By Faizah Alsagoff
I have spent the better half of my life struggling with weight, specifically the losing of it. I often find myself in the weight yo-yo, sliding up and down the scale since my early teens. I will admit that many conversations tend to be centered around weight or the association that lesser weight meant increased appeal. A common conversation at a long-awaited meeting of girlfriends will go,
“OMG you lost so much weight!”
This was awarded to the individual who appears to have dropped significant weight while the rest agree enthusiastically or with a little side glare. Rarely, however, that the conversations will be the opposite. There are hardly any congratulations awarded for weight gain. Disclaimer: I apologize if the article is slanted to the heavier and pluckier folks. I can be considered for the “I like big butts” song if you catch my drift. You will then maybe understand why I have never had the “pleasure” of being labeled skinny.
As a mother now, however, I irk at the thought of passing down the self-loathing I have accumulated for myself or that desperate feeling and want to be thinner. I try never to talk about weight or shape or size with my kids. Conversations do come up with kids as they often do, and I try to imbue acceptance for all shapes and sizes of themselves and the people around them.
Like many mothers (and I hope I am not alone this), I try to teach my children to be the best version of themselves, but I struggle to teach myself that same acceptance of my own body. Yes, I can blame media, beauty magazines, social media, inter-generational self-loathing and deprecation for all this. But despite having read, gathered, and discerned these thoughts of self-loathing come back with every glance of the mirror.
The disappointment in myself is not so much about the loss of weight (or lack thereof) but rather in the inability to accept me and my body that has changed drastically through the years. Clearly there is something wrong if I glance back at each decade of my life and somehow always 10kilos lighter (really?!) and yet I can remember vividly thinking how fat/ugly/disgusting I looked and felt back then.
So here now I stand on the cusp of my 40s (late 30s same difference!) and some things have got to change. I need to learn or maybe unleash the deep-rooted self-loathing and heal. Truth be told I have not quite got it figured out yet. I am still on my evolution of self-acceptance. There are still many days that I find myself pinching that little pouch under my belly button, wishing it isn’t there. You might say I don’t give myself enough credit and you are probably right. None of us do. We are way too hard on ourselves and set expectations on ourselves that are way to high. So as I continue to navigate through the battlefield that is my mind, I will stop, pause and smell the coffee.
To heal my body and mind through eating right & staying fit to be healthy (not skinny or thin).
To accept the curves, bumps, stretch marks & other battle scars that tell the story of where my body has been.
To find joy in the greys & the bumps and lumps.
To nurture the strength to love myself as it is today.