When Weight Equals Worth

We are inundated with quotes encouraging change. “Be the change you want to see”, they tell us. “If you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always gotten”, they encourage. And although married to the written word, it becomes glaringly apparent that words are powerless without the more tangible side of things –action. Positive affirmations and inspiring mementos will do wonders for the sense of spirit, but if left in the realm of thought alone and never manifested into the physical plane all we will be is Good Intention, Bad Follow-Through.

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. I possess neither the stature nor the metabolism of a runway model. In typical Amy fashion I miss the mark by a few centimetres, and as my frame is naturally inclined toward the hourglass figure all I can do is (primarily express gratitude, as this allows easy shading to transform what is on the canvas into a presentable portrait) work with what I have in the time that I have it. You’ve got to use what Mother Nature gave you before Father Time takes it away, after all. I am destined to live a commercially flawed existence, and although I am not designed to have the structure nor the beauty of Cara Delevingne I am here. I exist. And I am Now.

The courage to change the things I can. Age has found me putting the grams down, but picking kilograms up in their absence. Over the course of a year, I have substituted heavy nights with heavy meals, a lack of sleep with a surplus of sweets, days of caloric deficits with months of kilojoule excesses. An astounding 9 kilograms of pure fat have sought asylum on my figure, and I’ve fed in to their plight. As my stomach has distended and the denial of my enlarging hips no longer plausible after another pair of jeans has fallen prey to the damned Tumble Dryer Syndrome, so too has my self-worth diminished in a feeding frenzy.  As a woman, I have somehow bought in to the belief that my body is an ornament, that my self-worth is inversely proportional to my weight – that the less I weigh, the more I am worth. And so as the months have ticked by and the kilograms piled up my depression has been exacerbated by my unwillingness to control the gluttonous consumption of food, and the stance that an expanding waist meant a diminished worth began to bear more weight than ever. Food and I have always had a love/hate relationship; I love what it tastes like, but hate what it does to my physique. Lately I have taken to devouring intemperate amounts of food, as if filling my stomach would simultaneously rid me of my inner emptiness. Cake, cookies and crisps have slowly bound themselves to what was once akin to a dolphin; sleek and elegant, so certain of movements and now encumbered by blubber, transitioned into an ungainly whale whose entire existence has become an uncomfortable qualm. There are those that cannot comprehend this rapid alteration in appearance, who do not know the lull of avaricious immoderation. To them, I say this: some of us are able to insert so much food into our systems that it becomes acquainted with the artwork of our esophagus walls, that our uvulas are no longer employed as bouncers for the unwanted will exit on their own accord, that we ingest hoisin sauce directly off of spoons because we want to eat -not for nourishment, not to curb hunger nor satiate ourselves, but simply to be funneling food into our faces. Our stomachs may inflate and press painfully against our rib cages in demand that we free ourselves, but with every morsel we are only trapping ourselves in ourselves…

The wisdom to know the difference. I can conquer. I have accumulated addictions in barely three decades that I have capitulated to, and when the Rabbit Hole felt endless with no sign of the promised (Wonder)land in sight I have somehow found the remaining shard of strength within me to sever the ties of my vices and emerge victorious. I have read that surrendering an addiction is like putting a tiger in a cage and locking it away –but with a food addiction, you take the tiger out of that cage for a walk three times a day. I have come to accept that eating is not “black and white”, that following an Orthorexic diet isn’t sustainable and that one block of chocolate is not the equivalent of a tiger’s gaping maw, and does not warrant the overindulgence of every taste my tongue could possibly savour in one sitting. Gradually, I am learning that food does not equate to failure. And as the days go by, I am finding the courage to dismiss the surge of serotonin Lindor tempts me with, to overcome the need for the pressing pain of a ballooning belly and I am replacing it with a healthy attitude –both in lifestyle, and in outlook. Whilst I can change the size of my waist, and I can control the contents of my plate, more importantly than that I can rewire the processing of my thoughts. I have the capacity to transform an entirely negative perception into that of unconditional love and acceptance. Because whether or not I fit into my teenage jeans does not determine whether or not I am worthy of love –especially my own love.