Body Shaming

From as long as I can remember I have been aware of my body. It's strengths, its many weaknesses, how much space it occupied.

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I am twenty-six years old and a normal, healthy person. I go to the gym 3 times a week. I drink water. I eat pizza, burgers, sweets, crisps, chocolate. I also have salads, protein shakes, full fat milk and lots of chicken. I count calories (but not all the time) and weigh myself on the scales at least once a month, just to check. I am your average girl in her mid-twenties (Im clinging on to the mid bit until at least twenty-eight). Technically speaking I am the slim side of average but most of all, I am healthy.I fit comfortably within the BMI bracket given to me by the man across the desk in the GPS office the first time I went to the doctor to tell them that my body felt weird.

From as long as I can remember I have been aware of my body. It's strengths, its many weaknesses, how much space it occupied. From around the age of four, which is my earliest memory of looking at my sister and my cousin, who we spent a lot of time with, i've been comparing myself to them. Taller, thinner, better. Since then and even now I compare myself to everyone around me. I have waves of insecurity. If I don't go to the gym for a while or I know I've put on weight, the awareness becomes stronger. Right now I've been very sick and not been able to go to the gym for a few weeks, so I dont feel great but at the same time I know I was in goos shape pre-hospital. That feeling, that awareness, is always there though.

I've never starved myself for an exceptionally long time. For six months during college I ate just 500 calories and got down to a cool 84lb. Hitting exactly 6 stone was an aim at the time. I was miserable. I maintained it for a short while and then common sense knocked me and I started to eat more.

At my heaviest I was just shy of 140lb, over weight for my height (I'm very short, so 140lb is a lot for me and technically over weight) but struggling with my eating due to medication I was on making my constantly hungry. I was miserable then too. I could feel the amount of space I filled and compared myself to over petite girls who were like I am now, slim and full of energy.

I've binged and thrown up. I've binged and not thrown up. I've been sick, not just physically but I always come back to the middle.

What's important to remember is I was miserable at both ends of the scale, literally. I never won. I never will. Now I am happier, keeping track of my weight regularly reassures me that I haven't gone too far either way. If I get too light, I eat more. Too heavy and I limit my calories to  sensible amount for a few weeks or add in another gym session. I'll be amazed if I ever feel normal in my body and the space it occupies.

I don't know where it comes from. I know that several family members have been unhappy with their weight or commented on mine (or both) and I also know that children are cruel and say horrific things. But what I don't know is why at four years old I already felt that way. By eight I was aware of that feeling, by fifteen I was trying to fix it with the extremes mentioned above. By twenty-six I've come to the conclusion that I might always feel this way. So even though I've never been four or twenty stone, I've never been on deaths door from either extreme, this is something that has effected me for over twenty years. Sadly I'm not alone. There will be countless people reading this post who will nod which breaks my heart. There will be many more who will think that I shouldn't complain because I've never been exceptionally sick and well, you're probably right.

When it comes to "skinny" or "fat" shaming, however, both are equally harmful. Weather you're telling someone they're too much or not enough, it's all the same.

We're all real women.

There is absolutely no need to comment on anyones weight. We're all different and as long as we are healthy and happy there is no need to comment. Even a positive comment can do damage. In the past four months there have been four negative comments about my weight yet I'm healthy and in good shape. Who are we to judge anyone? It's none of our business. Its our own, what we feel happy with and no one else's.

I write this post now (or shall I say re-edit and re-write it from a draft) because there has been so much hate happening in our little community recently. I don't understand it, from either side. So no to body shaming and yes to positively and health and happiness. Please.


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