Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Weigths and Measures

Growing up as a child I had a lot of 'Puppy Fat'. I was never a skinny kid, and often when we look back at family pictures people remark on the little pot belly they never would have imangined I had. But as I reached the age of around 12, the puppy fat began to drop off, and I got thinner and thinner. What my parents and friends didn't quite realise yet, was that I wasn't just naturally loosing my puppy fat, I was starving myself.

From the age of 12 till around 16 I would eat just one meal a day, and maybe a hand full of peanuts. I made my own lunch for Middle School, and I would just pack a slice of bread, or a handful of peanuts or peas. Even though the weight was dropping off, and I was no longer a chubby child, I still couldn't see myself as thin. I would spend maybe half an hour every day looking at myself in the mirror and spinning around and around trying to see myself as skinny, when all I could really see were rolls of fat and 'wobbly bits'.

I always ate in front of my parents, and I never starved myself to the extreme, just enough to feel the familiarity of hunger pains I had come to enjoy. I hated the feeling of being full, I would rather have thrown up then be full. I could just about manage to eat a big meal if my parents took us to a restaurant, and on the weekends, I would always eat slightly more as my parents were watching.

Then I reached high school and people were telling me how skinny I was, and I liked it. More than that, I felt proud of myself and the new skinny figure I felt I had worked for. I began not eating anything till I came home for tea, and as I developed closer friendships in high school, they began to notice. They began to notice my lack of lunches, my remarks on someone who I viewed as not skinny (but actually were a size 8). They drew some figures for me, one of a slim person, and one of an even slimmer person, and would ask me whether I thought they were fat, and I always would. They then began forcing me to eat, sitting with me inside an empty lunch hall making me take bites of a cereal bar whilst everyone else was outside, or even one time physically picking me up out of my chair and shoving me to the lunch queue.

At the same time my Mum began to notice I was looking a little too gaunt. She would force me onto the scale and threaten me with a lard alternative if I didn't eat a reasonable amount of dinner. One thing I could stomach, and craved, were cakes and ice cream, and she would buy me my own tubs and trays of cakes to eat. I began to improve, as I knew I was skinny, and although I myself couldn't see it, I knew it had to be true, otherwise people wouldn't keep telling me. And then, when I was 16, this boy liked me. Once I had my first boyfriend, I began to gain more confidence and started eating small meals, no longer just one a day, I could fully master a £1 pick a mix again, and although I still felt sick consuming large amounts I was no longer as tired or drained as I had been.

Then I got sick, in a whole different way. My boyfriend dumped me and I felt very alone. I couldn't handle all of these feelings swirling inside me and that doubt I had about whether I was fat began creeping back. Whislt being treated for clinical depression and anxiety I was asked to place myself on a sliding scale, with a fat person at one end and a thin person at the end, and I refused to. I remember saying that I couldn't place myself on the scale cause I didn't know what he was asking, everyone was different and they had different bodies shapes, and I viewed my body shape as wrong, and the main reason I was fat. Eventually he gave up and moved on to the more dangerous, darker thoughts.

Then one day I had an epiphany, food was tasty, cake was extra tasty, and I felt as if I had wasted 5 years of food heaven and had to make up for eat. Now I consume 3 meals a day and a snack, and some days I will eat continuously. I love food, and whenever those thoughts that tell me I am fat creep in, I try to shove them aside. Sometimes of course it is hard, I try not to look at my body in the mirror too much, and I sometimes find myself wearing baggy clothes cause I feel I am too large, or look too fat, but if I have those days, I just go out for a run, or a long walk, and I feel as if I am doing something healthy with those thoughts rather than starving myself again. I have even learnt to except that I will always have large boobs and an ass, no matter how much I wish I didn't. Everyone has different body types, and we just have to accept what we are given.

Recently I have been going through a 'fat' phase again. Thinking I can't wear skimpy summer clothes and not letting my boyfriend look at me or touch my bare stomach. But this time I am taking active control. I am continuing to eat healthy sized portions, and the occasional slice of cake and cookie, but counteracting it by actually doing regualr excercise (something I am notoriously bad at). I am learning that weight isn't a good measure, as muscle weighs more than fat, and due to my regualr excercise I am actually developing muscles, which means that naturally I will weigh more. I am also learning to ignore clothe sizes, where as before I would cry and starve myself if I had to buy a Size 10 skirt, now I acknowledge that certain styles recguire larger sizes to fit my body type.

Gone are the days of crying in Hollister cause I didn't fit into a pair of size 0 jeans (and I apologise again to the male shop assistant who was confused by this irrational outburst). I am learning, and trying to love myself. And for once in my teenage life I am actually healthy, no longer gaunt, or tired and actually able to run up a hill without collapsing, although I do currently sound like Darth Vader when I come in from a run.....

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