I am not a skinny girl. Hell, I’m not even “slim.” My friends will tut and shake their heads at me if I call myself fat but I don’t feel like I can call myself curvy either. Sometimes I look at myself and see curves but other times I look at myself and see lumps and bumps.
I’m not sure when the exact moment was that I started paying proper attention to my body. I always had long, skinny legs in primary school and even when I was in secondary school and I started wearing a bra, I don’t remember being overly conscious about my body.
I think the first memory I have of disliking my body was when I was on holiday in St Tropez (around 4 years ago now) and I remember looking at myself in a mirror in my bikini towards the end of the holiday and thinking “what a fat, pale, ugly mess.” I had no make up on, I wasn’t even slightly tanned and I just felt disgusting. Oh my! I look back at photos of myself from that holiday and WISH I still looked like that. By the end of the holiday, my face was covered in freckles and I looked so happy and refreshed. I think a lot of the body negativity was stemming from the fact I was starting university in a matter of weeks and I knew there would be so many stunning girls there, I was terrified of being the ugly duckling.
I was very, VERY, self conscious through uni but even looking back at the photos of my first year, I wasn’t big at at all! I wish I didn’t get so worked up about it then.
But where do stretch marks and cellulite come into it?
In my third year of university, I took a lot on. Obviously there is the work that comes with your final year; my dissertation, the surrounding modules, meetings with tutors, deadlines etc. There was my social life that was almost non-existent, I had a part-time job in a cafe and the early mornings did not go well with my late night study sessions. And I also took on an internship to get some work experience before graduating because I knew I wanted to go straight into full-time work. I was juggling a lot.
Luckily, that stressful time of my life is now a distant memory and I think anything else I have to face in my life now will be a breeze. However, during that time… I ate a lot. I used to skip meals but eat shit in the library while I was working on my dissertation. There was one time where I ate a giant bag of cheesy doritos and 5 raspberry jam donuts for my lunch. Living in a city centre was too convenient as well, I’d grab a Mcdonalds on the way home or I’d order a Byron Burger on Deliveroo. This didn’t do my belly or my bank account any favours.
The funny thing is though, I didn’t even notice I was gaining weight. I was so focussed on getting good grades, spending quality time with my friends, family and boyfriend and getting enough sleep that I barely remember looking in the mirror and fretting about what I looked like.
But then, when everything eased off and I’d handed everything in and I was free – I noticed. I was looking back at photos from a night out and thought to myself “when did I let myself go?” I suddenly had flashbacks of me scoffing donuts, shotting sambuca, drunkenly eating chicken nuggets and I just thought “oh shit.” I had been going to the gym on and off but now I wish I’d been more dedicated. When I moved back home and started my internship 3 days a week, I felt vile. I was trying to grow my hair so I ditched my extensions which have always been a safety blanket for me, none of my clothes looked nice on me and I just felt like shit.
I woke up one morning and as I was getting dressed, I noticed stretch marks on either side of my thighs and on the inside of my legs. I freaked out. I’d never ever seen them on my body before, it sounds so naive but I thought you only got stretch marks when you were pregnant. I felt so low and it still feels like a punch in the face whenever I see them on my legs.
I also noticed I have horrific cellulite on the back of my legs and my bum which makes me so uncomfortable. I think it’s something I just need to adjust to. These are new things about my body that I guess I need to learn to love?
Do I continue drowning in bio oil to reduce my stretch marks or do I embrace them? Do I carry on googling “products to get rid of cellulite NOW” or do I just get over it?
I try not to get hung up on my size, I think I’m just shocked about how much it’s changed in the space of a year. I am a happy person. I have wonderful people in my life and not much to be sad about so how do I stop letting silly things like stretch marks and cellulite get me down?
“Go to the gym”
I already know how to reduce the problems and I know it will take time and effort to do so. Sometimes I think I am in the right frame of mind to sign back up to the gym but then I remember that it’s actually such a big commitment, especially when you’re saving up to move out – if I’m not 100% certain I’m going to go often, is it really worth it?
I know I said I was going to work hard to love the way I look and focus on physically helping my body but should I really be letting my stretch marks and cellulite define my happiness?
Do you embrace your stretch marks and cellulite? Let me know!