Sunday, 4 October 2015

Saying Goodbye to Zero and Body Dysmorphia

When I first began losing weight, dropping dress sizes was magical – it felt like a dream.
 I couldn’t believe it, I remember struggling to fit into my old clothes, skirts began dropping to my knees (even in public) and tops became so baggy it was like they had never belonged to me. 


The first time I went shopping was an out of this world experience.  I can’t explain the feeling – I only ventured to George at Asda, but I was shell shocked that the garments I’d taken into the fitting room and tried on were FAR too big.  I had picked up sizes I was so used to wearing – 12s, 14s, 16s – they looked like all my other clothes previous, why didn’t they fit?
It took a long time for me to get my head around my decreasing size.  Because, even though I was aware I had lost weight, the image in my mind was still set around a size 14/16 (not a smaller digit, if anything a bigger one).

When I was at my lowest weight, I found that size 10 was still too big.  With a petite frame, I struggled with proportions tremendously. I found myself wandering into the children’s section a lot – something which was very strange.
But, being the woman that I am I never gave up on my quest to lose weight for my wedding in 2014. When I got married I was a size 8 – and I’m warmly accepting of that.  Because something carried me through the lead up to the wedding, but hell heck, you know I failed to laugh and I can look back now and firmly say that I did it my way – but not necessarily the right way.

If I had been a few pounds heavier would my husband still have married me?  Of course he would have done, lets face it he would have married me if I was the size of an elephant!
 Would I have felt as confident on my wedding day as I did?  Sadly probably not

The fairy tale happened after my wedding (and it didn’t involve dress sizes).  I was firmly set on conquering health and happiness.  From my time spent in Thailand, to embarking on vegetarianism, to my undying love of tropical fruit. Yes, I do rather love good food.
People, who know me, still consider me to be one of the healthiest people they know – but for me, health is about lifestyle. If you are passionate about what you eat and how you eat it, then there is no need to crash diet, beat yourself up about calories or lose faith in yourself.  

I could talk about the perils of weight loss all day long, I can emphasise with girls who struggle with their weight, much younger than me.  But, also every woman who has ever looked in the mirror and disliked the figure staring back at them – I once was that woman, every woman. 

Sorting through some clothing for charity this weekend, I stumbled upon my size zero skirt. The one and only item I ever purchased with the aptly sized 0 tag.  I laughed, because the girl who bought this skirt two years ago was so fixated on the size printed on the tag, but was it really necessary?
At the time, yes it was.  Now – absolutely not.

Be whoever you want to be, and always be true to yourself.

 photo alicesign_zps71940e85.jpg



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10 comments

  1. I've finally learnt not to pay attention to the labels any more. It's after all just another number and shops vary so wildly who's to say that it makes any sense anyway?

    Once again a truly inspirational post. x

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    1. Laura, firstly thank you.
      Women's sizing is so wildly inaccurate, and does vary immensely from shop to shop I agree - some shops I still find impossible to fit into their smallest sizes, proportions are very odd things.
      Labels are just that –‘labels’ - I buy a fair part of my wardrobe second-hand, so it's more often than not I spot a print or a fabric I like and pursue it. I hate the feeling of having to 'select' your size in mainstream high-street stores - it can feel intimidating.
      Size is only a number, I know the zero debate caused outrage and continues to spark controversy. I think, until you have played the numbers game, you really see the light at the other end. Size doesn't define a body - far from it. What goes into it does, like anything care and nurture goes far further than the latest fashion trend.
      You are one of my longest, most appreciated readers - thanks for being here from the very start.
      x x x


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  2. Another inspiring post Alice - 'for me, health is about lifestyle' Yes! I watched my Mum diet my whole life, she'd reach her target weight and come off the diet, only to put it all back on again (and more). I was lucky to grow up not to having to worry. I was a beanpole, always running around, never having to watch what I ate. I vowed that I would never go on a diet, because watching my Mum struggle and be so unhappy for so many years struck me as a sad way to live life.
    I hate the way the word diet has changed it's meaning to be about being 'on a diet', when really the word diet is simply what you eat.
    Recently, I've have put on a little weight. I think it's an age thing, and a general slowing down of life's pace (and my lack of exercise!). But I will not go 'on a diet'. I'm trying to make positive changes instead. Trying to find exercise that I enjoy, trying to cook from scratch and limit 'naughty' foods. I feel that by making small changes to everyday life is the way to go about making a permanent change, in the meantime I dress to flatter my shape and refuse to allow myself to beat myself up about my current weight. I say 'weight' but I don't own scales (another promise I made myself when I was younger, my Mum's happiness seemed intrinsically linked to those damn things), I measure myself by how I feel, how I look. I want to feel strong and healthy.
    I'm glad you've found your happy weight, you've been on an incredible journey, it's inspirational. You should write a book, share your story, your insights. I have no doubt that it would be a huge success.

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    1. Hazel, you are far too kind and so supportive of my writing, it’s warmly appreciated.
      I learned the hard way, by often putting the weight at the forefront of my life. For that *temporary* amount of time I was so fixated around the digits, and I did find myself growing miserable. It really is a vicious circle, it's one of those that once you become a part of, it’s incredibly difficult to shake off.

      I grew up with a very average diet (not diet, just the food I ate etc.) - my Mum didn't particularly cook from scratch, we ate a lot of frozen food, but we didn't eat purely junk. If anything it was a little bland. When I reached my early twenties, I guess I made up for lost time and ate A LOT of everything. Then I suddenly found I was overweight and unhappy, coupled with a pending engagement/wedding, I began the 'diet' (the actual diet).

      But, what came next was a complete body and mind revolution. I hit stages of unhappiness (just how you describe your Mum) and struggled to figure out what came next ... but then it hit me how much I was missing out on, and how much was out there. Thailand definitely was the game changer - I saw all of this incredible food, so accessible, so nourishing, so good, and so different. I was mesmerized.
      I wrote in my Travel3Sixty article, that I went to Thailand hungry... and came home more fulfilled than I had ever been!

      I agree - scales are more often than not a recipe for disaster. I remember weighing myself a few days before my wedding - and then promising to never weigh myself again (certainly not with view to lose weight or check my weight regularly). The last action the scales got... checking the baggage weight on my last trip away!

      You are a very wise woman and I really appreciate your feedback Hazel.
      x x x


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    2. I'm not just being kind. I really mean it when I say you could write to inspire others (you already do on this here blog!).
      I have visions of you writing about your experiences of food and weight loss, combined with travel. You speak so passionately about it, I have no doubt that this is something you could succeed in.
      Remember - anything is possible.

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  3. It's great to hear that you've found that happy place. Weight and body confidence, image, whatever one calls it, is such a tough thing. I've struggled for a long time and every time I feel as though I might be getting things sorted out, in my head, I stumble and it's miles away once more. I'm not sure what the answer is, but I'm sad that this *thing*, whatever it is, has taken over my life.

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    1. Char,
      I know how much you have battled it, like with anything I find my true solace in writing. I think until you experience it – it’s hard to describe how it can take over a huge proportion of your life. And no matter how many people tell you it's not a big deal, you will never believe it, until you hear it from yourself.
      Being happy is at the core of being healthy. I firmly believe and stand by that.
      Don’t be sad, one day not so far away it will become less integral. I didn’t see it coming, but my gosh I needed it and I am so thankful it did.
      x x x

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  4. I have been lucky enough that my confidence has grown as I have got older but it is a weird thing to learn how to love your body!

    Maria xxx

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    1. Maria, I completely agree.
      As you get older, you do realise what is important and how difficult it is to accept and love your own body. But, once you've done that, it really is the key to confidence and self-acceptance.
      x x x

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  5. I am glad you have grown so much in confidence and are happy! Well done for being a positive influence on others!x

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