My daughter took this photo of me yesterday at the opticians and I was horrified. She’d sent it out on Instagram.
Don’t get me wrong, I know I’m no Barbie, Elle McPherson, or any of the other images of perfection the media tell me I could be. If I swallowed all the weight loss diet clichés the advertising industry fed to me (pun intended), I could supposedly look perfect. Not only would I be a size 8, I’d also have flawless skin, salon-finished hair, a perfect family, and silky-smooth legs. Which -as one friend quite regularly publicises – is not really me:
So what is me? Well plainly, it is the above photo, much as I hate to admit it. This is how I look, to most people, most of the time – minus the weird facial decoration, obviously, although now I think of it, an appointment with the electrolysis lady is long overdue… However, I also look like this:
Weight loss diet clichés are not normal
All of these pictures were taken in the last year. In all of them I weigh more or less the same as I do today. The same as I did yesterday, when my cheeky child shared an unflattering image of me with the world. I am middle-aged. I am a writer. I am an award-winner. I am successful in my work. I am a mother. I am a normal woman, with a normal weight. I like to drink wine, eat good food, and laugh with friends. Sometimes I look good to myself in the mirror. Sometimes I look bloody awful. All of this is normal.
So is it time I stopped worrying about my weight? Is it time to accept that all that, up there, is what I am? What I always have been (if you don’t count that year at University after my first love dumped me and I briefly looked like Keira Knightly – *sigh*), and who I always will be, assuming I have health, enough money for wine and roast pork, and friends with whom to enjoy them?
I hereby resolve – today, this evening – to stop mithering over those women in adverts, whose swishy dresses skim hips achieved through hours of misery and deprivation. My kids need me healthy for at least 15 more years. I plan to achieve that by eating good food, home cooked food, slow food, with my family, and consuming good wine at the weekends. I plan to teach my daughter to love her blossoming body, to take care of it with good fuel, good energy, and good friends. I want to let my son know that a curvy woman is probably more fun than Keira Knightly, as long as she respects her body, enjoys the fruit of nature and keeps treats for treats.
By the way, my husband makes a mean Mojito, and I didn’t feel the slightest bit guilty when I drank one tonight. Followed by another 😉
I’m linking this to Mummy Barrow’s Ranty Friday this week, because – let’s face it – this is an issue that affects lots of people!