Yesterday I started my health kick. I should explain, this was in no way prompted by the men who were so rude to me the other day, but it was prompted by my reaction to it.
The truth is, if I didn’t consider it an issue myself, I wouldn’t have been so upset and hurt. Weight is something I’ve struggled with for many years. Even as a child I was never confident about the way I looked. In high school I was bullied by my friends, made to feel like an outcast from a social group I’d known from primary school. I started to take advantage of the freedom of walking to school to buy sweets from the local shops. One friend casually remarked one day that I was ‘always eating’. At a party when I must have been around 13 I remember two of the girls we hung round with (definitely not friends) holding my plate above my head and laughing at me. Even then I think I used food to cheer me up.
In high school I never thought I was attractive – looking back at photos now from sixth form I can see that wasn’t the case! I was curvy but slim, and finally when I joined a local youth orchestra I became more confident and my bubbly personality started coming through – and with this I started to get attention from boys. Nowadays I’m ashamed to keep up contact with my friends from school as I don’t want to see their shocked faces when they see how much I’ve changed.
It all changed when I went to uni. It wasn’t the experience I had hoped for, I found the lack of structure to my days difficult to deal with and would spend hours in bed watching tv and eating takeaways instead of going out, meeting new people and enjoying myself. I know this word is overused, but I think I was depressed. Inevitably, the weight piled on, and at the end of the three years at my graduation I was almost unrecognisable.
During my PGCE I was so busy and really threw myself into everything that the weight started falling off. I was happy and confident again, and felt great.
Now, 5 years into teaching, my weight is still too high. I’m beginning to notice that I’m tired a lot, and when I go out to a social event I feel anxious that people will judge me for my appearance, that I’m not wearing the right things. The worst thing is when I think I look good before I leave the house, then I compare myself to everyone there and feel hollow in the pit of my stomach. Or I catch a photo of the night – and I just think how disgusting I look.
So yesterday was a good day. I felt more in control as I’d decided what I was going to eat for the whole week the day before. I made a healthy lunch and tea, and it was all delicious.
It will be a long time I think until I feel like my old self again – any advice on how to keep this going long-term?