This weekend I am celebrating my 30th birthday. It’s time to bid farewell to my 20’s and enter a brand new chapter of my life!
*reaches for the vodka*
In all seriousness I’ve actually really been looking forward to turning 30. I’m a sucker for new beginnings, making future plans and setting goals, and turning 30 felt like a time to yet again do that. So over the past few weeks I’ve been making a list of what I feel like I need to achieve over the next year as I descend – or should I say ascend – into life as a 30-something woman.
But after making a list of all the things I thought I needed, I realised that these weren’t things that I actually needed, but things I wanted. And after some unplanned soul searching with my girlfriends, I’ve figured out the one thing I NEED more than anything else as I start this new chapter called 30…
I’ve literally just returned from a trip to Wales where I spent two days chilling out (maxin’ relaxin’ all cool?) with two of my friends. The sole reason for the trip was purely to catch up, chat, drink, be lazy – you get the idea. Yet our mini-break took an unusual turn and soon turned into an unplanned week of wellness & girl power complete with motivational speeches and everything!
You see, whilst swimming on Tuesday, the three of us decided to hit the sauna. We not so glamorously clambered out the pool and quickly scurried over to the Sauna, our arms and hands trying to cover the bits of our bodies we felt uncomfortable exposing to all the other swimmers. Once in the sauna, lying on the hot wood, we each
complained opened up about parts of our bodies we didn’t like and struggle to love; our thighs, our arms, our tummies, even our necks and collar bones (yup mine). And of course when one of us would reveal this information, the other two would be in shock at how they could even think that! “What are you talking about? I’d kill for your arms.”
I was shocked. How could three successful and talented women (and yes I’m talking about myself there, we are allowed to toot our own horns) have such low opinions of our bodies?? It’s disgusting!
Don’t worry, it wasn’t all doom & gloom, there are obviously things we like about ourselves, but it seems that each of us has battled some sort of personal body issue and although we may like other parts of ourselves, we let the few things we don’t like really get us down. Each of us either currently or at some point has felt sad, depressed, and lacked body confidence because our legs, or boobs, or whatever it is we don’t like, don’t match those of the women we see on TV, in magazines or even on Twitter and Instagram. Wtf!?
I can’t speak on behalf of my friends, but over the past two years I have been on a fitness journey with more bumps, twists and turns than a dodgy fairground ride. After returning from a backpacking trip in 2014 a very toned size 8, I quickly began to pile on the pounds and within eight months I had upped my dress size from an 8 to 12/14. I had NEVER been a size 14 and for some reason I felt disgusting when I realised I was – like absolutely disgusted. Especially when some very unflattering pictures were posted of me on Facebook in January last year and all I could think about was what other people would think of my new bigger size. How have I let this happen?? I would ask myself. I started hating every bit of fat on my body. If it wobbled, I hated it. If I could grab it, I hated it!
Since then I’ve been in a constant battle of love and hate with my own body. I spend 50% of my time convincing myself that I’m okay being bigger, and that I should embrace it like so many other people I admire do (there is a list below!) But then I spend the other 50% of my time putting myself down, trying to diet, sometimes eating nothing but two bowls of weetabix a day, and comparing my body to the bodies of super toned, super skinny girls on Instagram, posing in the gym wearing tight leggings, a crop top and zero body fat. And I’ll tell myself repeatedly You need to look like that!
But here’s the thing – I don’t.
I don’t need to be like those girls, don’t get me wrong, those girls are beautiful, they look absolutely incredible and they clearly work hard for those bodies. But they aren’t me, and I feel like I’m finally realising that I don’t need to be like anybody but myself.
I love to exercise and one good thing that has come from my weight gain, which I’m sure you may have all noticed, is my love for Running. That I won’t be stopping, and exercising and running is most certainly responsible for the improvement in my mental health (more on that in another post). But one thing I will no longer force myself to do is Diet. I like healthy foods, give me buckets of avocado and pumpkin seeds and I’ll scoff the whole lot. But I also love Chocolate, Pizza and cake (not necessarily in that order). So as I go into my 30’s I have decided to stop denying myself the foods I want because I’m counting calories. Want a glass of wine? I’m going to have one. Craving a Toblerone. I’m going to f***ing eat one!
As my friends and I showered each other with compliments in the Sauna in order to boost each other’s confidence, we realised how much easier it would be if we could see ourselves through the eyes of our loved ones. When we look at our friends, family, partners, we don’t see fat or thin. We see something we love! And that’s how I’m going to try and look at myself from now on. I’m going to embrace the parts of me that I used to hate. So what if my bum is three times bigger than it used to be? It’s sexy! BABY GOT BACK! And so what if I have a pot belly? I’m proud of that Pot Belly, it’s my eat-my-way-around-the-world Trophy!
I need to not only accept my body, but embrace it and love it. All my scars, all my freckles, all my moles, every lump and bump and curve, every single wobbly bit; their all part of me! My 30 year old Body tells the story of my 20’s and it’s one hell of a story!
So as a 30th candle gets added to my birthday cake this weekend (that’s a full fat Victoria Sponge cake might I add, with plenty of jam, cream and icing!) there is only one thing, one aim, one goal that I actually NEED to achieve in this new chapter of my life and that is to LOVE MY BODY! A special Thanks to my friends for helping me to realise this, and to the vloggers, bloggers and instagrammers who have inspired me.
Want a little help loving your body and boosting your confidence? Here are three beautiful women who inspired me to Love my body the way it is:
Megan of bodyposipanda.com