Sunday, 29 December 2013

The festive season kicked in with Dim Sum in Berwick St. Soho. Champagne and crab salad followed at a friends in New Road, Lewes. Having dragged my seasonal hoard home from Aldi my feasting well and truly commenced. Bombay mix, chestnut stew, partridge & pears , roast potatoes, Harvey's christmas pudding, Delia's red cabbage and a cinnamon laced, red wine moussaka, bomber cheese & crackers in the flat with chocolates from Gloucester.....undo the buttons of my jeans...Baileys, gin, cava and lashings of red wine. My thighs have long since met in the middle as my midriff expands, chin becoming more generous. I look in the mirror and sigh a little. The Jadore woman in the perfume advert taunts me in shimmering gold.

And so the age old body image crisis kicks in. New year, new me. Slim back down to fit into clothes, the Fodmap diet, the 5:2 diet, running, punishing myself with the highly dubious weighing machine in the local boots. My automatic response is to find my new found curves and folds foul, something to be ashamed of but this year things are beginning to shift a little.

I spent years thin. Thinner than most, cold feet with no hip meat or thighs to mention. I looked good in  photos even though in reality I looked pasty and ill. The arse of a drug addict apparently and grey skin (sisters are great at telling you how it was). Being a size 6 did not lead to happiness although I could look good in a sack, and in all honesty I do miss that aspect of my starving younger self.  What I don't miss however is a crippling lack of appetite. I have very little willpower, my lithe looks were not a result of dieting, exercise or healthy eating but a feeling of general anxiety that made it impossible to eat very much at all.  Some days I could only eat a few grapes for lunch, eating out was a torture, food was a necessity and if I could simply have eaten a pill to sustain me I would have.

I no longer suffer from anxiety and with its demise came a hunger for food. A hunger that very much enjoys being satiated. I clear plates, savour tastes, I am now one of those women who likes her food!

And so in the New Year when I do my critical appraisal, I will be less harsh on myself. I will be honest. When I had gaps between my thighs and not much stomach, when my jeans hung off and my hip bones protruded I may have looked good in lycra but I was unhappy, my appetite and calories sapped by an internal raging of overthinking and unhelpful stress. And so although it is socially desirable to be thin , I'm happier and healthier in my skin.

And so what to do about not looking so good in clothes? Stop squeezing a round body into a square peg. I need to change my clothes, not my body. The High street make clothes for girls and this mother is about to call her tailor. But for now it's wine and cheese hour.

Happy New Year!