We all have our own insecurities, and our inner drama queens make them 938 times worse than they really are. Interestingly, I’ve found men can be just as bad if not worse than women at setting themselves impossible standards to live up to when it comes to body image. Im sure I’m not the first to discover this, but its often your supermodel friend, or that ripped guy pumping 100kg weights at the gym with his pinkie finger that have the lowest self esteem. And seriously, why is that?
When I was pregnant, I thought the world was going crazy. “You look AMAZING” people would say to me. And “Oh my god, have you like bolted on that belly?”. Guys, I was 20kg heavier than I was before I started, and I’m pretty sure 87% of that was in my ass. As hard as I tried, I was never one of those women who just loved being pregnant and couldn’t wait to do it again. You know the kind that study ‘calm birth’ and just BREATHE through labour pain as if it doesn’t feel like being decapitated with a blunt knife and simultaneously kicked in the vag with a stiletto heel. Ya. Not me. Hated it. The swollen feet, sore boobs and sweaty back, but more than anything else I was done looking like Alan out of ‘The Hangover’ movie (yep the beard too) and I wanted my body back.
So you can imagine my horror when the day after I had Henry I looked down at myself and not only did I still look pregnant, but now the hospital was claiming that there was no longer a baby in there causing it. Great. And now, I’ve got a tiny human relying on me to keep it alive – which as all you mums will know, doesnt exactly leave much time for Zumba Mondays. I have to admit, before I had Henry, I had never struggled with weight before. I would hit the gym every now and then for fun, and although I didn’t live on donuts or anything I could smash a few and still do up my pants. Then all of a sudden I popped out a kid and now I walk past an ice cream shop and put on 800 grams.
For the first year of Henry’s life I worked bloody hard. I went off sugar, exercised almost every day even if it meant squatting the baby, and I started eating green stuff. But even at my best, I realised that I was never going to look the way I did before and that’s something I had to work through in my own head. I mean, I’m not going to be back up on a podium in a mini skirt any time soon – but it would still be nice to wear my jeans and breathe at the same time.
Ok so after all that, here is my point – and what inspired me to write this whole thing. Not long ago I was in the kitchen at work preparing my cardboard and air salad for lunch, and a lovely colleague walked in and said to me “why are you always eating like that Laura, you’re so skinny”. And automatically, for the rest of the day I walked around like I was Adriana Lima. Even my pyjamas looked flattering that night – and I got thinking when I was home strutting up my hallway wearing angel wings later on; how much people’s words genuinely affect the way we feel about ourselves. And any girl who has cried themselves to sleep after a negative comment will tell you the same in reverse.
So girls and guys. Build each other up. Be careful with your words. And most importantly don’t let what you think of yourself be shaped by what other people think of you. Because that’s just exhausting.