Dear 32 year old body of mine,
When you were little, a mere baby, you were cute. Brown skin with a shock of black hair, a round face with eyes hidden, I didn’t know you well enough to have a view on you back then. I accepted you for what you were — a contraption to eat, sleep and poo. It was bliss.
As a toddler, dear body, you had rolls of fat. Chubby cheeks, plump arms and legs and a round stomach. Of course, you were even cuter as you waddled your way through toddlerhood. As a child, some of the fat rolled away thanks to an active lifestyle of swimming, soccer, and riding a bike. The chubby cheeks remained as if you just couldn’t let go. I still accepted you, though, maybe because I still didn’t think too much. You were just there to help me do all the things I loved.
Some time around 12 or 13, things began to change. I remember refusing to go swimming because I didn’t want to show you to the world. I began wearing loose t-shirts that came to my knees and baggy jeans or long skirts when I wasn’t at school. I noticed how my thighs would rub against each other and I stopped wearing shorts. As school got harder, my activity levels dropped. Following my Year 10 school certificate, I spent my summer holidays feeding you with chips, sweets and other oily junk as I watched cricket. Sure, I played a bit of cricket myself but not enough to make you slimmer.
As time went on, you grew wider — especially around the bum, thighs and hips. I began to dislike looking at you and continued to hide you with baggy t-shirts and jeans. Until finally, some friends knocked some sense into me to wear nice clothes to flatter you. I wasn’t in love with you but I managed to feel ok. Finally, after completing my undergrad and knowing I had months of free time ahead of me, I decided to work on you. I hit the gym hard and started putting healthy food into you. I went from being 60 kilos to about 48 kilos over the next 9 months. I fell in love with you. I started to notice muscles on my arms and although my bum, thighs and hips still had curves, I learned I could accept you that way. You were healthy, you were toned. You were getting better.
But then, I made the big move to Australia at 21 and while I maintained you reasonably for three years of uni, I wasn’t exercising as much. You put on weight steadily in the worst areas as always. Me being a bit depressed after completing my masters didn’t help you as I stuffed you with the unhealthiest foods ever. Once again, I got back up to 60 kilos. I lost a little bit of weight in 2009 and then, in 2010 when mum had her bypass surgery, I decided it was high time I treat you with love.
I signed up to a gym and managed to lose about two kilos but I was still very unhappy with you. Somehow, even though I was exercising, I kept feeding you the wrong things. It took a relationship break up and poor physical health in 2012 to kickstart a big change in just me. Part of the change was to see you get better but also see my personality change. With 12WBT at the time, I managed to lose 6 kilos in the 12 weeks and I started to notice how much better you looked.
I actually liked seeing you in the mirror. You kept me motivated and I continued to nourish you with good food in 2013 and loved looking at you. I was happy. You were healthy, you were toned, you gave me confidence.
Sadly though, dear body, I have reverted to my bad habits in 2015 and seen the change in you. You’ve become bigger with lumps and bumps and I must say, I hate looking at you. Even though I exercise, I guess what I feed you does you more harm than the good exercise can do. And I hate that. Call me vain but I want you to go back to the flat stomach with somewhat defined abs. I want to go back to smaller thighs and hips. I want to go back to a slimmer face which now looks rounder and saggier in some parts.
I am deeply unhappy with you, dear body. While I am not overweight, I have seen you at your best and it saddens me to see you deteriorate. Everywhere I look, I read about body positivity. But you know what? I can’t seem to feel positive about you. It’s a damn shame because here I am counselling others about eating disorders and body image issues. Deep down, I have similar issues about you, body. The older I get, the harder it is for you to shed the kilos and the centimetres.
I looked at you in your naked glory just yesterday. And I burst into tears.
Yes, I want to accept you. But I also want you to be healthy. I want you to be nourished with good food instead of junk. I want you to be toned.
I need to therefore, make a promise to you that I will do my best to feed you with healthy foods. I will attempt to have better self-control with what I put into you. I will cut down the junk, the processed sugars, the fatty foods — because after all, knowing my family health history, all I am doing is destroying you.
I need you to be strong for a lot longer in my life. So yes, I have to look after you.
Until next time,