So I want to talk about body image. I can wholeheartedly put my hand up and say that this is something I struggle with on a daily basis. It’s hard not to. Everywhere you look there is someone telling you “Don’t eat that, you’ll gain weight” or “Eat this new, super-grain we’ve supposedly found that makes you instantly lose 30 pounds and look like Miranda Kerr!”. Okay, maybe the last one is a slight exaggeration but you get my point.
The pressure to conform to what society deems to be beautiful is immensely stressful, not to mention the fact that you are simultaneously trying to navigate your way through other aspects of your life which are definitely more important than whether your love handles poke out over your jeans.
My issues all started when I was younger. I’m half Asian, half English so there was never anyone who looked like me in the public eye. Not that I could relate to anyway. They were all very much skinnier, paler, leggier and more beautiful. There I was, this speccy-four-eyes, short, spotty 15 year-old whose child chub, it seemed, would never go. I also hated the colour of my skin because I felt like everything marketed; such as clothing, makeup etc was geared towards those with pale skin who had the option of becoming tanned by using creams and whatnot. I had no such option. I felt so self-conscious all the time; especially when my best friend was amazingly slim without even trying. I used to skip meals or eat before I went out with my friends which, when I look back, is silly. People need to eat.
I have tried literally every diet under the sun and they never work. Ever. You almost always end up putting the weight straight back on when you start eating like a normal person again and it’s frustrating, isn’t it? All that work for basically nothing?
I’m now 26 and I definitely still struggle. There was a time when I didn’t even touch chocolate or sweets. As an avid baker (shout-out to Mary Berry and my one, true love; my KitchenAid!), anyone you ask would be shocked to hear this about me. People at work call me ‘cake lady’.
If you’re struggling with any aspect of your body, I just want to say that I understand. Everyone always talks about how you should love yourself but nobody ever really talks about how difficult that actually is to do. What I gradually learnt and am still learning, was that I needed to surround myself with people that make me feel good. The ones that make me happy in myself. This is something I would heavily recommend. I learnt that some people are envious of the fact that I can be tanned all year round and not worry about it. You’d be amazed how often the things you hate about yourself are the things that people love.
I still worry about whether these jeans hide my love handles or why, no matter how hard I try to exercise my face (yes, people do that), these cheeks stay chubby! I’m slowly learning that there is so much in life that I missed out on because I let my inner, negative voice take hold and I don’t want to look back on life and think of all the things I didn’t experience just because of how I saw myself. If there is anything you might take away from reading this blog, I hope you at least take this.