If, like me, you’ve recently been losing weight you’ll understand that there are certain things which come with the territory, most are fantastic, some…not so much.
Having lost 44llbs so far, and with at least another 23llbs to go, it’s fair to say that I’ve experienced some of these highs and lows. For example, the incredible feeling of dropping two dress sizes vs. the not so great feeling of realising that you’re going to have to spend money on new clothes!
But there’s one thing that has come with my weight struggles over the years that I’ve always hated, but it’s something I’m learning to love…
For years I’ve looked in the mirror at the pink and red welts across my stomach with disgust, viewing them as a visible reminder of my yo-yoing weight. Every time I went on a new fad diet and lost some weight they’d become bigger and more pronounced as the skin got a bit more give. Then when I’d inevitably gain the weight back new stretch marks would appear as my poor, not very stretchy skin, would take the toll of too many bags of Malteasers, high fat meals and constant binge eating. This has been an ongoing cycle, and it has always made me self conscious and unwilling to show my stomach or my arms for fear of being judged, and I don’t think I’m alone in this.
I always see articles and posts about the amazing women who embrace their stretch marks after they have a baby, and so they should. You’ve carried a human inside you and your body shows the marks of that incredible journey, you deserve to be proud of them, and your body should be celebrated for it. Anyone who looks at a mother’s stretch marks and says they’re not beautiful needs a serious reality check, because giving life to another human being is magical and if you don’t get that then shame on you.
But I haven’t had any children, nothing so courageous, I just ate one (or a thousand) too many slices of cake. Surely I don’t deserve to feel proud of them? Well actually, I do and I’ll tell you why…
Since starting to lose weight this time round, I have been doing so with the absolute conviction that I’m never putting that weight on again. For the first time I’m looking at my stretch marks as a map of the hard work and effort I’ve put in to losing the weight. I joined Slimming World in July 2015 and it’s the first thing that has really put me in control of food, instead of food being in control of me, so I know that this lifestyle change is my long term strategy for managing my weight.
Not only that but being on Slimming World, and becoming part of an active, supportive and loving community both in group and online has given me the confidence to begin to love my body again, stretch marks and all. Maybe I’ve become more accepting of them because I’ve become more accepting of what I see when I look in the mirror, or maybe I’ve just come to realise that being negative about my body is completely counterproductive to my own mental health. Whatever it is I’ve learnt that my stretch marks don’t define my beauty, and for the people who matter they don’t define what they see when they look at me.
What I’m basically trying to say is that apart from the obvious weight loss and visually liking the look of my body more, what I’ve gained from this whole experience to date is the ability to accept myself for everything I am, everything I’ve been and everything I’m becoming and my stretch marks are simply reminders of all of this…and I really don’t see the problem with that!
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