I’m not sure if anyone else saw but Meghan Trainor was on Sunrise this morning. As soon as she starting singing the song ‘Me too’ it put me in a good mood. I started singing and shaking my hips while Chloe laughed at me from her walker as I cooked breakfast. The song stuck in my head all morning..”I thank god every day, that I woke up feeling this way…if I was you, I’d want to be me too – want to be me too…”. After Chloe went down for her nap I rushed in to have a nice warm shower, still humming the song in my head.
Then I got to the bathroom and the song stopped like a record screeching on a record player. As I stood there looking at my post-baby body naked in the fogging mirror I said in my head ‘Fuck that, who the fuck would want to be me. I’m fucking gross’. The good mood came crashing down and I stepped in the shower sobbing in disappointment and disgust.
I have never had a good self image, I have always had a negative relationship with food since I was young and I never considered myself attractive due to my negative thoughts about my body. I still remember the first boy that called me fat, it was in year 7 and I was absolutely crushed. It actually literally crushed me, as I was walking to the car after school an older boy on a bike hit me as I was too busy sulking with my head down to notice him riding toward me. Guess I’m lucky it wasn’t a car.
From that point on I made some really ridiculous and dangerous decisions about my body and this was when my relationship with food turned scary. I remember the stupid ‘rules’ I made in my head;
- I wasn’t allowed to eat more than one other thing a day other than an apple
- I wasn’t allowed to eat in front of boys
- If I ate chocolate I have to throw it up immediately
- If I ate anything other than fruit or yogurt I had to throw it up
And of course I had to go and pretend to be a vegetarian for a few years (I say pretend as I was the worlds worst vegetarian – I didn’t like vegetables. I pretty much lived on yogurt and dried fruit for 4 years). Now I don’t think anyone every really knew all this about me as I wasn’t a skinny teenager. I was slender-ish but I have always carried a lot of weight around my hips and bottom and I have pretty broad shoulders and smaller boobs so I’m just not very well proportioned. I also remember a girl in early high school told me I couldn’t be anorexic as I wasn’t thin and still ate food. That of course only made it worse. Gosh, teenagers can be assholes.
Then came puberty – periods, hair growth, smelly armpits and other erm..smelly areas, pimples and sex hormones. I had already put my body through so much and now all this was happening – FML! I would tell myself daily that I was fat and that if I didn’t stop eating and getting fatter that no boys would ever like me. All of my friends were skinny and gorgeous, I always considered myself the fat ugly friend. As my skinny pretty friends got boyfriends and attention from boys I felt completely undesirable. When the first boy ever showed interest in me I was stoked, thus started my first young love! He and his mother, who was a councilor, knew what I was putting myself through and tried to help me as much as they could. They gave me so much support and encouragement when I had nobody else to confide in – I was too ashamed and scared to tell my parents and thought anyone else would think I was being a dramatic teenage girl as I wasn’t sickly thin or physically ill. I appreciate their support so much and will never forget them trying to help me through that difficult part of my life.
But the negative mind frame continued through my teens and into my early 20’s. I stopped forcing myself to throw up and started trying diets. Oh the many many diets! I tried them all – cabbage soup, shakes, blood type, body-trim (this is the first one I did and it is a high protein diet so this is also when I started eating meat again), Michelle Bridges, skinny teas, Paleo (before any of you caveman wannabes pipe up I know Paleo isn’t a diet – its a ‘way of life’ – I worked full time so I didn’t have enough hours in a day to maintain that ‘way of life’) – you name it I probably tried some form of it. Then of course the pills and powders. I think the worst I ever tried was Hydroxycut but before it was legalised in Aus- when I took it it still had some kind of endorphin in it that made it feel like you were having a heart attack while just sitting down and breathing. Nothing ever worked, I was still carrying around an extra 10 or so kg that I just couldn’t budge. Now you know I’m not about lying – I probably didn’t commit to these diets as well as I could have. I’m the kind of person that needs to see results fast – I’m totally impatient and if I don’t see change within a week or so I kind of give up and half ass it. Setting myself up to fail – I know!
I was always active during the diets but never consistently enough. I started to go to the gym pretty consistently and started just eating as clean and nutritionally as I could not too long before I left Port Hedland and moved to Perth. After moving to Perth I joined a fitness group and kept eating well, I was focused on clean eating and keeping my body active. I still wouldn’t say I was skinny but I was fit and I felt the best I had ever felt. I was still battling bad self image demons but I was still being as healthy as I could be and was loving myself a little more each day. When we decided to try for a baby I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t happening straight away (impatient Sami again) so I went to the doctor to get blood work done just to make sure I was a-ok to make the babies. Many tests and scans later they told me I had Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome. I guess this explained why I was having trouble getting pregnant and also why I struggled to loose that extra weight around my middle. It was kind of a relief to get answers, to know why after all these years of doing the right thing, blaming my decisions and believing I was letting my body down. It was my body letting me down.
I started taking a pre-diabetic prescribed for PCOS to help me ovulate more regularly so I had a better chance of conceiving. I continued eating right and exercising regularly and although I wasn’t loosing the extra weight on the scale I was feeling strong and fit. I ran a 12km marathon which is something I never thought I would ever do and I made it a goal to try the half marathon. Unfortunately, or fortunately, I got pregnant so that hasn’t happened.
Through blood tests early in my pregnancy they told me I also had a thyroid condition that may also contribute to my ability to loose weight and why it had taken so long to conceive. I said to myself that I would keep doing everything I was currently doing through out my pregnancy (within reason and nothing to hurt the baby of course) to keep healthy and try and maintain a healthy weight. To be completely honest I was absolutely terrified of putting on weight. But as my baby bump grew I just didn’t care about the number on the scale – I loved seeing my belly grow. I loved the thought of a little human growing inside me. I would deal with the extra weight later and just enjoyed seeing my tummy grow each day.
I didn’t put on a huge amount of weight during my pregnancy, I think only 20kg at the most. But I definitely let myself relax a little more than I think I should have. I stopped going to the gym at about 6 months and to be honest I was struggling to get there more than twice a week leading up to that point as my job was insane and some days I wasn’t making it home till after 7pm so I just didn’t have the energy. I wasn’t eating as well as I should have (damn cheese burger craving). But surprisingly after I gave birth it only took about 2 months to fit back into my pre-baby jeans. Granted this is more likely due to the fact I wasn’t eating at all, I suffered (and still do) with PND so I wouldn’t eat as often as I needed to.
But 8 months on and I’ve kind of gotten used to being a mother (not really, still winging it and lost AF most days) and have started eating again, but not eating the right things for my body and barely exercising at all and I’m probably 20kg above my pre-baby weight (I don’t like weighing myself so this conclusion is from how my body looks and feels and that I don’t fit into anything except work out pants and jeggings). The PND took its toll on my mental health, as it does, and I started punishing myself for thinking I was an inadequate mother by eating. It’s like my mind knew that with the struggle I’ve had with my weight it would be the ultimate punishment.
I have let myself go and I’m extremely unhappy with my body. The most unhappy I’ve ever been. I’m disappointed and angry. I don’t care about the stretch marks or saggy boobs. I appreciate what my body has been through with growing and birthing a child, I’m amazed at what it did. But I have treated it the worst it’s been treated. And I need to take responsibility and stop making excuses. I need to learn to love my body (not again as I never did) and treat it like a temple.
So I make this promise to myself – I will treat my body like it deserves. I will nourish it with clean whole foods, I will move it more and I will learn to love every bit of it. No more using food as punishment or for trying to feel more complete. And I promise not to go back to starving myself of the nutrients I need. I will get back to a place where I’m proud of my strength and fitness and I will run that half marathon. I never want my daughter to fight the same body demons as I have over the last 15 years, I will teach her to love herself and treat her body with respect. And please, if you see me at the Maccas drive through don’t hesitate to shame me! God knows I have no self control when it comes to those iced lattes and damn gravy fries!