Why Weight Doesn’t Matter (But It’s Been Mattering To Me)

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TW: Diet Culture, Food & Exercise

I’m writing this on pancake day, which is almost poignant considering the heading of this topic. The barrage of tweets I’ve already seen about “earning” their sweet treat makes me feel sad, but something I know that I’ve been guilty of recently. So, I pen this blog post about my feelings towards weight & dieting. I’d also like to acknowledge some privilege, in the fact I am a slim, able-bodied, white girl and I know my thoughts aren’t representative of everyone.

I’ve been really lucky with my attitude towards my body thus far, and in fact, the troubles have only just begun in the last couple of years. I’ve always been an athletic build, years of dancing have equalled legs strong enough to kill your average man. I don’t ever really remember feeling particularly body conscious as a teen. Perhaps maybe in P.E.; but that was probably because we were playing outside, and I wasn’t exactly a stunner in a netball uniform. No, I’ve practically stripped off in front of the girls I danced with for years without a bat of an eyelid. It was never really an issue.

 

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Brixton Baker Boy Hat in Slate
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Brixton Baker Boy Hat in Khaki
Willow And Paige Chunky Knit Roll Neck Sweater In Stripe
MOTO Authentic Let Hem Jamie Jeans
Topshop MOTO Grey Jamie Jeans

University came around and I still felt pretty good about myself. I almost immediately got a part-time retail job and let me tell you, the true key to weight loss is just running up and down cinema stairs. Again, even though I didn’t gym it up, so I had lost a lot of tone, it never really occurred to me to be worried. I always felt pretty good in my body, or never really gave it much attention.

But then, masters. The same year my hips decided to remind me that I am, in fact, a lady and decided to remind me by expanding. In case, you know, I’d forgotten that I could have a baby. Thanks. Whilst I’d always had a bit of a shitty diet around exam time in undergrad, masters was where I really binged. I ate so much, mostly down to stress, and by the end of the degree, knew I had really piled on the pounds. It probably wasn’t noticeable, but it felt written all over my body how I couldn’t fit into things that I’d have comfortably slide into the year previous.

Since leaving retail, my jobs have been fairly sedentary. Even now, I’m easily sat for hours on end with little to no movement. I’m lucky to hit 3k steps by the end of the day. Again, weight had become an issue. I’m not overweight, I know that, but it was certainly creeping up the wrong way, and I freaked out.

Weight does not define you, oh yes that is true, but it sure as hell can bother you. I felt conscious in front of anyone, so aware of every part of me when I sat down. I got back into the gym, but spent my time weighing myself to track all the tiny changes. Mood started to be determined if the scale went down, even it was part of a lb, every little made a difference.

 

Post-Christmas, again, I’d noticed the change in my body. I’d indulged, and goddamn right I wanted to, and come out the other side feeling soft and round. Fixing it sounded so easy, right? Cut the crap out for a bit and hit the gym, simple. Except a month in and I’ve given myself a stern talking to. I found myself creeping into old habits, telling myself what good food and bad food was, and feeling just general guilt. There is nothing wrong with how I look, but I could find fault in every inch of it. Four weeks into the gym, when most people say you’ll notice I change, I saw zilch.

I dipped my toe into unknown territory. I started looking at diets. Food I’ve always been pretty good with, and I mostly avoid takeaways due to it being a huge trigger for my IBS. One of my friends was discussing their carb-free diet, another was chatting about keto. It felt all-consuming. I decided to start looking in Google; what could I easily cut out, and lose some significant chub.

But fuck that, I refuse to make myself unhappy in a bid to achieve this self-defined “perfect” body. I point blank won’t deprive myself of things I enjoy to lose weight. I like the gym, but I will not spend all my time there to obsess.

What I’m going to do, and feel free to hold me to this, is adjust my point of view. My body is great, it’s never failed me. And the body I strive for only exists on Instagram. Speaking of which, it’s somewhere where I need to diversify my feed. I follow too many pretty skinny white girls to be good for my psyche, so tell me your favourite feeds.

My weight is mine, and mine alone. It doesn’t matter if the scales go up, or down, or stay exactly the same. My body is pretty alright. I need to remember that.

What are your thoughts on this?