I have put on weight. I know it's not the end of the world but in a society and industry where visuals matter I feel the pressure like so many others in my field. Weight shouldn't matter, it is purely numbers on a scale but still it niggles at me everyday that I have never hit my 'goal weight'. I weigh myself once, maybe twice a year. Only if curiosity gets the better of me when I'm in my mum or brothers bathroom as they are the only people I know with scales. But I think about my weight every day. Ok maybe not just my weight, but my body fat percentage, muscle mass, bone density, excess skin contribution, water retention levels...that kind of thinking is not healthy and I'm working on it. It's just so much harder than I thought it ever would be when I decided to lose weight.
To catch newbies up at 22 I weighed 17stone 10lbs, thats 248lbs, nearly an eighth of a ton. Eating made me feel like I was keeping up societies image of me, giving me a place - The Fat Funny Girl. At school I made you laugh so me eating a fried chicken box meal for two on my way home for dinner, eating whatever my mum cooked for dinner, then having a couple of bags of crisps as a late night snack was a-ok. But it wasn't. I tried being a vegetarian but that just meant lots of chips. At 18 I would eat takeaways almost daily but with the amount of uni partying I was doing it wouldn't stay in my stomach for long. Be that down to downing a bottle of peach schnappes for pre drinks or popping a straw down my gullet at the end of the night. My relationship with food in my teens and into my early twenties was quite brutally a love/hate one.
But I was only mildly content. I have never been slim, in fact at that point I was the smallest I had ever been since I was about 12 and in my mind by my goal weight I would be this lean, toned leggy thing but in fact I was covered in stretch marks and lots of saggy, jiggly bits. But as an overall I was happy. I wore what I wanted and ate what I wanted in reason.
Then my life took off. My career kicked in which I love and am eternally grateful for and as new opportunities came into my life, my routine went out the window. I ate what I could when I could. Not in a pigging out way in a I've just done a 12 hour shoot and all I have time for is this tray of Tesco sushi that's been in my bag since 7am. I still went to the gym, but only once maybe twice every seven to 10 days if I had the time and energy. I would rather not eat than eat something 'bad'. But as I was living my dream and my weight/image wasn't hindering me but being celebrated I ploughed on.
Then in swooped wedding season 2017. And it has hit me all over again. The feeling of having to fulfil the image of the funny fat girl. I'm off on two overseas hen dos and have weddings at home in my 'past life' which always gives me anxiety. These wonderful women are hitting Slimming World like bosses and my greatest fear is that I am going to be the fat bridesmaid. I asked one of my fellow bridesmaids how she had shifted nearly 2 stone in as many months and she simply replied 'I've got my eyes on the prize'. She is getting her pre baby body back. She knows where she is heading. I don't. A stone lighter than I am now doesn't look like the image I held in my head and even after dropping 5 dress sizes I am now viewed as the funny 'big' girl. My height and broadness I cannot change. So I have hit a wall and hit it hard.
(Side note: it doesn't help that I start dating guys who like my personality work ethic and drive but who then commit to the 5'6 white brunette girl who works in retail. I hate feeling like I am an experiment or phase.)
I look in the mirror and don't hate what I see. In the right outfit (which most are as I've finally learnt to dress myself) I quite like myself. But in my undies, in crowds, I have started to feel like I take up too much space. And that is not a feeling I have had in nearly 6 years. It is not a feeling that is welcome in my wonderful, gorgeous life now. I am trying to fix it. I make the most incredible prep meals from scratch - no packet or jar sauces - and tons of veg, I walk as much as I can and I gym 2/3 times a week. But my mind does not match what I see.
There is a wonderful body positivity movement on social media encouraging women to love the body that they have which is great but it is a lot of pressure. Because right now I don't love my, which makes me feeling like not only am I looking after my body well enough to match the body I want but I am not grateful for the body that I have. I am beyond grateful for the body that I have it allows me to live my love fuelled, adventure filled life. It just doesn't look like ANY of the bodies I see on Instagram. Not a-one!
For those who have read my posts before you'll feel that this vibe is different. Its not my usual 'here's a hurdle I have over come' or 'here's something I'm going to achieve' because I haven't overcome this feeling of visual inadequacy and I don't know how. So this is the start of a story rather than the end and I have no plan to fix it. I thought about joining weight loss groups like my pals but my sporadic routine and travel schedule leaves little room for consistency and my fear that even if I do shift a stone or two I will still feel like I don't look like society thinks I should.
I have to remind myself that it's ok not to know the answers or have a plan and that I am so fortunate to live the life I do with a healthy body and the freedom to live the life I chose. I just know I need to work on myself both physically and mentally because I have not worked this hard for this long to let numbers on a scale, dress or tape measure make me feel inadequate when I have achieved so much.
From what seemed like out of no where I had my first panic attack of 2017 this weekend. My life has been incredible this year and only a week ago I was exclaiming how happy was that I thought I was over these insercurity driven, chest pounding, tear inducing turns.
I was at my best mates pre-hen do meet up. Chilling out with awesome women I knew and getting to know ones I didn't, to prep a lively weekend in Benidorm. But as they arrived my legs started to go weak, my vision blurred and my chest started to pound. My bestie took me off as she could see it coming. In her spare room I broke down. It was the first week of the year I hadn't had an audition or job, I had discussed my exes far too much and the girls were all celebrating their slimmingworld successes when I haven't step foot into the gym for over a week. I felt like a really rubbish useless female - that this giant, single, sporadically employed, outsider shouldn't be there.
I knew it was all just noise. Just nonsense. I have had one great job after the other this year. I am surrounded by people who love me and I am beyond excited to be a wifey when he comes whenever that maybe. My diet is spot on and I've taken to walking everywhere I can to up the heart rate. I am living my dream. Yet this little demon likes to pop up whenever I go down south to 'home'.
With that in mind I need to up my defences as from early April all through May I will be down south a lot for wedding season and want to be able to enjoy it - not let the past me come and ruin such a joyful time.
So today begins the Mind/Body/Soul challenge.
Every day for the next 28 days I will ensure I do something that enriches my mind, body and soul. From reading a new book, getting my butt to a circuits class, finding a new empowering meditation, I will encourage myself to remind myself that I am doing just fine!
After 28 days it will become habit. That I will always find the time to mellow my mind and respect my body. Not keep painfully comparing myself to those who are so wildly different. I am challenging myself to create a strong, happier me because I'm already on my way I just need a little boost once in a while.
Come join me and check out my progress on Instagram @LaurenDouglin