Really loving my body shape and how I feel versus how I look is a recent new awareness for me. Lately I’ve been feeling so great and really enjoying feeling how my body feels whenever I walk or move, so much so it often makes me smile to myself, even in public!
Going back 10 years, my focus was never on how I felt but always on how I looked. Sure I would eat when hungry, or sleep when tired. Actually as I write that, I realise I didn’t eat when hungry –
- I ate all the time to deal with how anxious I was feeling and used food to comfort me if I was feeling emotional, and didn’t want to deal with difficult or hurtful situations.
- Sleep when tired? Actually I was exhausted, but would push myself to stay up late at nights and drive myself hard because I felt a stigma attached to being a single parent and wanted to prove to the world I could ‘do it all’. I wasn’t going to be on benefits and a drain on society: instead I was going to be a great mum, a hard worker, a sociable hostess and later when I got married, a house-proud wife!
Everything in my life was all about ticking the boxes. For years how I felt in my body did not rank high on my list of priorities.
Body Weight, Body Shape And The End of Yoyo Dieting
For many years I battled with my weight. My size would fluctuate wildly from one month to the next. I would balloon at Christmas and holidays because of over indulging in my favourite treats of chocolate, cakes, rich foods and alcohol. And I would feel horrid, but back then it didn’t matter that much, I didn’t like the way I looked most of the time and this was a constant source of misery. I would then starve myself or try out the latest new diet. Unfortunately I could never sustain them and often would be left feeling so hungry, I’d overeat ending up feeling much worse than when I started the diet. I was left to contend with the failure of not sticking to the diet plus the failure of letting myself down even more.
So what changed?
This gave me an opportunity to really stop and feel how I was living my life.
And one of the very first things I looked at was food. One day I decided to experiment with cutting out gluten from my diet as I’d observed for a long time that whenever I ate bread, directly afterwards sleepiness would hit which became something I just put up with. Why wouldn’t I eat bread? What’s how I feel afterwards in my body got to do with anything? I want to eat whatever I want to eat, right?
Well I was curious and decided to cut out bread. Immediately I began to notice the difference. No longer did I feel sleepy in the afternoons, but instead had more energy and felt more alert. This was the start of me making how I felt in my body (over how I looked) the most important thing.
When I gave up gluten, I wasn’t intentionally thinking of doing it to loose weight, but more on how not eating foods with gluten made me feel in my body (great) and energy levels (increased). And without trying the weight just fell off me. My battle with food and yoyo dieting was over!
My body shape changed a lot over the last 10 years. Even though I was slimmer, at one point I wasn’t too keen on how I looked but yet could not deny just how great I felt in my body and also within myself. Some people would say to me “Oh you’re too thin”… and I would reply: “Well I feel great” – because I truly did!
Today I’ve truly embraced my new body shape, not because of how I think it should look, but because of how great it feels in my body. And when I look in the mirror now, I’m seeing through eyes that are more willing to accept the gorgeous woman I am, based on my own feeling, and no longer my own or anyone else’s expectations of how I ought to look. Because inside I FEEL great.
by Debra Douglas, UK
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