Greetings from the middle of February! It has been such a s-l-o-w start to the year for myself – more times than often I have been lying in bed, with my phone stretched out on charge playing multiple, consecutive games of Cluedo… I plead guilty to the charge of laziness! Because of this state of lethargic melancholy, I have put on a little bit of chub around my… Well every area of my bod, to be frank. Above is me with the three reasons my weight has dramatically increased – Crazy Pedro’s, pizza and cheap bottles of white wine. Mmm.
For as long as I can remember, my relationship with food has been both an uphill struggle and a downward spiral. I personally have never been diagnosed with an eating disorder, but I definitely had the symptoms of one while I was in high school.
When I was younger, I was obsessed with eating a certain calorie count. Every day, I would have 2 flapjacks from the school dining hall (they were heaven on earth mind you) between 8 am – 4 pm, religiously. Once the bell rang and I was firmly back at home, my mom would still be at work meaning I could devour and gobble anything and everything in sight without anybody batting an eyelid. Bread, chocolate, cheese, ham slices and pickled onions scooped out of the jar by my meaty hands – you name it and it was in my mouth. Subsequently, because of this fasting/binging, my relationship with food was definitely on the rocks.
Fuelling my despicable food relationship was the fact that I worked in a kitchen. I worked in my local pub kitchen from the age of 14, first as a KP before moving up the ranks. This meant I was allowed to make gloriously, luxurious cheesecakes, snack on broken bits of peanut butter and chocolate tarts, make the weekly pilgrimage of shovelling a full-fat roast dinner every Sunday into my gut and, of course, eat leftover deep-fat-fried chunky chips to my heart’s content. And…BREATH.
So then: I was starving myself during the day at school, and once I stepped through the door of my home, I was gorging out and replenishing myself in a short burst of time. This would happen Mon-Thurs. I then would go straight to work from school/sixth form on a Friday evening and go back into town for a wild night out on the beers and stuff my face with takeaway ham and pineapple pizzas. I would then go to work in the kitchen all day Saturday, sometimes repeat the crazy night before, and then have a massive hungover Sunday lunch. Munching my heart out throughout the week.
I have been talking in retrospect. Fast forward to the modern day.
My relationship with food has dramatically changed. I no longer restrictive eat/binge when I come home from university. I no longer work in a kitchen environment (although my last job DID involve copious amounts of fried chicken and those dastardly deep-fat-fried chippies) and I no longer have the Friday/Saturday night binging on booze routine.
I am not attacking anybody for their food/lifestyle choices. I am just highlighting that these attributes are what contributed to my negative relationship with food/my overall wellbeing and body. Takeaway ham and pineapple stuffed crust pizza is still the bloody bees-knees – do not worry!
Since moving away from home and having to kick myself to take responsibility for my life, my relationship with food is no longer hovering in the red-zone. Do not get me wrong, I still love a KFC bargain bucket with two pots of gravy on a Saturday night, and sometimes when I have had a hard two hour day at university I just want to curl up in bed with a cuppa and a plate of cheesy fries. I now also adore cooking up a Quorn BBQ strip stir-fry storm with a bowl of fruit salad for afters. I have learned that everything is good in moderation. But cheesy fries are better, right?
So, even though my relationship with food has improved beyond dramatic compare, sometimes I still do look at myself in pictures, in the mirror, in general, and focus on the negatives. I am not back to square one but I am far from completing the spherical ceremony of total completion. To be frank, I do not ever think I will ever reach that ‘end goal’ of being utterly in awe of every part of my body. That is cool though, right?
I bang on about it a lot, but I have a short and stocky build. It is a common-known fact. I cannot randomly meet Hermione Granger on the street and beg and plead for her to lengthen my legs and torso and trim the sides of my thighs, in the same way, she shrunk her buckteeth. Reality says I am short and stocky, and to reality, I must adhere.
Because of my build and body type, I put weight on quicker than you can snap your fingers. Remember when people used to throw about the phrase “I smell chocolate and I put weight on”? Well, you are looking at the walking, talking, Dr Marten loving embodiment of that phrase. Luckily, there are swings and roundabouts – if I really put my mind to it, I can lose the weight I have put on almost as fast as it clunked onto the back of my thighs. That is something at least.
At the moment, it is definitely the former of piling on the weight as opposed to watching it flutter off into the distance. I have been spending a lot of time revising, writing and working from home or a coffee shop. I am very career driven a the moment and, because my focus is so strong on this subject, my energy naturally lacks in other areas. There is not a HUGE amount of movement to battle my love for food going on at the moment, so ultimately weight gain is invited into the mix.
Although my boobs are a lil’ smaller than usual, my butt is fuller, my thighs are a slightly more solid than I tend to prefer and lets not even talk about my waistline. It is really getting me down at the minute. But that is okay. Things can change. My short and stocky body can be booted into gear fast enough.
My goal is to be confident in my skin, especially in my underwear Not ‘beach body ready’ and my mind will not and can not occupy the ‘need to get my summer body sorted’ mentality. I am not fed up with me gaining a few extra pounds because I want to strut my stuff on a beach. I have gained them gleefully through enjoying food and enjoying work – a green zone food relationship. My skin is my skin every day of the damn year, and I would like to feel comfortable in it every single day. If that means taking an hour out of my day to go to the gym then so be it. If it means dramatically fake tanning, then I am down for that too.
From looking back on my food journey to how I am now, I can see I have definitely come on by leaps and bounds. Do not get me wrong – there are hundreds of things I would change about myself right now but, if I could go back and tell sixteen-year-old me how different things would be 5 years time… She would be a proud little egg.
Cia, Ells x