Some of my loyal readers (hello family) may remember that last year I went on a body positive/ confidence hype. I trained my brain into loving my body and for a little while it worked. I exercised because I enjoyed it, I ate well – a mixture of healthy foods and treats. I was having counselling and really started to feel good about myself.
And then everything changed.
I went on the dreaded contraceptive injection (Depo Provera to be exact). I knew the risk of weight gain, I knew friends and family who had piled on weight with it, but I just thought ‘I’ll be fine, I’ll eat healthily and exercise, it won’t make me gain weight’.
Looking back I feel so ignorant, I wish someone came and slapped the needle out of the nurses hand to be honest, because six months later and I’m two stone heavier and a whole lot more miserable. Now, for many people, weight and happiness are not synonymous and that’s fine. It’s just for me, this extra two stone has really knocked my confidence to the point that I’m scared to even show my stomach to my boyfriend of four years. I’m covered in bright red/purple stretch marks and all I can see when I look in the mirror is fat. I can’t even enjoy having a bath! Which is crazy because no one even sees me but I just hate being naked. I don’t even enjoy doing my make up – I just feel like I need it now.
The injection increased my appetite to the point that I was practically inhaling my food. I just ate for the sake of it. I was miserable when I ate junk food, I disliked fruit and vegetables and I craved salty foods all the time.
About a month ago it all became too much. I started looking into a well known diet, Slimming World. Being a student I thought I’d start it from home with the help of Facebook groups and Google. After a month on and off the diet, filling my face with ‘sugar free’ diet foods laden with crappy chemicals and aspartame (which is the devil as far as I’m concerned) I found that I had not lost any weight. I felt horrible and bloated and extremely down. I found ‘synning’ foods (one of SW’s ‘foolproof’ diet rules) extremely damaging. I was guilt ridden as soon as I had a ‘syn’ (notice how it basically means sin?) and couldn’t quite get my head around how avocados and fresh fruit smoothies were banned, but low fat sausages, bacon and cereal bars were encouraged.
Now, this diet works well for many, many people, and some of the results I’ve seen are amazing. However, for me, the constant ‘rule’ following was getting me down. Food and nutrition is not a game. We don’t need to associate food with ‘sin’. After thinking long and hard about where I want to be, I decided to kiss goodbye to Slimming World and faddy diets, and welcome a new way of thinking. I decided that before I could even begin to physically tackle my weight loss, I needed to look at my mind set.
My thoughts are I was body positive before, I can get there again.
I’ve decided that hating my body is only going to cause further damage and worsen my mental health. I’ve decided to take up exercises I enjoy again. I love yoga and walking so I feel that incorporating these activities into my life can only benefit me. I’ve decided to take the guilt away from my eating. I vow to nourish my body with good fats, whole grains and yummy fruit and veg. I also vow to feed my body the foods I crave, whether that be avocado on toast or a huge slice of chocolate cake. I figure that depriving my body, or associating cake with sin can only be a bad thing, surely it’s far healthier to eat what I want in moderation without guilt?
I haven’t come to this decision alone, though. With the help of some wonderful articles by some lovely bloggers, I’m looking at you Louise and Liv, and the wonderful book The Goddess Revolution by the absolute mother of Goddesses, Mel Wells, I am being inspired to not beat myself up about my body image and focus on dealing with my mindset first.
It will be a slow but worthwhile journey, but I promise you, body, that we will get there eventually. I can’t wait to enjoy a bath again, and to do makeup because I want to.