I’ve been thinking about how to write a post like this for a while. But every time I sit down to put pen to paper I freeze up and lose confidence.
Because it’s popular to blog and Instagram about Slimming World and losing weight. It’s also awesome to be overly passionate about the toxicity of weight loss and diet culture. But it’s not so easy to find the right words if you sit in the middle like me.
The simple fact is that I want to lose weight, but I don’t want to talk shit about my body along the way. There have been times in my life when I’ve hated my body. I’ve poked and prodded it and grabbed it wondering why it won’t like transform into some lithe Little Mix type figure that looks good in lace body suits.
But what happens when you hate something? You treat it like you don’t give a shit about it. You punish it, scold it and cover it up in shame.
And that’s what I’ve been doing to my body. And to be quite honest, I’m sick and tired of hating it. I want to love my body. After all, it has kept me going when my brain has wanted to give up.
My body protected me when I fell over as I learnt to walk, it endured with me as I put it through the carnage of my university years, it shook with me as my dad took his dying breath, it got me up a fucking mountain four-stone overweight last summer and one day it might even be a place where I’ll grow an actual real-life human being.
My body is a fucking miracle and I’m so sick and tired of hating it.
When I see people lambasting diet culture I can’t help but feel myself agreeing. The pressure put on women to be thin is disgraceful. Diet’s don’t really work. Our self-worth should not be tied to a number on a scale. I get all of that.
We should not shame women for being fat. We should not ask them when they are going on a diet, or question how much food they’re eating, or assume they don’t exercise.
And I don’t want to document my own weight loss and Slimming World journey to the detriment of all the amazing work women are doing to change the way society views diet culture.
But my god, I’ve been punishing my body with hate for far too long. And I’m fed up. My decision to embark on this health journey was because I want to love my body, not because I hate it. I want to purge it of the damage that’s been inflicted from years of binge eating and lethargy. It is the opposite of punishment, it’s nourishment.
This journey is about giving my body what it needs to work in the best, most effective way it can. To reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. To sleep better, enjoy exercise and eventually grow a child in the healthiest way possible.
So is it wrong to want to lose weight? I don’t think it is, if health is at the core of the decision.
This journey for me will be an intuitive one, and I’m really focused on being kind to myself along the way. I like the structure, accountability and community that come with Slimming World, that’s why I’ve chosen that eating plan. But I’d just as easily tried to do this alone.
I’ve let a lot of the anti-diet messaging I’ve seen over the last few days make me question if I’m doing the right thing.
But then I think about the pure joy I felt when I got to the top of that mountain four-stone overweight. How peaceful and serene it was and how much it helped my mental health. I wasn’t sure I’d actually make it and it was so hard on my body that I cried when I got to the top. But I realised the other day that I want find that same level of calm at the top of more mountains this year, and I want to do it without shedding tears of pain along the way.
So for me, it isn’t wrong to want to lose weight because it’s so much more than looking good for a picture or fitting into a skirt, and that’s what really matters.