As a pre-teen, I remember feeling like my belly wasn’t flat enough. “Don’t worry about that”, my best friend told me “soon you’ll have boobs and then you’re belly will look way flatter in comparison”.
It was a nice thought, but despite developing, I still felt like I could be prettier… skinnier.
Now, I wasn’t a big kid. I wasn’t even chunky. I was a good, normal size. But from a very early age I was sucked into the lie that I wasn’t skinny enough – wasn’t pretty enough – wasn’t good enough.
This isn’t a comment on my parent’s ability to promote a healthy body image in me. Instead, it is more of a comment on society’s propensity to exacerbate the negative self-images that already exist.
In high school, I wasn’t thin enough. In university, I gained the freshman fifteen and then I obviously wasn’t thin enough. If only I could get down to my high school weight. When I was planning for my wedding I had slowly let the weight creep up and I tried to loose a few pounds before my nuptials. If only I could get down to the weight I was when I first met Dan (end of first year university). I have never been happy with my weight.
What I was never smart enough to figure out was that I was always wishing that my body was back to a previous weight – a previous weight that I wasn’t happy being. I told myself I would be happy if I could just get there again.
Soon, my belly got taught and round. It started signalling to the world that I would be a mother. For the first time in a long time, I was happy with my body. This life inside of me was changing the person I was, both on the inside and the out. To me, that was beauty.
And then, my body abruptly changed… again. You’d think that loosing a giant belly and a bunch of weight would make me feel better about myself, but instead, I didn’t know who’s body I was wearing. My belly, although no longer round, was also no longer taught. It was saggy and pock-marked. Angry purple lines zigged around and across my body. The person in the mirror was not me. The face in the pictures was not me. The body under my clothes was not mine.
I wanted so desperately to love my body. But how can you love something as your own when it very clearly isn’t?
I was determined to love my body. Especially since I am now a Mom. Although I currently do not have a daughter, I am not so naive to think that negative self-image affects only females. I need to be a good example to my child/ren. I must have a positive body image.
I started by loving myself. I loved being a Mom. And this body is part of that deal. As for the parts that weren’t as easy to love right off the bat, I decided to make a lifestyle change.
(Here’s the part where we come to the weekly weigh-in)
Week 0: 164 lbs