Yikes, prepare yourselves for another deep one.
I tried a top on the other day that I’d ordered from ASOS. Our bedroom doesn’t have a mirror and so, when I try on clothes in there, I have to then walk the two steps into our bathroom to go and see what the clothes look like on. In those two steps, a lot goes through my brain. I remember how this top looked on the 5″8, size 8 model. I remember how much I loved it on her. I’m expecting it to look this good on me. I then step into the bathroom, turn around and look in the mirror to see myself. And, I’m disappointed. Because, the thing is, I’m not a 5″8, size 8 model. I’m 5″3 and I’m a size 12. I have big hips and a bit of a wobbly belly. And this top clings to my chubby hips and showcases the flabby bits that I don’t want anyone to see and then I’m gutted that this top hasn’t made me look like the model. But of course it wouldn’t make me look like the model. It’s not a magic top. It’s just a regular bit of fabric. The truth of the matter is that I’m not thin and I can’t disguise that.
Throughout my teens and my tweens, I’d always been pretty thin. Because of my body shape I had always had larger thighs than most people and also I’ve always had quite big boobs (which I don’t hate, thanks mum!) so I’ve never been a size 6 but for my late teens I was always a size 10 with a flat belly, always comfortable in a bikini and crop tops. When I hit 19, I noticed my metabolism starting to slow down. I’d just started uni and so I was also drinking a lot more than I used to when I lived at home. I used to come back in from nights at the pub and just put a Co-Op Mac’n’Cheese ready meal in the microwave because, well, it was late, I was pissed and it was easy. And, somewhere along the way, I gained weight. I went from being a size 10 to a size 10/12 and now I’m a comfortable size 12.
And honestly, I haven’t been dealing with it too well.
All the bloggers, vloggers and influencers I follow on Instagram are beautiful, skinny, blonde, tanned model-worthy girls. They seem to wear clothes so effortlessly. None of them have double chins or cellulite. They’re all sat on beaches in skimpy bikinis with their hair perfectly done and their legs perfectly waxed. And then there’s me. I’m dumpy, a little tubby and can never get a photo where I don’t have more than one chin (even when Kaye or Mollie take them!). I was petrified for my holiday this year because I didn’t want to be seen around the pool in a swimming costume where jeans can’t hide my cellulite. At one point I even thought to myself ‘I can’t be a successful blogger if I’m not skinny.’
But a few weeks ago I had a moment or realisation. I bought a new swimming costume last week and tried it on. And I really liked it. Even though I’m not a size 10 anymore with a lovely flat stomach, I liked the way I looked in that one-piece. (It was from Esprit, by the way). I’m healthy. I eat my 5 a day. I don’t binge on food. I don’t hold myself back from eating when I’m hungry. I don’t have any health issues. I probably should eat less chocolate and less cheese but it’s not an immediate risk to my health and it makes me happy. I love cooking. I love baking.
As long as I’m healthy, why should it matter what you look like? My mum has always been a bigger lady (sorry mum, if you’re reading this) and my dad’s no slim jim either. My brother is completely skinny but I think he’s a fluke (and that’s probably because none of his meals ever stay in his stomach because he’s 18 and is constantly out drinking – and subsequently throwing up). It’s in my genes to be a bit bigger. Dieting and restricting what I eat would make me really, really unhappy. My mum always says she’d rather be fat and happy than thin and miserable and I agree with her – not that I think I’m fat at all.