusting off I think.

Now I’m just hoping it will rain soon as it is HOTHOTHOT in Cape Town!  I considered sitting in our kitchen wearing only my undies with all the curtains closed, but I wouldn’t.  Of course not..

ps: I also need to get Jack, the dog-that-was-meant-to-be-an-inside-dog-but-is-almost-as-big-as-a-horse-dog to come walking with me.  I bought him a harness as he freaks out when you try to put something over his neck, but now we lost the big-dog lead.  Sigh.

pps: the proposed party theme this morning was Marihontas.  I have a strong suspicion that this is a cross between Barbie Mariposa and Pocahontas (pronounced Cocahontas by ALL our children)