When I was a young carefree teenager, my dad would often tell me: “You should lose weight.” I was criticized for my fat belly and was told that if I didn’t do anything about it, I would never find a husband.
Thank god, I didn’t give a damn about ‘looking good’ or ‘finding a man’. I had read and learnt countless of times how girls tend to fall under the illusion that they are not beautiful enough and that they never will, unless they resemble those super thin top models in magazines. I’ve seen how detrimental of their self-esteem it was to constantly compare their bodies to those Photoshop’ed ones… or to their prettier (a.k.a. more socially acceptable body types) peers. I’ve heard about very strict diet that could potentially lead to death.
I learnt from an early age to love my body and to eat all the things I love (in moderation, of course) and to not be defined by someone else’s perception of ‘beauty’. I encouraged myself to be an independent woman, and to be aware that if I wanted a man, that man would not have the right to shape my body to fit his ‘ideals’ (impossible ones indeed), but would instead accept me as I am.
I lived with this mindset that for 20 years. I was not a slave to impulse shopping to fit the current trends. I became more simple in terms of clothing and appearance (because at 15 I would actually put on makeup and wear a lot of jewellery, oh the old days…). I focused on how I behaved as a person and my social and intellectual skills instead. I discarded the friends that were too materialistic for me and kept the valuable rest.
I eventually found a man, who didn’t care about the fat around my belly, and loved me for who I was as a person.
Then, at the beginning of this year, I started to be more conscious of my lifestyle and to focus on the long-term benefits. I started with decluttering my wardrobe, putting money aside for savings, and… working out.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I workout because I love the way it makes my body stronger and my health and fitness better. It only took up around 9 minutes every day (yes the 7-minute workout actually takes 9 minutes) and I could feel the results with satisfaction. The more I did these exercises, the less tired I became and slowly, my muscles, especially those in my arms, started to take shape and harden. I was growing biceps!
After a few weeks, I decided to up my game and tried out the second workout that was in the list of the 7-minute workout app: the abs workout. I also often paired both the classic and the abs workout in a day, doing one in the morning and one in the evening. The results were obvious: my belly started to take shape and flatten a little bit. It motivated me so much to keep fit!
I wanted more. Doing those two workouts simply did not seem enough for me. I wanted more training to see even more results!
Therefore, recently, my friend introduced me to Blogilates and I have decided to follow the pre-made workout calendar they offer as from next week. This will introduce my body to new challenges and exercises. New ways to keep fit.
Or… new ways to shape my body to look good?
One day, I caught myself staring at the mirror for more than 5 minutes, with my workout clothes on, exposing my belly. I felt that every moment that I did not workout or every time I went out to eat led my belly to become fatter than it originally was either in the morning or right after I worked out. One day I stayed in and tried to eat salad, but the lack of carbohydrates did have a drastic effect on me. Therefore, I had to work out to keep that shape. I demanded and obliged myself to be strict on this. I had a (yet, mental unhealthy) goal and I wanted to reach it ASAP.
I even started scrolling through dozens of crop tops and bra tops, craving for the trend, daydreaming about the day I would finally be able to wear one without my belly protruding its fats. I tried one on at the mall, and decided I needed to lose fat, I needed to work out more, I needed to stop eating so much.
What have I become?
The realisation that I was falling into that same trap that girls fell into during their teens dawned on me. Worse, I had convinced not only myself to get rid of my fats but also my significant other, who would then encourage me to lose that additional weight. But in the end, it is my doing, and mine only.
The lesson I got out of this brief but extreme obsession with how ‘good’ or ‘fit’ I looked in the mirror was this:
I am still allowed to workout as much as I want, do intense training and be aware of what I eat, and I can have that goal of losing belly fat. BUT I must remember that the purpose behind all of this is to be HEALTHY, and not to fit in the socially acceptable perception of ‘beauty’.
And it is NOT healthy to be frustrated every time I stare at my reflection. I should love myself and my body through every stage of the process. I should live my life as I see fit, and not be bound by society’s restrictions of its definition of ‘health’. I should focus on the positive.
I believe that ‘being fat’ is a feeling, that turns into an obsession. It is deemed ‘bad’ and is treated like a ‘disease’. This should not be so.
Every body and metabolism is different. Even if, at the end of the day, I find that those short crop tops do not suit me, well too bad for the designers, because there are endless other styles I could try out that can equally show off my progressive efforts to a healthier body.
Finally, it always helps to have someone you love tell you that you’re beautiful, whether you are unfit and fat or super fit and well-shaped.
An Evil Nymph.