• Alex Bovell

Our Weight - A number

Updated: Apr 3, 2019

I've been speaking to a few friends lately about this fragile concept of weight and how over the past few months I’ve gained healthy much needed weight. It may sound silly and I know I’m not ‘fat’, although J.K. Rowling makes an amazing point…

“Fat” is usually the first insult a girl throws at another girl when she wants to hurt her. I mean, is ‘fat’ really the worst thing a human being can be? Is ‘fat’ worse than ‘vindictive’, ‘jealous’, ‘shallow’, ‘vain’, ‘boring’ or ‘cruel’? Not to me.

However, this is a new body for me and I have to get used to it. I have curves, lumps and bumps in places I’ve never had them before and I have so many clothes that once fit but don’t anymore and probably never will again. I’m changing and although I’m working towards optimal health, it’s still difficult to accept a completely new body to one you once had. As women, our bodies constantly fluctuate day-to-day and we’re continually changing shapes and sizes which is why I wanted to talk about this topic and express my thoughts and feelings.

Health isn’t reflected through physical appearance. We have no idea who is healthy just by looking at their body shape. At my thinnest I was miserable. I destroyed my body for a peace of mind that I never got. In fact, at my thinnest I was the unhappiest I have ever been in my entire life but that’s a whole other story. Bottom line is our aesthetics don’t bring internal lasting happiness, although social media posts may portray they do (another discussion, for another day).

We can see someone and infer they have a great life, yet no one will ever have any idea what goes on internally for someone. From the outside, personally, I looked thin and happy but I was slowly breaking down inside. The damage we do to our bodies and minds in order to fit into our societies ideas of beauty is terrible and can have long lasting effects. Years later, I am still dealing with hormonal issues that are affecting me now. My weight is fine, yet the body takes a long time to balance back out from what we put it through when we diet and mess with our natural eating habits. That’s just the physical stuff, the mental effects take even longer to address and sort out. Just think how you talk to your own body? Would you EVER say that to your sister or friend? Would you ever judge their appearance the way you criticise your own? Unfortunately, our bodies will never be good enough to us, until they are already. Confusing I know, but just think how often you admire all these different women and attempt to manipulate your own body to look like theirs. I don’t even know what I want to look like half the time! Someone is always going to be “prettier” than you, it’s an uphill battle we’ll never win unless we accept ourselves now, imperfectly perfect. What’s especially scary is when we start letting our self-worth be defined by what strangers think of us.

We are a superficial society, we place enormous worth on physical appearance and sadly eating disorders are now the 3rd most common chronic illness in young women. Mirrors are just glass, yet we look towards them for security, comfort and meaning in our lives. We let that mirror dictate our mood, our happiness. The Dove Global Beauty and Confidence Report found over 89% of women cancel plans and engagements because of how they look. If only our eyes saw souls instead of bodies, how very different our ideas of beauty would be. How different would our opinions of others be? I am consciously working towards not placing so much pressure on myself, not trying to fit into this “image” of perfection because it’s just that an “image” and it doesn’t provide happiness, memories, love and joy. The image is a lie, always artificially constructed and edited. The curves we have as women that are shunned upon are beautiful. They help us create such amazing things like a child!? That’s fucking awesome! Why do we harm our bodies so much, why don’t we celebrate them??

We don’t just decide to simply hate their bodies, our society teaches us too. We turn unnaturally thin women into goddesses, idolizing their pain and consequently, girls do unnatural things to reach this image. Our culture celebrates a standard of beauty that cannot be obtained through being healthy and so the negative cycle, the destructive patterns of eating begin.

At the end of the day, something I continually remind myself of is no one remembers what size jeans you wore or how good your makeup was. They remember the memories you shared together and it makes me so sad that I wasted so long caring about my physical appearance so bloody much and not enjoying each precious fleeting moment I found myself in.

I’m not saying go smash the junk food and never exercise, balance your life so that you can enjoy healthy food and exercise but also have a day where you might lie in bed watching how I met your mother or friends re-runs with a packet of Doritos and salsa. We’ve complicated basic instincts with eating all in an attempt to fit “beauty” standards.

Yet, like Ellen DeGeneres says, “to me, beauty is about being comfortable in your own skin. It’s about knowing and accepting who you are”