Resolution or revolution?
January is a breeding ground for feelings of weakness, failure and guilt; the new year brings an inevitable (renewed) desire to do better, be better, to resolve and to what…change? Why do we feel we always need to? It’s not enough to survive and be content, you must improve and achieve, be your best self. Average is simply not good enough; I am not good enough. So I ring in the New Year with the same old aspirations to finally do my body justice, to commit to a consistent fitness and nutrition plan. Out with the old me. Again. It’s not how it used to be when I was a teenager, or even in my twenties. ‘Skinny’ has long been replaced with ‘strong’, ‘athletic’, ‘lean’ and ‘svelte’, ‘diet’ is a dirty word, replaced with ‘clean’ or ‘lifestyle change’. Let’s call it what it is; a whole lot of companies making money out of people feeling crap about themselves. And I fall for it; despite my new-found feminist attitude, I can’t help but want less lumps and bumps, be tempted by the next keto or intermittent fasting. Fatburn and my sugar-free habits feel like a long time ago. Like any addiction, the incremental slide from an occasional treat turned into a full-blown rebound of haribo-fuelled evenings. Weekends turned into Thursday-Tuesday and Christmas became a six week free for all when it came to food.
Willpower is a tricky thing, but I do know that my schkiddy slide into overdoing it, feeling bad about it and moping is just as unhealthy as the unnutritious foods consumed. I read so many articles about women accepting their bodies when they reach a certain age or after they’ve had children, but I’m still waiting for (and looking forward to) that happening for me. It’s not that I don’t appreciate what my body has done; for what it has given me I am truly grateful; but try as I might I just can’t get there. I know I have to work on my fitness, strength and (mainly) my nutrition. But could it be that the whole area of acceptance is what I need to devote most time to? How do I stop the cycle?
At the age of 37 I honestly have no idea. I also know that I am exhausted. Fluctuating weight and girth is one thing, but yoyoing between feeling ok about yourself and crappy isn’t good enough anymore. It’s boring to dread occasions or seeing certain people because you’re worried about how you look. A double chin or thicker thighs will make zero difference to how anyone worth spending time on views you. Ditto wearing boring clothes because they’re comfortable mentally rather than physically. What I wear sums up how I feel in my body. I pull on the same old things and feel the same old way in a weird act of contrition. I don’t believe I’ve behaved well enough to wear the nice things; I feel slovenly and hide in my jeans and sweatshirt uniform. I wonder when I’ll grow up and look like the other polished women of the same age. Anyone who knows me knows I have two settings: slummy mummy or full scale Westwood. There is no in-between stylish version of me, despite my vain hope I will evolve into her.
I grow ever aware that I am not getting any younger (I have tried to stay 24 but the time travel or time suspension was getting difficult), so I need to find some kind of balance all round; most of all I need to cut myself some slack. The world does not care if I am 10lbs lighter or heavier, they probably don’t even notice. More importantly, the people who love me don’t do so because of the size of my arse. It’s only me who has a hard time with it, who lets it matter, despite knowing what’s important. And the shame in feeling bad about it is just another stick to beat myself with. I have perspective, I am reasonable, but how you feel most often doesn’t respond to either of those. Maybe acknowledging that I need to make changes to my mindset will be a watershed. Instead of trying to alter my body to make my mind happy, maybe I need to reverse that approach. Either way, I need to make peace here. I am bored with self doubt; of days being characterised by how I feel about myself. Life is about so much more than that; more than avoiding looking in the mirror, dwelling on my shortcomings and projecting a gloomy little face. So here I go – a little behind schedule – making a change. Mostly in attitude; hopefully the rest will follow.