I had an epiphany the other day, sitting with my two closest Melbourne girlfriends over brunch. We were nattering away and apropos of nothing, it hit me. I realised why I had been overweight when I lived here. Not because of the food and coffee – although it is super yummy – but because of my friends.
They didn’t forcefeed me. They didn’t surround me with reasons not to exercise or to eat crap. No, instead they saw me from their own perspective and, because I was the smallest of the three of us, I was tiny and had no weight to lose. I was their ideal and it didn’t matter that I was overweight for my own frame. To them, I looked great because they were comparing themselves. Not to sound arrogant at all – looking back at the photos of myself back then, I can’t believe I didn’t see how terrible I looked but they were a lot heavier too. Me fitting into the equivalent of a US size 12-14 was tiny to them but considering that I am a short-arse with smaller features, it was not healthy for me at all.
But somehow, everytime I mentioned that I was unhappy with how I looked, I was made to feel ridiculous about it. I was the small friend. I had a tiny waist. I had no right to be complaining. In fact, if I was on a diet, they were worried that I was becoming anorexic.
I went away. I changed my habits. I started exercising and found it to be quite nice actually. I changed my eating habits by actually making proper meals instead of relying on frozen dinners. I lost weight but more importantly, I changed my body, I changed myself.
I come back and I fall into the old patterns – I try to mention that I’ve gained a few pounds over the past few months (I have – I slacked on the eating and exercising in favour of packing my life, you understand) and immediately I’m shut down because I’m tiny. What weight do I have to lose? Don’t be ridiculous. Because when they look at me, they compare and they can’t see that everyone has their issues. To them, because they would love my waist, I’m being ridiculous by even mentioning my weight.
It’s too easy to see myself through their eyes too and slack off on being healthy because it’s really not that much weight. But then I think again and I know it’s for me and not for them. I need to think about what I want and how good I feel when I’m eating well and exercising. But it’s a challenge.
Who’s perspective do you see yourself through?