As a child I was led to believe that my body determined not only my value but also what I could do with my life. I loved to dance and was a keen debater, but as I lost confidence in my body and became trapped in a cycle of dieting and trying to shrink myself, the options I felt were available to me also began to shrink.
At Uni I wore all black (It’s a slimming colour according to Trinny and Susannah!) and spent the majority of my time in my room, convinced that I couldn’t do the things I really wanted until I’d lost weight. I turned my back on who I really was and settled for a life limited to what I believed people like me could achieve.
I’d like to say that when I had my daughter, at 25, all this changed, but in reality I dieted even more. I didn’t want her to think that being in an “overweight body” was normal. I didn’t want to set a bad example by bingeing or eating “unhealthy foods”. I tried hypnosis, a myriad of diets, clean eating, weight loss pills and even enquired about surgery. I bounced between orthorexia and binge eating disorder and felt like I’d be this way forever.
Several years later I was having coaching and had worked through many of my limiting beliefs in other areas. I felt like the one thing that was still holding me back and that I’d never be able to change was my relationship with my body, so I decided to bring it to a session.
Opening up to my coach was the start of a transformative journey for me. I no longer felt alone in my experience and realised other people were going through this too. I accessed a community of people and support through the body positive and fat activist movements. I was so relieved to have found another way of being it became my whole world.
I’m still recovering from decades of diet culture, but what I now know is:
My body does not determine my value
My body is the way through which I exist in the world, rather than being the sum total of my existence
It’s not about making myself smaller, or punishing myself for eating
I understand why I think the things I do and where those thoughts have come from
I know the things I want to do are up to me, and it’s not for anyone else to say I can’t
I’m kinder to myself
As I began to accept my body, I also began to reconnect with the parts of myself I had denied – my inner activist was reawakened. I became involved in children’s rights and body activism. I chose to home educate my children in a consent based, unschooling environment where they have autonomy over their own choices. Together we have the freedom to challenge societal norms and live in a considered and conscious way.