Own it or Take Ownership, but Stop Blaming Others
I’ve put on weight the last few weeks. Maybe I’ve gained five pounds or perhaps eight, I daren’t weigh myself. Either way it’s enough to make skinny jean wearing an impossibility. I’m staring at myself in the mirror and I don’t like what I see. My wrinkled stretch-marked stomach hangs over the top of my knickers, like a sad deflated balloon, casting a shadow over my tired underwear that digs into my doughy hips. The tops of my arms are fleshier than I remember them being and mounds of flesh ooze through the space above my bra creating cushiony pockets of flab – my own little pit tits.
I’m fat. That’s what I feel right now. Fat.
I’ve written about weight gain and weight loss, I’ve encouraged the empowerment of bikini wearing with abandonment and instilled the virtues of body confidence in impressionable girls. Down with body shaming and hurray for self acceptance, and all that.
Yeah yeah, we all know the drill, but the (saggy) bottom line still remains – whether you are fat or thin and somewhere in between you probably have the body you deserve.
It’s true. I know you don’t want to hear it, but it’s true.
You see, I’ve spent the last three months drinking. Not a day has gone by that I haven’t had an alcoholic drink. Perhaps a small glass of wine with my dinner, or a few cocktails on a night out with the girls, or a swift G&T before the bedtime routine (come on, let’s face it, it helps). But there are calories in alcohol, the kind of fat-inducing calories that don’t fill you up like a plate of pasta does.
I’ve also been out to eat. A lot. I’ve been moving house, to another country no less (hence the much-needed booze) so not a lot of healthy organic cooking has been taking place. I’ve been snacking, enjoying goodbye meals out, meeting up with friends and ordering plenty of takeaways. Giving myself my much-deserved ‘treats’ for all the rushing about I’ve been doing.
And have I been to the gym? Ha! Have I fuck.
So I am fat. No surprise there. Except to some people it really IS a surprise. I was talking to a friend the other day who was sad that she had put on so much weight and was getting angry at another mum at the school who had bounced back to her tiny size eight frame a week after giving birth.
‘It’s not fair,’ she whinged. ‘Why does she get to be so skinny and I’m still overweight?’ Well the answer was simple, they both had the body they deserved. The other mum was a yoga fanatic, she ate well and exercised all through her pregnancy. My mate had eaten nothing but chocolate for nine months and, like me, only got into strange positions when drunk and having a quick fumble with the hubby after too much Chardonnay.
Did she like me telling her that being overweight was her own fault? Of course she didn’t.
In today’s culture we’ve got into a disgusting habit of blaming everyone else but ourselves for things that don’t make us happy. It’s Instagram’s fault that girls want to be skinny and fit, it’s the fast food chains’ lack of nutritional guidelines that are forcing us to put on weight, it’s the lack of standard clothing sizes in shops confusing us about our correct body size, it’s porn and dirty mags making men want women with tiny bodies, it’s supermarkets making fruit expensive and donuts cheap… creating a nation of obese people, and it’s parents, always the poor ignorant parents and their lack of breastfeeding or skills in the kitchen, that’s making kids fat.
Nope. If you are fat (excluding the 5% that have genuine medical reasons for unexplained weight gain, the percentage IS really that small) then it’s YOUR fault. You have made yourself fat.
So you have two options:
If your lifestyle is more important than what you look like, well good for you! Mine has been the last few weeks. I am more than happy to forego my skinny jeans a bit longer in exchange for the amazing times and delicious food I have experienced the last few months. I swapped my waistline for a good time. That’s fine. Do I want to do that forever? No. But if you do, and you are happy with your body shape, then own it and enjoy it. And stop giving a fuck what others expect from you.
If you aren’t happy with your body size and want to know who to blame… look in the mirror. It’s you. Only you can decide whether to stay in bed at 6am instead of going for a run. Only you can say no to wine and order water instead. Only you can decide to make a salad instead of picking up a bag of chips on your way home. Of course it’s boring and difficult to go for the pain and the bland instead of the drunken and the naughty, but no-one ever got thin while sitting in McDonald’s.
The fact I’m even having to write this astounds me. But as a mother and a slightly podgy late thirties woman, I’m saying this as much to my daughters and myself as I am to you.
Life is about choices, and those choices make a difference to your life. Discover what is important to you and stay true to it. If you don’t want to lose weight, or you are struggling with the concept, then you need to rock it. Stand tall, smile, dress well and don’t give a fuck. And if you do want to be smaller, for whatever reason (your health and increasing your energy is reason enough) then go for it. Admit that you did this to yourself and do something about it.
As for me, I have another gluttonous week ahead of me and then it’s back to water and walking and wheatgrass shots. But it was worth it. My wobbly summer of gastronomy and laughter was worth the muffin top. And so were the muffins. Next week I’ll take ownership – this week I’m just getting the maxi dress out and owning this body!