Original piece by Sally Chiwuzie
I have an important meeting early this afternoon which has me rummaging through my wardrobe a little longer than usual to find an appropriate red dress (red – my comfort zone because I own this colour) to look and feel like a woman of power when I stand up to deliver my PowerPoint presentation. Several dresses later, I noticed that for every dress I tried on, I stood in front of the mirror checking for the slightest hint of a tummy bulge, assessing whether it made my hips look bigger, obsessing over whether or not to put a wonder bra over my a/b cups to give the ‘illusion’ of cleavage. *chuckles* – oh the imaginary flaws of a woman’s ‘perfect’ body (especially after childbirth!)
So here’s my question: do you think today’s society is totally obsessed with physical appearance? Do you think the media have successfully convinced us that we need to look a certain way to be socially acceptable? When we work out these days, do we do this for the health benefits or because we long to wake up one morning and be pleasantly surprised to find a size 0 model staring back at us? Or this chick with perfectly toned this and that?
I spent a couple of years overweight and my weight loss journey was exciting but obsessive. I think I spent my entire existence planning my next work out and my body suffered for it. There were times when if I am honest, my nutrition was not on point. I was only concerned with attaining a bikini body. I went down to a UK 8, but was I healthy? Probably not so much; I looked like a malnourished wrestler. I said this to a women’s fitness group I subscribed to and they thought this hilarious and too self-critical, but in hindsight, I understand that while some people are, I am certainly not built to be a UK 8! So by popular demand and self-truth (and being unable to sustain being that skinny), I put on some weight and one day, I looked at myself in the mirror and a curvy (10 on top, 12 below), sexy chick stood pouting back at me in a red body-con dress!
In a world obsessed with quick fixes, diet pills, ridiculous diets, the biggest loser, DVDs that promise magic in record time, anaemia, anorexia, bulimia, a lot of women myself included find it difficult to accept their body size especially post-baby. Don’t get me wrong giving birth is not an excuse to become overweight, but becoming a size 0 should not be an obsession. Staying healthy, neither overweight nor anorexic should be the focus. Be realistic in the expectations you place on yourself. Not everyone will be a size 0, heck, not everyone will look good a size 0 – it’s about what you, your body, mind and soul are comfortable with. All I can say is this: ‘sexy is a state of mind!’