A size 18 mum holding a litter oicker in a green linen jacket stood at a train station.Stood next to her is her 3 year old son in a red and black checked jumper

Body Image

I have always been large and I have always been told I am fat directly and from people saying phrases like ‘big girl, big boned or larger than life’. This has impacted me since an early age and made to feel like I am not good enough or worthy. When spice girls became famous I was 10 or 11 and I idolised them as many young girls did. I remember saying I wanted knee high platform boots and being told my legs weren’t skinny enough. Not that they were too expensive or ridiculous as we lived in a small farming village but what I was told was I wasn’t good enough to wear them.

At primary school I was classed as a big girl and called fat. Looking back I wasn’t be anything but a normal girl. It was other peoples ideals of what little girls should look like and I wasn’t what little girls should be. Was I the biggest? No. I did carry extra weight but nothing that was so vulgar as I was lead to believe. I am tall and have a large frame and no matter how much weight I loose or strength training I will never be a small person. How I wish it hasn’t taken me to my thirties to know this. How I wish I had someone had told me I was normal that my body was normal.

Women are constantly shamed in the media and growing up with magazines in the 90’s and 00’s was brutal. Photoshop and unrealistic ideals plastered on the front. Shaming women for not looking perfect – wrinkles, cellulite, boobs too big and boobs too small. Outrageous how dare we have bodies not built perfectly for pleasing everyone else. Nothing was good enough with constant diet tips and make up and clothing you must have. Once again you are not worthy unless you look like this. I remember being young and reading sex tips on how to please your man in a young girls magazine. Like WTAF?

When I look back at photos at my teenage years I laugh at how I wasn’t this enormous hideous beast I was lead to believe and I thought I looked nice. If only I knew or was told and it wouldn’t lead to a life of dieting and eating issues. Starving myself and at times scared to eat in front of other people. I was always conscious of my size always not wanting to do activities that I loved thinking my weight would cause embarrassment. Worried I’d be mocked or humiliated. Hiding myself under baggy clothes and avoiding fashion trends as it’s not for people like me.

My weight did cause an issue after B was born. I was heavier than ever and it caused problems like my feet hurting after walking. I also knew my health was not at it’s best and I needed to make a change. B was poorly when he was born and it made a switch flip in my head that I want to live better so I would live as long as possible for the boys. It wasn’t about weight but about my health. That’s another thing even though I was a ‘big kid’ I was fit and healthy always on my bike, hiking and in loads of sports teams. Size does not determine health and I was fitter than my skinny friends but I was seen to be large and lazy.

So in 2018 I joined a popular slimming club and attended my local group. They were lovely and everything just clicked for me. I’d been eating unhealthy and fallen into bad habits and it gave me new knowledge and an understanding of food. Well I lost three stone in three months. I was healthier than ever, we cycled and walked everywhere. My clothes fitted better and I had more energy. Was it good enough? No. What started off as improving my health started to take a turn towards looking perfect and trying to fulfil societies expectations of what a woman should look like.

As soon as I started losing weight I got so many compliments, like suddenly now you are less fat you are more worthy. I was still the same person, my personality and my ability to be a great mum hadn’t changed but I was seen as something better. In my mind I didn’t feel that much different and I still didn’t look good enough. I still had a mum tum and would shove myself into skinny jeans trying to hold my stomach in. I started obsessing over food skipping meals so I weighed less at weigh ins. Heaven forbid I maintained or gained my self esteem would plummet and I would feel like a failure. My whole self worth was determined by the scales and my dress size.

This was exhausting and it was starting to change my personality. Not wanting to eat out and enjoy myself or skipping meals and then being an absolute hangry bitch. Taking it out on Mike or snapping at the boys. Lucky for me I had made a friend who was wise and forward thinking and pushed me towards body positivity. This is were my thinking changed and I realised that my weight does not defy who I am. My weight is just a small fraction of what makes me ME.

With the pandemic my weight has gone up with lack of exercise and constant eating but my mind set has changed. I feel better and more confident that ever. Dressing how I want and I receive more compliments on my clothes than ever. J walked passed me a few weeks ago when I was getting ready and he did a double take and said “amazing”. My heart exploded. I am no longer hiding my body and trying to make myself smaller to suit other peoples body ideals. Do I sometimes hate my body and feel hideous? Yes but years of body negativity is not going to go away but I am going to focus on other things that matter and are far more important.

You were not put on this earth to sit and look pretty. There is no such thing as perfection and there are a million better attributes than looking pretty or thin. You are worth more. Focus on more important numbers than your weight and your size.

If you ever want to talk feel free to message x




April 11, 2021 at 2:14 pm

Not being constantly angry at yourself for being fat confuses pisses other people off SO MUCH and I love it. It’s like you’re cheating at being a woman and everyone is suspicious that you found out how to do it.

Barbara marshall
April 13, 2021 at 3:33 pm

Hi Jenny,
This reminds me so much of how I felt growing up . At school being called fatty plus other nasty names, I was told I was too fat to do sports and always made an excuse why I couldn’t do PE because of the bullying and name calling and felt ashamed of myself.
Thankyou for doing this blog . Your an amazing person and it is skews a lot of courage to write this , very well written.
Lots of love to you xxx

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