When I was growing up, I was overweight. I was that little fat kid in class. I was plumped up on sausages, sweet treats, potatoes; basically anything filling and delicious. My father was a baker, so what would you expect! I grew into a chubby teenager and I got made fun of quite regularly. I started to like boys but they would never look at me. That’s when it tweaked: I needed to lose weight to look pretty!
Instead of eating breads and all the pastries my Daddy could feed me, I began to starve myself. I wanted that hourglass figure and I wanted it fast. I’d do some running but for the most part, I just cut back on food. I wasn’t the least bit concerned about the diet I had when I did decide to eat – being skinny was my goal.
I eventually did get to my ideal weight at age 16: 45kg. I loved the attention I was getting. So many of my girlfriends were in my position too – we’d starve ourselves to be as thin as possible for dances or parties. We had the least bit of idea about how starving yourself affects your body. I was always so exhausted but when I felt faint, I’d eat an apple. It was hard to keep it up because I craved the foods I ate before.
Eventually I went back to eating as I was highly depressed. My new image had started arguments between my friends over who looked the best and boys. We weren’t friends any more. I went back to my original weight plus more. I became obese and even after I had children, I continued to balloon and yo-yo back down, then up again. I had a love-hate relationship with food but I never could break up with it. I set a bad example, no doubt, for my daughter. I feel deeply regretful about that because there I was so obsessed with my image. I’d starve one day and reward myself with treats the next.
Fast forward to me at 63 and I’m not my ideal weight I wanted to be at 43, but I’m happy, and my husband says this is the happiest he’s seen me. I have a new granddaughter and I want to make it my mission to build wonderful self confidence within her.
What I realised, after years of dieting, was that I took my body for granted. I cared about the wrong things. I valued beauty over health, and now I’m paying the price. My heart doesn’t like me much anymore, and my bowels are quite temperamental.
I want to teach my granddaughter the importance of eating well, not starving yourself. I want to show my granddaughter that all the pretty women on TV might not be as happy as they seem – the most beautiful thing is being you. I want to teach my daughter that ‘selfies’ at the gym and other self-obsessed photography is just fakeness. I want my granddaughter to know that being healthy is related to your mind, body and soul…and I believe you should too.
Share your thoughts below: what will you teach your grandchildren about health and wellbeing?