I Am Enough.

It was like I was back to my 17, 18, 19 (far out I’ll be honest 20, 21, 23 and maybe even 24) year old me. I hated my body. You need to lose weight, you’re too fat, you haven’t exercised enough, you’ve eaten too much. 

You. Are. Not. Good. Enough.

This was me the other night. Dan (my boyfriend) and I were sitting on the balcony after delish, epic dinny I cooked. We were scrolling through Instagram and noticed how many accounts were filled with half naked girls and women.

If you’ve hung out on Instagram you know there are A LOT of amazing looking women posting pictures of their sexy, thin, smooth, tanned, big-boobed, small-wasted ‘perfect’ bodies. I’m usually pretty good, I don’t start to compare. I usually appreciate an amazing body and think far out she looks great (and they all did!) but for some reason, this time it hit me hard. 

All those old thoughts came pouring back in. They’ve come back every now and then… but not like this. It was like a flood of self-hate and self-doubt. Feeling regret about eating too much dinner, regret about skipping my pilates to sleep in. It all happened in an instant and I couldn’t handle it.

I was up, running to the bathroom to cry. At this stage, Dan probably had a complete WTF face on. He came in wondering if I was OK.

Even though we were both looking at these pictures, along with me thinking I wasn’t thin enough, beautiful enough, perfect enough…  I also thought that maybe my boyfriend agreed.

I am grateful for this situation because it’s pushed me to write this post. A blog post I’ve been meaning to write since 2013. A blog post I have written, deleted and re-written at least 6 times. 

From age 17 to 23 I thought I was fat and needed to lose weight. I beat myself up about it. I’d feel bad if I skipped a day at the gym, guilty if I ate dessert. My mind was consumed with hating my body, counting calories and ticking off my gym sessions. 

Looking back I know, I can even see, that I was never ever fat. Sure my weight fluctuated up and down but I now look back at photos of me having a ‘fat day’ and not only do I look great, I’m at least 5 kgs less than I weigh today.  

Discovering paleo and now, just a real food lifestyle helped me, not only become physically healthier but also mentally healthier. This way of eating made so much sense and slowly the mind mess of body hatred didn’t consume me and I had more space to think bigger and to think of other things other than what I looked like (welcome Merrymaker Sisters).

What I’ve never ever talked about on the blog (or even to my Mum and Dad) is along with this horrible life stopping mindset I also used to make myself vomit. Age 17 – 23. 

When I was 17 and started to drink more alcohol… I’d binge drink, get myself way too drunk (far out binge drinking is a whole other blog post) then go and make myself vomit. Freshen up and be the life of the party again. At least half the other people at the party were doing the exact same thing. It was completely ‘normal’. 

Pretty quickly I realised I could do this whole vomiting thing sober too. 

My Monday to Thursday was filled with a low calorie diet, plenty of diet coke and hours spent in the gym. My Friday was re-named Fat Friday (yes, we actually called it that) where I’d binge on lollies, cheese and crackers, chocolate. Pizza for dinner. Then I’d make sure I could get home before everyone else so I could vomit in private. 

And this went on for so many years. Years! 

I actually never thought I had a problem. I never thought I was bulimic because it wasn’t an every day thing. I’d only vomit on the weekends and Fat Fridays so it was ok… right? 

I even opened up to a friend one drunken night and told her I started vomiting while sober… she did it too! So this just confirmed to me that I didn’t have a problem at all. 

The thing I am most upset about is all the time I wasted. Time wasted thinking about my weight, thinking about the food I ate and the food I was about to eat. The time I wasted kneeled over a toilet shoving my fingers down my throat throwing up.

It’s hard. It’s hard when society tells us that size 6-8 is the ‘right’ size and when we’re bombarded with photoshopped advertisements everywhere. Even the ‘perfect’ people ‘need’ photoshopping!

I know the people l perceive as ‘perfect’ have their own set of issues and that really, ‘perfect’ does not equal happiness. Because when I weighed 50kg, in the best shape of my life… I was miserable. Really, ‘perfect’ does not exist.

I know there are so many women, men, boys and girls who are massively impacted by body image issues and eating disorders today. I’m angry about this. I’m angry that you feel shit about yourself, I’m angry you think you need to be somebody else, I’m angry that we all spend so much time focused on this issue when there are so many other things out there. 

I think it’s time we celebrate our differences. It’s time we see beauty in everyone of all shapes and sizes. It’s time to start seeing beauty in ourselves.

And even though it’s hard sometimes, let’s be stronger than that little voice (or maybe screaming voice) saying I’m not good enough. That voice is lying. You are enough. I am enough. Always have, always will be. 

It’s time to enjoy life, to bring more good to the world instead of focusing on what we don’t have. 

It’s time to focus on a healthy lifestyle because we want to live longer and feel better and healthier. 

It’s time to promote this to every single other person we know and CELEBRATE when we see people loving themselves.

Always merrymaking,

Emma 

P.s You might also like this article Carla wrote: The Best Advice I Ever Got… Look Sideways.

Feature photos from Unsplash.

 

Comments 25

  1. My ‘mean voice’ is not just in my head its also my mum, every time i see her all she talks about is what i eat, what i should eat (think low fat, no flavour diets), how ‘fat’ i am and what clothes i should wear to minimise my size… I have tried so hard to talk to her about it but she just changes the subject.. I love her but I wish she would leave me alone.. Although I managed to get her to stop calling my 2yr old fat(she is in the normal weight range for age)…

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      Hi Jess, I am really sorry to read this. Please just know that there are other people around you to offer support… even if it is not in real life and via the interwebs with us! Sending you so much love to you and your daughter, you are a great Mum. xoxo

  2. So, so, so get this.
    Thanks for speaking the truth.
    It’s an ongoing battle with invisible demons and sometimes it really does feel like it’s too much.

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  3. Hello Emma. I am 62 yrs and struggled all my life trying to keep lean. For 25 yrs I was. Felt good. As I got older with sedentary Pub Service job it was difficult. I still am reasonably active but have fat around my middle. Just today I lazed in the sun & then went for a swim in our pool in my new “TummyControl” swimsuit. Yes the tummy was still there but today something funny happened. I thought to myself “oh stuff it. I don’t think I care. I feel happy with how I look as a woman over 60” It was a wee bit liberating. Better to break the habit of worrying how much you weigh well b4 you’re 62. Hope you’re feeling happier after writing your blog post.

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      Hey Anne 🙂 🙂 Yes… stuff it! I feel like this post was what I needed to do to finally say cya later to the thoughts that consumed me for so long. And it’s also ammo for the thoughts that will come back every now and again. It’s amazing how good it feels to tell your truth and know that we are all connected in some way or another. Lots of love to you xx Em

  4. Emma, I love this post. There’s so much of me in your story. My ‘moment’ came one Saturday when I was a poor student and realised I committed more food down the toilet than I could afford to buy.
    But it’s more than just ‘us’. It’s actually the real world. Look at the reality shows – one in particular – has had two ‘overweight’ women who were both initially rejected ‘at first sight’ because of their appearance.
    We hold ourselves to this standard because we’re judged by others as valuable, loveable, worth wanting, based on our appearance. That first impression is held to such a high standard.
    I’m so happy you’re able to accept yourself, and have love and acceptance from others!! I love that you’re spreading this message of self acceptance and health as priority over appearance and numbers on scales. Thank you for being a voice I can point my own daughter toward.
    Xxxxxxxx

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      Thank you so much for sharing and commenting Kirsty. Together we can all make a change. xoxo Lots of love to you. I feel honoured you feel you can send your daughter to our site. Emma

  5. Emma you are so so SO brave for talking about this! You know my history and my passion for overcoming disordered eating so you can find comfort in the fact that you are definitely not alone. There are so many of us who have struggled (and sometimes do still struggle) with disordered eating in it’s many shapes and sizes. What’s magical is speaking out about it, healing, and then learning to love ourselves no matter what size we are. My gosh, it’s a hard journey. But it’s a journey worth living for.

    PS I’m totally here to chat any time you need to 🙂

    Oh, and PPS (or PSS I can never remember haha) don’t forget – Instagram is a highlight reel. Think Lumi, amazing lighting and a lot of Bondi Sands.

    xxxxxxxx

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      Hehe so much love for you Krissy! Thank you for all you do and bring to the world! <3 AND I know it's so true, talking your truth is so healing.

      Thank you lovely. Lucky to call you a friend.

      AND YES... Instagram is the highlight reel. 🙂 xox

  6. I had the same thing with my mother, she also always spoke about herself and everyone else in terms of their size. Related; I have not spoken to her in ten years. Emma, thank you for writing about this. I went through the exact same thing. I still struggle with disordered eating and thought patterns even though I know I wasn’t happy when I was in ‘the best shape I’ve ever been’ .

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      Hi Jessie. Thank you for sharing and I hope you are ok. Please know that talking about it, writing about it, feeling connected with other people really helps. Sending you so much love. xox Em

  7. Absolutely your best post ever. I’m in my 50s and still struggle with body image. Age tends to compound these feelings because now, I’m not only NOT thin enough for society…I’m not young enough. Screw it…I’ll just be enough for me.

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  8. I am fat.
    There I said it!
    Guess what else?
    I love my body!
    What is so wrong with being fat?
    I am a good person, with good intentions. I am a kind, empathetic, intelligent, hard working, creative, loving, attractive strong women.
    I am flawed but I am educating myself and growing. I have good intentions but I understand that I am human and that means I will make mistakes.
    I am “Flawsome”; aware of my “flaws” but still love and accept myself anyway.
    I had three kids in 5 years, including a baby 6 months ago that I still breastfeed.
    I eat real food to nourish my body, not just for me but for my baby. I work out when I can – it is my “me” time and I am still fat and that is ok!
    That does not make me a bad person or worthless.
    I love myself – wrinkles, grey hair, stretch marks, cellulite and all.
    If someone doesn’t like me because I am not thin or young or perfect looking then that says more about them than it does about me.

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  9. A committed post , full of love and light. I’m in my late forties and do not have it right, just yet!
    I love your candour, be true to you, in all that you say and all that you do! So my focus is now with renewed vigour, to love me and love my figure! Thank you, Emma!

  10. Thanks for being so open and honest. I’m sure this post will help a lot of people who feel or have felt this way, which I think is everyone, sadly. I’m choosy with who I follow on Instagram because in the past, certain accounts left me comparing myself others. I don’t want these pictures of perfection in my feed. I want realness and quotes that speak to my soul and food that makes me lick my lips and has me heading to the kitchen to see if we have the ingredients to make it. Whatever we do, say, think, follow – it should add to outlives, make it more colourful and lovely, not take away and leave us feeling less.

    Sending big hugs! You are enough! I am enough!

    P.S. Track down the documentary, EMBRACE, and watch ASAP. Life changing and the power to do so much good. I hope you love it as much as I did!

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  11. Pingback: How To Stop Overeating | Advice from Top Health Bloggers

  12. Just read this and can totally relate Emma! So many similarities with your story and mine. It is only really this year that I have stopped thinking of food and exercise as punishment and completed changed my mindset. I now eat nourishing foods because I love my body, indulge in treats with no guilt or emotional attachment and exercise because I love the way it makes me feel and achieving goals that have nothing to do with my appearance.

    My little sister is 20 and has grown up with social media. I see her scrolling through instagram, comparing herself to these crazy standards of beauty and constantly hating herself and trying new fad diets and exercise regimes. It breaks my heart!

    Thank you for speaking out on such an important and not really talked about issue

    Rose X

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      Thanks lovely Rose <3 Sending you so much love. I know! I think about the addition of social media back when I was a teenager and early 20s and it scares the shite outta me! Your sis has an amazing role model in you xoxox

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