Friday, 5 January 2018

YOU ARE ENOUGH


The other day Ava and I were discussing something and I made an offhand remark about somebody being on a diet. Her reaction took me by surprise. She looked up at me with genuine interest and said, "Mummy, what's a diet?"

 I couldn't have been happier. Although I found it a bit unusual that at the age of 6, she had no idea what the word diet meant. Those of you who have been following my blog for a while may remember my post on the day a three year old boy broke my heart. After that rather upsetting incident, I swore to myself that I wouldn't ever expose Ava to the constant fat fears, size zero desires and insistent pressure put upon women these days to fit into some kind of idealistic size zero aesthetic. I threw away my bathroom scales and I haven't weighed myself in front of her since. I never use the word fat in front of her because I don't think it has kind or positive connotations and I encourage her to have a healthy attitude towards food that focuses on balance. It seems to be working.

I'm asked constantly online how I maintain a size ten dress size given how much I am always cooking, eating and Instagram Story'ing my snacking. People constantly question why I'm 'not huge' given my insane love of all things edible. But hey guess what? I'm not exactly a size zero either guys. I'm slim but by no means skinny, I hate my thighs and have a bit of a tummy. And I most certainly have an arse you can more than grab onto.

I hate low fat products and think they are a contradiction in terms. I use proper butter, would rather pour skimmed milk down the sink than put it in my coffee and I always keep double cream in the fridge for those 'shit what am I gonna cook tonight' last minute risottos. I am a massive fan of the 'good fats' like oily fish, avocados and nuts and seeds. All things that are high in fat and calories. But good for you if you don't eat them in excess. I love salads and vegetables but just cannot get on board with fruit. I operate an 80/20 rule. I eat as healthily as I possibly can during the week (bank holidays and the few days before my period obviously excluded) and then have what I want at the weekend. And that means bacon for brunch, crisps while the Saturday night steaks are cooking and sticky toffee pudding after the Sunday dinner. If I fancy something sweet after my dinner during the week I will still have it. Usually a few squares of dark chocolate or a small bag of Ava's Haribo. I just save the really good stuff (like a family sized bar of galaxy or my body weight in cheese) till the weekend.

I'm also a big fan of the fasting diet and although I don't strictly adhere to the terms and conditions of the popular 5/2, I have adopted my own version. Two or three days a week I will eat only dinner. And it seems to work for me. Although I understand that there are many people who can't go without food for more than 12 hours without fear of stabbing someone, I just find this easy, natural and the right thing for my body. But it's not a diet, it's a lifestyle choice and an approach to eating that I have been practising for years. And that's why Ava doesn't know what a diet is.

Because diets don't work.

Back in 2015, I wrote that: 'the important features we need to succeed in this world are learned behaviours. They are discipline, education, determination, drive and positivity'. All things that I believe are needed in order to maintain a healthy relationship with anything. And it's those thought processes, towards everything, that I try to work on and establish with Ava every single day. 

Sometimes I think it would be very easy to allow myself to fall back into the insecure traps that haunted my twenties. Feeling big and desperately wanting to be a stone slimmer. Questioning whether I was capable enough to do my job or tormenting myself over why I wasn't good enough for someone I loved. Even now in my thirties, these negative though processes are still very tempting. To buy the scales and starve myself to finally get back into that body-con dress or to Photoshop the Instagram post of my legs that I thought made my calves look bigger.

But I can't do that.

Because just like I said in my last post.

My daughter's watching me. 

As long as Ava looks in the mirror and likes what she sees then I am doing my job right. And a million likes on Instagram or the best diet in the world is not going to achieve that. But a healthy attitude to life, an appreciation of your own self worth and the knowledge that even the girl in the magazine probably doesn't actually look like the girl in the magazine will.

I believe that this is what we need to be teaching our girls. That whether it's their attitude towards their bodies, boys or botox - that they are enough. 

And that they will always, always be enough. 

1 comment:

last year's girl said...

"My daughter's watching me." It sums it up. Your daughter. Everybody's daughters. And sons. There are so many reasons not to be dicks about ourselves, and our bodies, but stopping it being passed down to the next generation has to be the best one.

Happy new year my love, let's catch up soon and let's eat good things while we do so.

xx