Body acceptance during a weight loss challenge.

Here we are again. I wrote about this topic eighteen months ago (!!!) and now I’m back in the same place trying to sort my head out.

When I was 22 I took a bottle of rose moscato to a friend’s house. It was autumn and hot and we sat in the backyard and shared the wine. Except.

Except my friend only had one glass, and the bottle was empty. She had been refilling my glass, and I had also been refilling it, and I didn’t notice I was slightly tipsy until I stood up to get more cheese and crackers.

This is exactly how I put on weight. Okay, I don’t usually drink my calories, what I mean is that weight sneaks up on me. A non-metaphor example: I had two weeks off work. I went on a cruise, I ate out a lot of the second week of the holidays (while on land), and boom, I put on 5 kilos. And I didn’t even notice until I tried to put on a favourite dress for dinner, and it didn’t fit, and neither did the other five I tried on after that.

Taking it off is hard work.

And here’s the thing — I am all for body acceptance. I know I’m not built tall and willowy, and I don’t expect to ever be thin enough to wear a whole bunch of clothes. But I’m unhappy about my current state. I don’t like having limited fashion options. I freaking love clothes, and I don’t want to only have choices from City Chic (also totally out of proportion with my body and the sizing is inconsistent), Autograph (mum type clothes, blurgh), or plus size options from the chain stores (have you seen Target’s range? The sell black leggings, black tops and oversized-oversized shirts. Thanks, but no). Other than clothes, there are things I don’t like. For example, chairs can be uncomfortable. All glasses look dorky on me. I really like having prominent collar bones. I just feel too big.

The body acceptance movement is about trying to reinforce the idea that it’s okay to be who you are, to accept your body (and, the bodies of other people). Feminism also points to an idea that women are told that they are too much — emotionally, physically and otherwise. And if beauty is within, it doesn’t matter if your exterior is as shite as the poor looking paint job on my Corolla, it’s what is inside that counts. And while there is a lot of merit in those ideas, what I believe is that I’m happy with who I am. And the reasons I want to change mean that I can’t accept my current state.

My kids have two parents, but most of the time they only have me. And, even taking away good role modelling, I don’t feel healthy at whatever size this is.

It’s more than trying to lose weight. I had a mole removed the other day, and I’ve got another one to sort out at a later date. I have to have a root canal finished soon. My iron levels are low. It’s about taking good self care. I can’t accept not fixing that stuff either.

My gym is doing another 6 week challenge. They love challenges. I signed up, even though the last time I did one of these things I became very disheartened. It’s been good. I like that it has lots of guidelines. There are extensive food plans and training guidelines. With my lifestyle I haven’t been able to follow them exactly, but I have been active every single day and I’ve been eating a hellva lot of veggies too.

Body acceptance is about empowering women and men to love themselves. And I am pretty sure that’s what I’m doing. What I’m not doing: talking to people about ‘my diet’ or trying to explain my exercise regime (snoozefest), or being a dork about food, or posting before and after photos (but people should do that if they want to). I’m trying not to trigger anyone, and I hope it helps.

Loving yourself means being open to change. And if I’ve learned anything in these last twelve months, it’s that everything can and will change when you want it too, or even, when you don’t.

I like books, rubber ducks, 90s pop music and putting words on paper. Wrote a thesis on romance. Failed roller derby fresh meat 5 times (and counting).

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