Finding my body beautiful.

By Hildy Harland

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I have struggled my whole life with how I look. I have always had issues with my weight, my face, size of my head, how much body hair I sprout, having an uneven upper lip, having skin tags, dark skin pigmentation and so much more. I have spent years letting these imperfections and insecurities keep me down, but recently I have become more aware that in not embracing what I am naturally, I am holding myself back. This is MY body and I am responsible for it and the way I feel about it, so I made the conscious decision to stop hating it and decided to try and love it instead. I’m not saying I always feel great about myself because I definitely don’t but allowing myself to accept my imperfections and embrace them as a part of who I am, has honestly changed my life.

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I feel like I have been on this quest for so long, I tried to change myself so many times to  fit in with what the world sees as general beauty. As a performer and in particular a dancer, society tells me I should be thin and traditionally good looking, often tanned skin and definitely make up clad and I shouldn’t have body hair (or much of it at least). With these standards set for us how are we ever supposed to just enjoy what we are and be who we are? It’s difficult to override the standards and expectations that have been imposed on us by society and start to enjoy and appreciate our bodies for what they are. There is always a bit of a backlash to people being “proud” of certain aspects of their body, so let me be clear that I am not talking of pride in appearance but more of an acceptance, love and above all care. I have found in being an overweight person almost my whole life that hating myself and what I look like has got me nowhere and in fact has made my situation worse. In dark times of self hatred I have began to not care about myself and that is where things deteriorated both mentally and physically.

What I propose is that as a collective (in particular women but men are not excluded) we begin acceptance and re-focus our efforts on how we make ourselves feel and how we treat our bodies, trying to align with ourselves and our natural strengths rather than focussing on how weak, bad and wrong we think we might be. Positivity if shared can be an amazing travelling gift which I am hoping to pass on to you today in writing this blog

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My journey to finding myself beautiful has meant changes but not the changes I always thought they would be such as weight loss, hair removal, permanent make-up or keeping the perfect beauty regime. It has been a change within me to accept what I am and decide to care for it and love it, stop telling it that it looks wrong, stop thinking it is bad and stop using it as an excuse not to enjoy my life to it’s absolute fullest.

 I wanted to write this particular blog to emphasis the strength of accepting your body and yourself as they are, because as I have witnessed first hand within myself, it is only after that acceptance that you can start to move on to truly be our best self. So if there is anything other than a spot of self indulgence you can take from this b post, please let it be this, don’t waste time hating your body and how you look, it’s not worth it, don’t let it stand in the way of anything you want to do, it might be hard and scary but you can honestly make a difference not only to yourself and your own life but those around you.

Let’s be brave together and please do feel free to use this post to start conversations with myself an others!

Hildy’s Health Adventure: Psychotherapy with The Good Nature Company, what I’ve learnt so far.

Well the past few weeks have been an interesting few! I have been seeing Julie a psychotherapist from The Good Nature Company. (If you want to catch up then visit my previous blog HERE). Our first session was great we discussed lot’s, mostly about me, and got to know each other a little bit better. I was expecting these sessions to be quite emotionally charged with me being such an emotional person, but somehow I was calm and collected. Speaking to someone like Julie was kind of like seeing myself from an outside perspective which was quite refreshing. I often get bogged down in the should have, would have, could have scenario and I think addressing my issues from the root cause is what is going to help me accept myself further. From all of the soul searching i have done over the past year or too I know that eating healthily and exercising just isn’t  enough! I don’t just have a fat body, I have a fat brain! If I can’t accept my fat self how am I ever going to A/get to a healthy weight and B/ accept myself when I get there. Won’t I just want more and more and the acceptance will never be there? 

In this first session we set some, I’m going to call them “Goals of Discovery”, meaning certain things I wanted to find out and understand about me/yself. As I have discussed in previous blogs, I am an emotional eater and it’s not just when I’m sad or upset, but when I’m happy, when I have achieved something etc. I use food as a reward. If I have had a really good day I feel I deserve something “delicious” and if I have a terrible day or something bad happens or I’m just generally feeling a bit sad or out of sorts I think something “delicious” will cheer me up. Which is why I am on a mission to break this cycle and finally start moving forward with a healthier way of thinking about food. 

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Baby Hildy age 4

 

Julie and I discussed a lot about my family, who else had weight problems and where/when these emotional eating habits started to kick in. We worked through from being a very small child to my teenage years. We discussed life events and why these habits may have come into my way of coping. We also decided that I have a very strong inner child which came as no surprise to me. We got talking about how my inner child is basically my emotions and my adult self is my practical mind. My emotions need acknowledged they can not be ignored and when they are not satisfied they throw a tantrum and end up being all controlling.  What I need to do is satisfy both and find a balance between them in order to take complete control responsibility for myself or “Own It” as the kids say. 

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Baby Hildy age 3

So I was given a bit of homework to start weaning myself off rewarding with food and satisfying the creative child within (and out) by making an amazing sticker chart with small and large rewards for achievements and emotions I would usually cope with or reward with food.  

I can’t wait to get started!