Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Body Image, Weight Gain and the Lure of Cupcakes!



It's that time of the month, which means my 'hunger' pangs accompany me like an unwelcome vexing sidekick. Always there, unable to be pacified by healthy food that does not include well loved junk.

Three zits appeared eight hours ago without warning me in advance of their arrival. And I  feel drained and exhausted this time around despite weeks of faithful conscious healthy eating habits. Not one drop of soda has entered my body...not one! My oily face for reasons unknown to me, looks dry and un-cared for.  Seemly dehydrated...can you imagine!? I drink atleast one liter of water a day..so how!?

Sipping on my comforting burgundy colored hibiscus tea 😉,  I am typing the first draft of this post,  while I patiently wait for the two Panadol-extras  I took fifteen minutes ago to kick in. Google told me that painkillers work by intercepting messages to the brain from the nerve-endings when there's a problem such as an injury, an accident or just regular cramps . Essentially, my simple understanding of the process is that, it allows my brain to be in denial for a few hours so that I can focus on the other priorities in my life. What it can't do is shut down the negative thoughts I have about my body. Self esteem issues that are magnified by these monthly visits from mother nature.

It's one of those day's where I could quite easily get swept up in the dark cloud fueled by my merciless hormones. I have gained weight in the last two years. I can distract attention from my hips and my thighs with some cute fashionable dresses but I can't hide the cheeks on my face. This weekend they helped clarify the definition of chubby for me. A few weeks ago my aunt made a balloon impression to describe my looks. People have cornered me in the lift with worried concern. Love interests have offered to take me to the gym on a daily basis. Last year my brother pointed at my food belly and asked "What is that!?" I quietly fought of the urge to tell him it was a bad reaction to BBQ chicken wings.  Months ago,  I returned home, pleasantly greeted my Dad, he looked me up and down from behind his reading glasses and replied with the following statement, "You're getting fat!".

I really could wallow in my immutable sensitiveness to the way I think  the world views me and my body, but I don't have that kind of time and luckily I stumbled on a video a few hours ago which inspired me to write about this topic. This is the video ( click here) which lead me to Megan Jayne Crabbe's Body Positive Instagram Account and then to a  number of positive body image messages all over the internet terrain.  Wait....Just for minute.... let me divert from the topic a little bit,  I want the same colored  unicorn hair as Megan!  😁😁😁😁 Who am I kidding!? I could never rock such colors with confidence.


Scrolling through Megan's  account, I quickly realized it was so much more different than the ones I usually follow.  For one she allows her body to be seen as it is. No over use of  Filters or photoshop, no special  angles used to deceive her audience either 😮😮😮😮😮. How? (The amount of selfies I have deleted because they show what i really look like...)  The messages on her page about weight, food, eating and self worth are common sense and yet I am fascinated by them. Googling her history I realize she once suffered from an eating disorder and the body positive model may have been part of her treatment.  The 'Body Positivity ' movement was started in 1996 as a model for helping people with eating disorders. But even those without chronic eating disorders are discovering the importance of  such  messages about food. There are actually a number of discussions on it all over the internet (please google...don't take my word for it)






I don't have an eating disorder and I gather I am healthy from my last medical check up, even if I tried unsuccessfully to avoid getting on the weighing scale because I wanted to remain in my self preserving denial. The Nurse was persistent and I suspect she added a few extra kilograms to the weight section of my medical file either to spite or inspire me. You decide 😅😅😅😅. Two years ago, it was a different story, I was thinner, I looked like a girl not a woman, stress, grief, and other negative factors were taking their toll on me. My metabolism also had my back, whatever junk I threw in myself, it made it work. During that time, someone had the decency to have a real conversation with me about my self confidence. They helped me realize on some level that I  needed to live my life. And so I started living my life....and of course I have enjoyed my food since then.... and like I said earlier my cheeks started to show it, also some of my favorite dresses now don't fit anymore. I have been eating as I please, so it is inevitable that my under appreciated metabolism finally caught up with me. I can no longer consume what my eyes find appealing, I must now consume more of what my body needs. But you know I really would not have been that bothered about it had people not started making comments. I guess I am reluctantly grateful for the mini intervention because it's about time I become mature about it. Self confidence and self love also involve making good nutritious choices for meals.



I see how the messages we tell each other as well as the messages we consume through traditional and non traditional media can easily be internalized and lead to unhealthy eating habits on both ends of the spectrum. This is not a blame game by the way, I am solely responsible for this unflattering weight gain. To add to my internal confusion, last week I reduced my use of lifts and decided to use the stairs more often. One day while enthusiastically climbing up to my destination, I passed someone moving in the opposite direction who murmured under their breath with some obvious side eye, 'show off!' I started to  apologetically explain to them that I was trying to improve my overall fitness. They replied to my comment with sarcasm ' Yeah, right...😒😒😒" . This person is  physically a lot heavier than me, and probably ( I assume) struggling with their own personal weight issues. Which made me feel stupid... was I losing weight for other people? Why did I feel the need to explain myself? 😑😑😑
"these hips are big hips.
they need space to
move around in.
they don't fit into little
petty places. these hips
are free hips."
Lucille Clifton

I have decided to continue focusing on physical fitness and changing my eating choices rather than losing the weight. An exercise regime is in place, and discipline has been added to my diet. It is happening in phases so as not to cause a fully fledged internal rebellion. Lots of vegetables and fruits, No rice, reduced amounts of sugar intake...less cupcakes...that kind of thing.... Do you think I should buy myself a weighing scale? This whole body positive thing has changed my perspective, whether for good or bad I shall write my thoughts again in the future when I have results to share, but for now this is how I am choosing to tackle it .







Disclaimer: I am not part of any 'body positivity'  groups and  I am not an expert on movement either 



2 comments:

  1. Maria, the world will always have an opinion of who we are every single day. We just have to be kinder to ourselves and not buy into the image the world has of us. Am glad that you are finding a way to manage changes to your body and sharing with us so that we can be part of your support system.

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    1. Thank you for reading Roma! Its true we need to not care too much about what people think about us. The good I have taken from this experience is learning to choose healthy nutritious options and more physical fitness. But I have learnt not to strive for society's ideal of beauty. WE need to let some stereotypes go!

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