Hallelujah it’s finally over and October is upon us once more. The evenings are drawing in, the mornings are darker and the smell of the fallen leaves and the cold air is positively refreshing. Plus, more importantly, Sugar Free September is behind me. And the results are in. Do I weigh any less? Absolutely not. Are my jeans any looser? Nope. Is my skin clearer? Not really. Are my energy levels any higher? Don’t think so. In fact I haven’t seen any change whatsoever. Except maybe to my bank balance which has enjoyed the pause in the purchase of treats.
So has it been worthwhile at all, this month of goodness and piety? Ok, slight exaggeration I only gave up sugar but it was a month of conscious decisions and healthy choices. There were no biscuits with my evening cuppa, there was a dearth of jelly deliciousness in the office and not a hint of a chocolate bar with my lunch. Despite the hiatus for the child’s birthday and some serious chocolate cake, I was extremely well behaved and committed to the cause. And that wasn’t an easy task, being the sugar addict that I am.
To be honest I am a little disappointed with the results. I haven’t changed in any way, shape or form. I don’t feel I got the results I required or expected. Maybe a month isn’t long enough. Perhaps I should be committing to a sugar free existence but that sounds like total hardship altogether. Maybe it’s time to bring in the big guns. Maybe it’s time for…Sober October.
Now the fact that we are a third of the way into the month before I am even considering this says a lot about my commitment to this particular cause. So there’s a fair chance that this is not going to happen in my little world. I actually don’t think my alcohol intake is high enough to have such a negative effect. Obviously I could well be I denial but I have no reason to believe otherwise.
So maybe, I will stick with the early morning gym sessions that make no difference to the size of my jeans, just to the size of the luggage under my eyes. I will attempt to keep the sugar intake low and just keep plodding on. As the song goes “This is Me”. Maybe it’s time to teach myself to accept my shape. I will never be a slim svelte streamlined starlet, those days are gone unfortunately. But I need to remember that my body might take on many shapes during my lifetime, it may gather many scars and many extra and unwelcome folds but at the end of the day it is my character that counts, not my size.
If I learn to accept that then it will be easier to pass on this nugget of wisdom to my children. They are constantly surrounded by digital imagery. Do they understand that what they see on the screen and in print has been digitally altered and enhanced to resemble perfection? Not everything is as it seems. How can these bizarre illusions of reality not have an effect on them? How can these unrealistic ideals of flawlessness not have an impact on their body image? And if they hear me constantly wittering on about the calorific content of cake then they are likely to be twice as sensitive and aware.
So I need to take a step back and let them see me enjoying treats without rebuke or recrimination. I need them to see me taking pride in the strength my body has, its capability and the astounding abilities it possesses. I need to take ownership of the curves, I need to appreciate the scars and I need to become comfortable in my own skin. They need to see me focusing on accomplishments that have more to do with who I am than how I look. And hopefully they will learn to do the same.
You see, I reckon that changing your body image is more about changing the way you think than changing the way you look. Accept the curves, the lines, the extra pieces. Better to embrace them and eat some ice cream than let that battle destroy you.
Losing weight and counting calories should not be my life’s goal. Instead of scrutinising myself in the mirror focusing on and judging every bump and bulge, I should be turning my gaze inwards. What I really need to learn myself, in order to teach the kids, is that acceptance is the key. Acceptance of myself right now at the stage I am currently at, not where I wish I could be or who I might want to be. The important thing is to remember that reflections in a mirror may be distorted by socially constructed ideas of beauty. So, be comfortable in yourself, don’t partake in body shaming and for God’s sake, eat the cake. There’s more to life.