Tuesday, 13 January 2015

The lost years

I read something today that really hit home. It was an interview with a minor celebrity who had lost six stone in the public eye. She said the negative comments from internet trolls actually spurred her on to do it and keep at it, change her lifestyle as I have. Then she said that she was obese from the age of six and had lost all of her best years, as she didn't start losing it until her late 20s (like me).

This hit home today and I thought back over the years of how I struggled with my inner enemies. The feeling of self loathing which would often hold me back from doing things. Even small events like going swimming when I was on holiday at the age of 12. I even felt too self-conscious at that young age to get my body out into the public for fear of being judged by snooty French women (our family were French caravan holiday types).

I wallowed about this today until I started to look back at my profile pictures on Facebook. You know the annoying viral campaign to get everyone to post their first profile picture? Well mine is of me sitting on the side of a fountain laughing hysterically, during my first summer in Portugal (where I did three summers working as a barmaid) and minutes later I was pushed into the said fountain by my  lovely friends. As I clicked through the profile pictures of yesteryear, it occurred to me that yes, my face was fatter and my chin jigglier, but I was always smiling.

Going to Portugal and working behind a bar really boosted my confidence. I made incredible friends and was accepted for who I was. There are so many photos of me on nights out in lovely dresses having a good time. I was also always having moments of feeling utterly self conscious... I know I would spend ages deciding what to wear, especially to the beach. However, I had a bloody good time. Even though I was a good few sizes bigger when I worked in Portugal, I didn't really ever struggle to attract attention of the opposite sex. It perhaps wasn't always the right sort of attention, which is down to the fact I wasn't truly happy with myself. I didn't have the confidence to pursue anything longer term and a quick fling ensured I would not end up getting hurt. Well, so I thought.

I think in the end, when you hit 25 and events start to happen around you to make you realise life is pretty short. It's time to take charge and make your life even better.

I was tired of feeling self-conscious, bored of just wearing dresses - I wanted to feel good in jeans too! I also wanted to walk brazenly into the sea, feeling  confident and.not giving a damn what people think. And slowly but surely, I really don't give a damn what people think.

I am a self confessed gym bunny now. I still think I must look like a twat when I do my 30 seconds of intense, fast running but I don't care. Before I started at the gym, I was scared of looking like the fat girl with her tummy wobbling as she ran and big boobs giving her black eyes. Once you're in your zone you realise everyone else is too and they're too busy puffing and panting to care about the person next to them on the cross trainer.

So yes, my life could be very different if I had been a size ten throughout my teens and early twenties. I could be engaged or married with children, having found the one. I could be higher up the career ladder if I'd always had the confidence I have now. But you know what, I believe every battle you face in life happens for a reason. I'm just excited to know what will happen next, now I'm the happier, healthier, confident me.

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