On self-hatred: New Year’s Resolutions and celebrating women’s bodies

Bit less of this…but still have a bit

We’re barely a week into the New Year, so naturally I’m working hard to maintain that determination I felt nary a few days ago to do more exercise and eat slightly less crap.

I make no secret of the fact that I am a curvy size 12, and, at my little height (5ft), really could do with being more in the region of a size 8 – healthwise, and self-esteem wise. For me (and me alone, I’m not judging anyone else) I’m not happy with my weight and by extension, with that element of how I look or feel.

It’s boring and self-involved, but no matter how many “fat-positive” blogs I read and love, or how many times my boyfriend and friends tell me they genuinely think I look fine, it’s still true – I want to lose weight. Problem is, I love food (and work writing about the restaurant industry) and put on weight extremely easily for a variety of health reasons, so it’s an on-going, thankless battle.

It’s going OK (I’ve eaten out once, but managed to stop myself inhaling too much Hotel Chocolat, and also done a Zumba work out every other day) but it really is a work in progress – and, if it’s to be a permanent thing (as I learned a couple of years ago when I managed to lose a stone), I know it has to become a proper “lifestyle choice” rather than a short-term purgatory involving no treats and a constant, internal monologue of self-hatred, pain and punishment.

It’s so tempting and easy to look in the mirror at the curves you wish you had less of, and loathe every part of your body. Of what you are or are not, of your constant failure to achieve your weight loss goals, of your “lack of willpower” around food, of the bits here and there that simply won’t disappear, at how different you look to your friends, colleagues, strangers on the street, let alone the much-maligned media figures.

Image from cartoonist Jeroen; click for link

It’s easy to hate the fat on your body to the point where you tip head-first into a swirling throng of despair, where you feel so under-pressure that you may as well give up now, because nothing will work and you’ll always hate your soft belly and jiggly arms and too-large thighs and – to your eyes, anyway – unbelievably wide behind, that looks shite in everything and makes you want to curl up into bed and die.

Often, I think I scrub up OK, and I bloody love deep black liquid eyeliner, my sparkly nose stud, my bright pink and red MAC lipsticks, and my black cowboy boots.

Some days, I *also* love my curves. Those days are rare.

More often, I’ve had days – weeks – ruined by a terrible photo or awful in-window reflection, despite telling myself not to be so ridiculous, and have been known to look at friends’ slim hips, backs and defined jawlines with a sad, barely-concealed hunger that can OBVIOUSLY only be sated with more Green & Blacks.

None of this is conducive to healthy living, which ultimately has to be a mixture of tough love – “You cannot eat an entire chocolate orange in one sitting and still lose weight, sorry, do some exercise now, I don’t care if you don’t want to, you’ll enjoy it once you get going” and compassion – “You are worth this, don’t give up, every little counts, well done for not buying that family pack of crisps”, because the truth is, no-one can survive or achieve anything with an utterly negative, self-bashing internal monologue on repeat.

It’s in light of this balanced, healthy, compassionate frame of mind that I post this: an iPad holder called Venus of Cupertino, that would appear to celebrate and appreciate soft, “womanly” curves.

From artist-designer Scott Eaton, and designed on London’s Southbank, it is a fully-functional iPad dock that has been feted in every magazine from Wired UK to Vogue (ironic?) to new women’s magazine Libertine. (At £150, though, it shall for me remain appreciated from afar.)

No, personally (because far be it for me to comment on someone else’s body, I’ve got shedloads of my own judgement for myself to deal with) I wouldn’t be happy if I looked like this.

But for me it’s a helpful reminder that fat can be appreciated, that bodies come in all shapes and sizes, and that demonising women’s figures will get you absolutely nowhere.

PLUS, the woman looks deeply and luxuriously involved in her iPad – at this moment, the figure seems to say, she isn’t giving a shit about her marbled, naked arse being on show, so why, for the love of cake, should you?

The Venus of Cupertino iPad dock, from Venus.io. There’s also a bloke version called Hercules…

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