I am overweight. There is no way to dispute this fact, the mighty and omniscient BMI index makes it indisputable and quantifiable.
It bothers me on some days more than others, but still- I’ve been on a halfhearted diet for about the last five years now.. rolls eyes..
I’m 5’7, and currently weigh in at 12 stone and 3lb, which- if you know your BMI stats- puts me smack bang in the middle of the “overweight” section. I need to lose 11lb to get down to the coveted “normal weight” section
Rolls eyes again..
“Normal” is one of my least favourite words in the English language, and yet- I still look into the mirror, and rip myself to shreds rather than acknowledge my averagely OK figure.
My boyfriend tells me I’m beautiful, but I don’t internalise it; his words just keep rebounding off the part of my mind which screams, you can’t be beautiful; you’re a stone overweight! Over weight and beautiful are contradictory terms!
This is absolutely ridiculous, and I do fight the urge to think in this stupid and reductive manner, nanely because I hate how superficial it seems to make me. I hate to think that i am so affected by something which is so flipping unimportant.
First world problems right? I hate how much my sense of self-esteem can be knocked, by a 2 dimensional reflection.
I’m worth more than that- I know that I have more depth, and more substance than that image in the mirror!
Except that on some days I just don’t feel like I do. On some days my entire sense of self is thrown into a tailspin, just because I feel overweight.
I have this constant internal conflict surrounding my body and my reflection, and how I perceive it and relate to it. There is this sense of uncertainty, and this gap,. between what I rationally know to be true (I don’t look that bad,) and what my insecurities scream at me when i look in the mirror (you don’t deserve to feel that good!)
It is like a part of me worries that to be deserving of happiness, and for my sense of self-esteem to be justified, I must weigh 10 stone. The advertising companies/media etc have done their job scarily well, by tying ideas of beauty and self worth to physical appearance, and moreover to a thin physical appearance.
I want to feel a certain way- but I also feel that I cannot be and feel that way at my present weight. When I look in the mirror I do not see someone who deserves to feel that good about themselves.
I want to feel beautiful.. that is the crux of it, really.
I want to feel beautiful in the way that Ru makes me feel. However, currently, that feeling is knocked away the moment I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror.
I shout at myself daily, come on Ally, you don’t need to be thin to be beautiful, you don’t need to be 10 stone to have self esteem; you can feel dam good about yourself and also be slightly overweight.. for Gods sake Ally of course you can be.
I know this really- and I know that the side of me which knows this is the better side of me; the side which I respect more and Ru loves more.
I would rather be a woman whose sense of self esteem came from her mind and her work, rather than from a stupid notion of feeling beautiful. Beautiful is subjective, and in the eye of the beholder.
Big is beautiful!- and the people I really admire are the people who don’t give a dam what their appearance is doing, they’re too busy living their lives and getting caught up in all the thrills it has to offer.
They’re not standing in front of a mirror criticising themselves.
Yet I can’t leave the scales behind me- I can’t give up on that notion of just loosing one more stone. I let the little voice come in, the worst little voice that i have; and it says:
If you just diet a little longer, and push yourself a little harder, you could get down to that weight you really want to be.
If you don’t, if you accept this version of yourself you’ll be giving up on the best version of yourself, you’ll be giving up on who you really want to be.
Does anybody else have this little voice?
The little voice which whispers in your ear and gets your head all wrapped up in knots? It literally makes me want to scream, because I know that staying at my current weight doesn’t constitute giving up on who I really want to be, it means accepting myself now, how I am already- which is wise.
I wish I could look in the mirror and be at peace with who I see there. I wish I could let go of the drive to diet; the compulsion to keep pushing myself to lose weight.
The internal conflict is a perfect representation of French philosopher Michel Foucault’s theory of Governmentality: I have started to judge myself critically by standards which external institutions/agencies etc have imposed on me. I have started to govern myself in a way which conforms to other peoples standards.
Dieting, and the whole bloody topic makes me want to rant and rage! I wish I could regurgitate and bring up all the crap I’ve absorbed throughout my entire teenage and adult life, which says you cannot be overweight and beautiful- you do not deserve to feel that good if your BMI is over 25.
God that would be a good day.
Or would it? Would I still look in the mirror and not be able to accept what I see? There is a personal, internal conflict which is created by the society we live in- we are accosted every day by images telling us how we should look, and moreover- how we should want to look.
Some days I think I’m sadly susceptible, on other days I think it’s everywhere, it’s bloody hard to get away from. I know, on a theoretical level, that I am beautiful, because everybody is beautiful; everybody has their own sense of inner beauty.
I just struggle to see it in myself on a bad day.
8 thoughts on “Dieting; a word to make me wince (a half hearted rant)”
I’m probably overweight, but since the batteries on my electronic scales have run flat… and I do have some tummy fat that I’m working on. Sort of. I just like cheese!
But you do need to fix this notion of your image: because if you find yourself pregnant, the fatty aftermath will be a torment. Ru will love you, he’ll love your baby, and you’ll be agonizing over the weight you just can’t shed.
I know what it is to have problems with your self-esteem. I never had a partner as close as Ru is to you; on my partner’s side it was mere expectation – there was nothing of the engagement that you and Ru have. It is that which counts: it is this which will keep you together when you’re both seventy.
Wrinkled, flabby, achingly unattractive… yet the light in each other’s eyes, the smiles and the silly pokings with the fingers when you both see something that’s funny. You can’t buy that, and you can’t lose weight to get it. It helps to be attractive for the man, but you are already attractive enough for him.
Most importantly of all, for all the weight, you are striving to be perfect. That striving means more than any loss of weight, because with someone else who strives, you really can’t go wrong.
You’ve commented about weight loss over on my blog (I just realised, I forgot to reply to your last comment and so will do that here, sort of, while also replying to your entry) – you deserve to feel beautiful no matter what you weigh and no matter what your BMI says. I completely understand how hard it is to accept that fact and to accept the love and compliments we receive from others when the version of ourselves that we see in the mirror is different to the version of our self we want to be. I’ve spent years struggling with this (and am actually in the process of writing some very raw and honest posts about my relationship with my weight, and food, and my body from childhood to now), and I think I have finally turned a corner so I am going to try to articulate that corner with you in the hopes it will help.
When I was younger, my desire to lose weight was always fuelled by the idea that I was only worth something if a boy thought I was beautiful, I would lose a fair amount of weight and then end up with a boyfriend and put it all back on again, because the boy goal had been reached. It was a yo-yo of restriction and low self-esteem. I’m now in the most successful bout of weight loss in my entire life and it’s because I realised that I actually want to lose the weight for *me* and even though my boyfriend thinks I am beautiful whatever my size, this is about how *I* feel about *myself* and how my body feels. With the loss I’ve had so far, I feel so much healthier and it’s bringing out my confidence in a way I’ve never experienced before because I am focussing on *me* and how I feel, rather than what anyone else says or thinks, or what I see in the media. When that clicked in my mind, what I thought when I saw myself in the mirror changed. I see someone who is strong, who deserves the love she is given and who is beautiful. I don’t always feel this way, I have low days but it’s all about perspective! 🙂
The problem with most diets is that you have to restrict yourself, it’s all about eating less and going hungry. When you restrict yourself, you’re more likely to binge in your weaker moments. That’s why most diets don’t work. Slimming World is good in that the idea is that you never go hungry (I promise, I am not trying to sell slimming world here, that’s not my intention even if I do love it), you can eat as much rice and pasta and potato as you want as long as a third of your plate is filled with vegetables or fruit (it is slightly more complicated than that but I am trying to keep it simple). You are allowed to enjoy all of the things you love (chocolate, dairy, crisps, cereal, even takeout) but it’s all about enjoying those things in moderation and keeping track of them. It’s a lifestyle change, not a diet, and I think that’s the key to successful weight loss, and to keep weight off, you need to stick to it even after you get to where you want to be, making the necessary changes to maintain your weight. It’s about changing the way you approach food, not restricting what food you’re allowed to eat – that combined with a change of perspective. I currently eat more food than I have ever eaten in my life and yet still get steady losses – when you tell yourself you’re not allowed something, it makes you want it even more so it’s not a great idea to do it.
It’s not a quick fix, changing the way you think about something and the way you go through your day is hard; I have been eating the Slimming World way for nearly 8 months now and am just over half way to my target. But I wouldn’t go back. I *love* food and I *love* eating and cooking, and I have the joy back that I lost from trying to maintain unhealthy eating habits.
Wow, that’s an essay. Anywho, the point is that you *are* beautiful, you deserve to feel that way and so long as you’re healthy, it doesn’t matter. But if you do really want to lose weight, do it for yourself, not because the media said so, and do it healthily. Your health is not worth a tiny waist.
Much love ❤
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Thank you for this reply.. and thank you for putting so much time and effort into it. I am not freaking out about my weight, not really- the main issue i have is that GENERALLY i am fairly well balanced about it all. I know i look ok, and i feel good in my skin.. i just can’t feel entirely comfortable, and i can’t let go of the urge to lose that last stone. Part of it is stubborness though.. i know i could do it, i just need to be disciplined for a few months.. that’s what bugs me. I have tried slimming world in the past, and might try it again in the future. My diet is good, it’s just cutting out ALL naughty stuff for a little while, and exercising regularly- things i want to be doing anyway, just to become more healthy… Aah, as i said, it’s a half hearted rant as i know i’m just stating things which everybody already knows. I KNOW i don’t need to be stick thin to feel beautiful, i KNOW i am already.. but i still crave weight loss- perhaps part of my constant need for perceived self improvement…?? Anyway, thanks again, and hope yours continues to go well! We’re all bloomin beautiful, i guess we just feel it more on certain days!… xx
Thank you for this reply.. and thank you for putting so much time and effort into it. I am not freaking out about my weight, not really- the main issue i have is that GENERALLY i am fairly well balanced about it all. I know i look ok, and i feel good in my skin.. i just can’t feel entirely comfortable, and i can’t let go of the urge to lose that last stone. Part of it is stubborness though.. i know i could do it, i just need to be disciplined for a few months.. that’s what bugs me. I have tried slimming world in the past, and might try it again in the future. My diet is good, it’s just cutting out ALL naughty stuff for a little while, and exercising regularly- things i want to be doing anyway, just to become more healthy… Aah, as i said, it’s a half hearted rant as i know i’m just stating things which everybody already knows. I KNOW i don’t need to be stick thin to feel beautiful, i KNOW i am already.. but i still crave weight loss- perhaps part of my constant need for perceived self improvement…?? Anyway,
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Ally you don’t have to be 10 stone to be beautiful – you are beautiful because you are a beautiful person…
That being said your efforts this year have been ace, so keep going at it, bit by bit. Don’t beat yourself up too much on the days you just can’t avoid all the sugary deliciousness, just take a few days rest and start again.
It’s good to rant, and I truly think that everyone has those voices whether they are 20, 10 or 5 stone… they all voice different horrible things that don’t matter and we shouldn’t listen to any of them. Tell them to fuck off – loudly – from me too xxx
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Aah babes love you so much- and I will tell them to f off loudly from you and from me 🙂 I know- I don’t assume that if I lost this stone that voice would magically disappear and I’d be filled with happiness EVERY SINGLE TIME I LOOKED IN THE MIRROR..! I know everybody has days they feel better or worse.. and I honestly don’t beat myself up that much. I think it’s more just the desire to lose that weight which gets me, because- I know I don’t need to be 10 stone to be beautiful..not really. But still, I can’t leave the scales alone.. is so silly! But, as said, I don’t think I’m alone in this. I’m thinking about writing some more article about these subjects because it’s interesting.. how much your sense of self worth shifts and changes simply depending on a good day or a bad one.. Anyway- love you lots and thank you for reading! xxx
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Tell you what, if it wasn’t the scales, it’d be something else.
We’re all the same in that respect.
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True dat 🙂
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