As you may have read in this post I came into 2016 feeling so chilled out and worry free, I almost didn’t recognise myself and I’ve been cruising along thoroughly enjoying my new perspective on life.
Teeny little problem here: I think I may have been enjoying it a little too much. I’ve become so laid back, I’m pretty much horizontal, like laying down on the floor eating Wispa bites for breakfast– kind of horizontal. And it’s got me asking questions such as: “Who am I”? Who is this person who comes home in the afternoon and potters about the house, lighting enough candles to fill a football field, and eats toast for dinner because my care-free attitude means I no longer need to cook properly. Cooking is for people who care.
Who is this person who uses the word ‘potter’? And where have my abs gone? (They weren’t that good anyway.) Also, is that my belly I can feel wobbling when I walk?
It’s become a daily struggle, let me tell you.
I like to think I have a healthy and realistic view on my diet– most of the time– which basically means I tend to eat what I want. No, this does not mean I go to Maccy D’s every day for a quarter pounder with cheese meal, because that’s not actually what I want. However, what I do sometimes want is a meal replacement shake for breakfast– maybe even lunch. That’s right, if I want to drink breakfast instead of chewing it then I will. It’s convenient for me, it tastes good and it’s a lot better that me skipping breakfast altogether. In the eyes of some people, this is unacceptable behaviour, mainly because it’s seen as a fad diet but in actual fact, this is my lifestyle. And isn’t that what we are all searching for here? A consistent lifestyle? Having said that, I wouldn’t be sat here writing this post if my ‘consistent lifestyle’ was in actual fact, consistent.
I falter sometimes, I’m only human OK?
As a woman living in a time where social media plays a huge roll in my life, I feel all too well the pressure of looking and living a certain way and generally, I do okay-ish. But the cold has weather got me, it’s got me real good and all I can think about is big fluffy blankets, roaring fires and enough cheese and wine to feed the 5000. Ironically, I live with a personal trainer who has taught me exactly what I need to know to get my body looking Instagram-worthy. He also got me into lifting weights– and not women sized weights– weights that actually made me feel nervous before entering the gym and I felt strong, healthy and balanced.
That was before Winter set in, and as with any of my behavioural patterns, I fall in and out of training, of feeding my body the right foods, of actually giving a shit about any of it. I come from a family with a history of eating disorders so I guess it’s no surprise I often become inconsistent and end up loathing my own body. Like many girls, I too have experienced my own battles with an eating disorder and because of this, I know how we can often look back to our unrealistic body image and wish we looked that way once again. Unfortunately, if you have overcome an eating disorder, it’s very unlikely you are ever going to look that way again because you are no longer starving your body.
About 7 years ago, I was running as if I were training for the London marathon and I wasn’t fuelling my body for this at all. I learnt to focus all my energy on being skinny, on not eating, on running faster and for longer– I focused on all the wrong things and my personal life suffered because of it. My relationship fell apart and I struggled to focus at work– mentally and physically. At the time, I was yard manager at an equestrian centre so my job role not only meant I needed to do manual work, but I also worked in the office dealing with bookings and organising staff duties– so I needed to be on the ball. My body was hungry and in return it left me agitated at the smallest of things. The sad thing was, I knew exactly how difficult I was being; I’d grown up living with a bulimia sufferer and it’s really hard for the people around you to understand why you are being so self-consumed but unfortunately, you do not see this.
As I’ve gotten older, other things in life have become more important than whether I look skinny, or whether I leave the house looking the absolute best version of myself– of course Instagram will make it look as though this is not the case, because who puts bad images of themselves on a social platform which is purely for making your life look BEAUTIFUL?
Which leads me to something that really opened my eyes this week.
I’ve been looking in the mirror lately and I can’t see anything I’m particularly happy with and I know this is all down to my lifestyle. Or is it? (Spoiler alert: it really is but what I’m about to say made me feel 10 times better nonetheless.)
I was watching a blogger, who I’ve been following for a while, vlog about different skin care routines and makeup techniques over on YouTube. Not because this is the kind of thing that interests me– it really isn’t– but because I was checking out vlogging techniques and camera set up etc. And on one of the first tutorials she went through an every day makeup routine. Bear in mind my ‘routine’ consists of applying tinted moisturiser– which covers up jack shit– pencilling in my non-existent eyebrows and applying a bit of mascara. This takes me around 5-10 minutes depending on whether I’m also checking Facebook at the same time.
Her routine was a 20 minute plus video consisting of at least 3 products she uses solely for covering up dark circles under her eyes! She was absolutely flawless by the time she was done. No wonder I look like shit, I had no clue women applied this much makeup in the mornings. I mean, I know about make-up techniques– I studied media make-up at college and university– but that much effort for an ‘every day’ look is beyond me, especially as she looked really good to start with.
Is it bad that afterwards I was beaming like a Cheshire cat? That I was happy and very much relieved at the fact this girl is in her 20’s and feels the need to cover up all her flaws, yet I’m walking around every day with mine on show? I felt slightly smug if I’m honest and the next day I left the house without even applying my tinted moisturiser. Check me out.
The point I’m trying to (very slowly) make, is we all feel these insecurities at times– we all feel as though we need to lose a few pounds, to get in the gym more or to make healthier lifestyle choices, but feeling bad about it isn’t doing us any favours. Nor will depriving ourselves of all the things we love. I’m not writing this post to say, “That’s it, as of Monday, I’m making massive changes. I’m cutting out everything and I’ll only be eating green leaves”. I know if I did this, there’s a huge chance someone will find me passed out in Costa, suffering from a latte induced coma. I’m still going to be eating and drinking the things that make me happy, I’ll just be doing it less often than I have been throughout most of January.
I think this is the best way to look at it, don’t you think?