Goodbye Ana

I wanna chat about weight. 
I wanna talk about how I'm embracing my new mum body and being proud of all that my body has achieved. 
I wanna look in the mirror and smile, seeing strength and beauty.

But I can't.

I'm so fearful of giving my children problems with food and body image. Through high school, being a skinny size 8-10, I hated the way I looked. I would go on pro-anorexia websites and copy list after list of tips and tricks to avoid eating. I would make myself sick after dinner times and drink 4 glasses of water to make myself feel nauseous so that I didn't feel tempted to snack. I would write down all the things I hated about my body and read it over and over, ensuring that I wasn't tempted to make it worse by eating anything else. I constantly fluctuated between starving myself and then bingeing. I was an absolute mess.

I'm over the practicalities of my eating disorder, but my body problems and constant need to lose weight are still at the forefront of my mind. 3 children in 4 years has really taken it's toll and I'm now firmly in the overweight category. Earlier this year, 3 weeks after having my 3rd baby, I fell into the obese category by 1kg and I hit rock bottom mentally. I made jokes with friends, and I managed to get on a dieting course for free because of it (which includes a free gym membership - bonus!) but internally I'm struggling. I can feel ANA rearing its ugly head again.

My daily routine includes a list of all the things I ate that day and then a diary entry firmly telling myself off. It's embarrassing to write about it. I'll write a list of things I'm going to do differently and then try to stick to it, but exhaustion, stress and an un-achievable task list leave me ending each day having failed. No joke, one day I had set myself a task to do 6 exercise activities - 6!

Something needs to change before my kids catch hold of this.

I'm burning my notebooks. That behaviour isn't healthy and it needs to go. I'm destroying every weight loss book I've ever made and list of ridiculous rules I've created for myself. What example am I setting my children?

I need to start loving myself, and that means going easy on myself a little.

I'm still classed as unhealthy. I'm still classed as over weight, but I'm not going to do this anymore. I'm so tired of battling myself. I'm so tired of waking each morning just thinking about what I hate about myself, and ending each evening with a list of things that I did wrong. I just want to love myself again. 

I still have body goals for myself, but they're structured around things that I can do rather than things I want to stop doing. I want to be able to climb trees with my kids, and kick a football around without having to stop from tiredness. I want to relearn how to do a handstand so that I can practise with my daughter. I want to do exercise classes because I love them, not because I'm only thinking about weightloss. When I'm old and on my death bed am I going to look back and think, "gee, I'm really pleased I looked good in a swimsuit", or am I going to look at the time I spent with people and the community I built? 

A new era has begun in my life where I'm totally going to stop thinking about my weight. It's not going to be on my new years resolutions list and it's not going to be something I talk about. I'm not going to beat myself up anymore for being 'ill-disciplined' and I'm not going to make plans that are focused around body image. I'm simply going to start enjoying life again and all that it has to offer. 

Maybe one day I'll need to approach weight loss again, but when I do I want it to be from a place of understanding who I am. For years I've hated everything about myself. This season needs to be a season of simply loving Hollie.


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