Body Positivity

Letting Go of The Guilt

I’d love to be starting this post by telling you all I’m in a great place on my journey to accepting my body and feeling body positive, but that would be a lie. I have always been 100% honest on this blog and there will never be an exception to that rule, especially when the subject is as emotive as Body Positivity.

I’ve never had a good relationship with my body, always been ashamed of it, always needed to hide it. I’m trying, I need to stop these feelings but they creep up unawares. We had a family occasion this weekend, as with all occasions, there was food. Lots of lovely delicious food. Despite being not well, I did enjoy the cheese (less pungent when you can only half taste it you know!) The Wensleydale with cranberries, the Brie and the Camembert baked with honey…they were the highlights for me. The crackers too of course and the wine, best not forget the wine. And the guilt, throw that in too for good measure.

I vowed some time ago to never associate food with guilt ever again, especially at a time like this weekend, when it was a family occasion, a real treat, not food that we could indulge in every day but no, that asshole, GUILT, crept up on me, shaming me for having something nice. ‘You’ll never fit into anything nice’ ‘Look at you, have you no self-respect?’ ‘Do you not think you’ve had enough?’

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I’ve spoken before about my weight issues, I’m not going to get into it now. If you are a regular reader here you will also know that I have quite the catalogue of recipes, all of which reflect what is cooked in my home on a regular basis, it’s not unfair or arrogant of me to say that we have a healthy balance and we do have treats when there are family occasions. I am very conscious of ensuring my children do not grow up with the same issues I have, I don’t ban food but they are aware of what is a treat. I promote home cooking and keep processed food to a minimum. I do not want them to ever experience body shame or food guilt. I can only hope I am succeeding, however, we only get one chance at parenting, it’s a constant learning curve where the most we can do is our best.

It’s the hardest thing in the world, trying to accept yourself and your body when it’s been battling you for 30+ years….that’s a long time, isn’t it? To be at war with oneself. I’ll be honest, it saddens me.

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I’ll get over this glitch, I plan to read lots of positive pieces, devour the Body Positive Ireland Facebook page, I will look in the mirror, seek the good bits and focus on them.

It’s not easy to share the blips as well as the positive stuff, but I genuinely feel it’s important; this isn’t a walk in the park and if you’re having tough days too, you are not alone. We are only human.

10 Comments

  1. I know so few people who are actually happy with their appearance, especially post-baby. I totally get how you feel. Food is such a joy and I hate the guilt associated with eating too. But I feel it! Grrr. I’m trying to do a bit more exercise and as you say, learn to look for the positives more!

    1. Thank you Sinéad, it’s frustrating and in the long run more harmful to our mental health.

  2. I’m sad to hear that your lovely weekend was tainted with guilt… we should all enjoy cheese 🧀 😊sounds delicious. You really seem to keep such a lovely balance to your family’s food that you more than deserve to enjoy a celebration and the lovely food that goes with it. I wouldn’t see cheese as a negative, unless I was constantly eating it in very large quantities. I hope writing about it here has helped and that it becomes the exception not the norm for you. Hugs x

    1. Writing always helps Naomi, it’s therapeutic, helps to process thoughts. Thank you very much (the cheese was so good!!)

  3. Trish

    Your not alone Nicola,, its an everyday struggle,, and I keep tinking on 14 July I’m gona wake up an be 2st lighter over nite,,, so hard,,u look at others and see em losing stones,an wonder how dey do it,,I’m bet on it……..

    1. The secret is to not compare yourself to others Trish and learn to accept you for who you are…..the 14th will be great, you’ll feel great, very happy and very proud; and it will be that smile that we all see above everything else 🙂

  4. So hard to reach body acceptance, never mind love… I can read as much feminist literature as I want about body positivity and still look in the mirror and not like what I see. I’ve written quite a bit about this too: https://ovarious.net/2016/09/29/adventures-with-hand-mirrors-my-journey-towards-self-love-and-self-care/ Thank you for sharing! 🙂

    1. Oh will have a read of that-Thank you. That is it in a nutshell isn’t it? We need to believe in what we see I guess.

  5. I hope you can find a way to get over feeling guilty about eating – I have some friends who regard food as a fuel only and I think that is the opposite extreme, I see it as one of life’s pleasures and rarely deprive myself these days, but I had a terrible relationship with food as a child, when I was forced to eat food that made me feel sick in school and that resulted in stunted growth, because I kept refusing to eat, then I went the opposite way as a teenager and gorged on cakes for years. I think exercise probably saved me, I hope you find something that works for you xx

    1. Thank you Candi. I really do believe it’s about balance and food shouldn’t only be seen as fuel but is something to enjoy, we do only get one chance at this after all, why torture ourselves. If I could only apply the same logic when I look in the mirror!!
      I am sorry your childhood relationship with food is so tarnished, I think it was only natural to enjoy all the cake following that experience, I don’t think any of us would have done anything different 🙂

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