It’s funny because I was going to write this anyway. And then I read Keri’s post My Issue With Skinny and it kind of fell together. So in a way, this is a response to you Kez.
I have never been skinny. I was as a little girl but puberty brought with it a wave of unstable hormones and my skin and my weight have suffered ever since.
Now, looking back on photographs from the first two years of varsity, when I was at my lowest weight since grade ten, I realise that I was a lot slimmer then than I thought I was.
That was twenty kilograms ago.
I know exactly how and why I gained so much weight. I went through the first of a series of heartbreaks (I make it sound dramatic. It was to me) and, like a good German, I did not deal with this trauma. At all. I holed myself up in my room for a whole year, watching endless hours of series and eating myself numb.
For the past three years I have been unhappy with the way I look and feel, uncomfortable in my own skin. I have tried many ways to lose weight. At one point I was really quite fit. I have been to various dietitians and weight-loss groups. I have tried it on my own. Every Monday is a new leaf and every Tuesday, the leaf dies and I gain weight with alarming consistency.
And remember how I said ‘series of heartbreak’? One step forward, ten steps back.
I came to a realization at some point last year.
Skinny is not for me.
I may have been a small girl but I have never been a small woman, if puberty is the mark of womanhood. I have size eight feet, a strong nose and wide hips. I am not petite and I am not meant to be skinny.
I am meant to be healthy and I am meant to be comfortable and I am meant to be happy. How I choose to get to that point, is what really counts.
I still worry about my weight constantly and I have implemented some things into my lifestyle that I hope will help. I eat two boiled eggs for breakfast every morning these days. I try to make healthy lunch choices and eat small portions, especially for dinner. I’ve cut out my daily cappuccinos and replaced it with endless cups of plain rooibos. By ‘plain’ I mean, hot water and a teabag.
And by ‘cut out’ I mean, maybe one or two a week.
And I gym, twice a week with a trainer and once a week up the mountain by myself.
I have not lost weight yet and I’m sure there are many other things I should be doing (ahem, like saying no that cupcake earlier) but I am confident that my health is benefiting from this.
My goals have changed. I would like to get down to a weight where my clothes fit comfortably, mirrors don’t scare me and I can climb my normal mountain route without having to stop to breathe.
I no longer compare myself to my friends who have size 4 feet and tiny, button noses. I no longer look at clothes that will never suit me, because as much as my weight may change my basic body shape never will. I am hourglass to the end.
Something unexpected has come out of my significant weight gain. When I was my thinnest, I thought I was fat. I really wasn’t, but I believed it and it overshadowed everything else.
Now that I actually am fat, I have finally realized that the rest of me is not all that bad.
I have a strong bone structure and natural curves. I have cheekbones and dimples and a good smile. I can make people laugh. I like my lips. My Teletubby fingers aren’t that bad and I have nice toes and strong nails.
Somewhere along the way, I learnt to love myself. Despite my size. And despite my weird hairline.