Three years ago this week I decided to join Slimming World. I had reached nigh on 15 stone in weight, and felt I needed to do something about it. I lost 2 stone in 3 months. And I kept it off mostly, a few fluctuations up and down, but until last Christmas I managed to maintain at a weight I felt comfortable at (around 13st 3lbs). During the course of this year my weight has increased slightly, and now I am close to 13st 10lbs. I am still fluctuating up and down. Thing is, I eat healthily. I try to exercise as much as I can (I've jumped back on the swimming train, and am loving it). Most importantly of all, I am pretty happy with my life. The thought of having to go back to religiously following the Slimming World plan brings me out in cold sweats.
The thing is, there is nothing wrong with me. I have been focusing on the numbers on the scale, and not how I feel. I feel fucking fantastic, even more so since I gave up dairy products (I never thought I'd utter those words, but well, there you go. I don't even miss cheese). And all this time I've been trashing my body in my head, it is because I don't fit into the narrow mould dictated to me by society, magazines and the fashion industry. I stand next to some of my friends (many of whom are tiny) and feel like a giant, but so what? I'm just a bigger person, there isn't much I can do about that!
This gem of acceptance of who I am started during my trip home to the UK. My mum treated me to some shopping, and I ended up with a new bikini. Its a bit 50s style halterneck fabulous stripey thing (black with bright stripes, not a usual me thing!) and by buying the correct size I felt amazing in it. Like some goddess from the pin up postcards you see in vintagey shops.
Since then I've been slowly purging my wardrobe of the things that don't really fit me any more that I'd been holding onto in the hope I'd lose some weight, and filling it back up with new things that do fit. I wore a dress the other day that was quite fitted and I realised just how hourglassy my figure has become. I kinda like it, given that most of my life I've been a straight up and down athletic figure 'type'.
Maybe this acceptance of how I look comes from the knowledge that actually it hasn't been so much to do with my lifestyle as my age - I'm in some kind of late prime baby rearing age and I think my hormones are reacting that way. If I was trying to get pregnant I'd probably manage it in the blink of an eye - I'm almost at the same age my mum was when she fell pregnant with me, so I guess genetics are a factor - my body is prepped and primed.
I plan to continue to ensure that my diet is as healthy as possible - tons of vegetables, lean meats, but I'm not going to give up the wine that I love, or the odd snack. The pasties we had for dinner last night were most excellent, as were the scones I made for dessert (tofu clotted cream for the win!).
I'm just going to continue to love me for who I am, and that means nourishing my mind as well as my body. That seems to be the best way to be healthy, to hell with what anyone else says.