Do We 'Think Ourselves Fat'?

Me, in a size 10 frock! (Shock!)
During a catching-up session with my favourite blogs, I came across a link to a study on the fabulous Gala Darling (if you're a fan of love, pink, sparkly things and general feeling good about yourself, this is a must read blog) that found that healthy teens who believed themselves overweight were more likely to actually be overweight in their 20s.

This rang a major bell for me, you see whilst I was recently packing up all my worldly belongings to move house I came across some old photos of myself at 16, and the most prominant thought in my mind was, "My goodness, I was skinny!", you see, I was quite surprised as to just how skinny I was, because throughout my teens I had fairly terrible body image. I was convinced I was fat, I just knew that I had a massive belly that stuck out whenever I wore crop tops with my hipsters (it was the 90s after all!), and a HUGE bottom, and a chubby face. Somehow I was also convinced that at the same time as all this MASSIVEness, I was also completely flat chested. The thing is that I also distinctly remember being told I was fat, I remember boys at school telling me I had a fat arse, I remember being called 'ironing board' because of my flat chest. Now I just look at those pictures and wonder what on earth they were thinking, as I quite obviously was pretty slim, and had a perfectly reasonable size bosom for a size 8-10 person. Never the less, I went on diets, and remember weighing 8 stone at one point, which for someone of 5 foot 6 is definitely thin.

I'm now in my late 20s, and have spent pretty much all of them overweight, and I do have to wonder whether my unhealthy attitude to my weight in my teens had an impact on this. I also think it's interesting to think about the links in my weight to my happiness and body confidence. It was at an all time low when I was in my teens, but especially for the last 5 years or so I have been SO much happier and more confident about my body. I love my curves, and know how to dress them. I'm still only human, so I'm not saying there's never a moment that I don't wish that perhaps the odd thing didn't wobble quite so much,and ocassionally I do find myself wondering how I would look/feel if I were 8 stone again (to be honest, I can't even imagine what I'd look like!) but generally I'm pretty happy.

Perhaps, for me, being skinny wasn't the answer, and I do think that it gives me a great perspective as a stylist. A lot of the women who come to see me are unhappy with their figures and believe that 'at their weight' (which honestly can be anything from size 8 to size 28!) they can never look good. It's interesting to see how these women of all shapes and sizes also 'think themselves fat' but in a very different way - obsessing over a non-existent massive bum, or determined that they're top heavy when in fact they have perfect hour glass figures. I hope that they can look at me and think, well, if she can do it, I can do it!  I love it when they leave a styling session feeling more confident, knowing how to dress their body shape.

I find it fascinating how linked to our weight our body confidence is, but if this study is correct, then it is the very obsessing over it that is causing the problems. I believe the key to it all is feeling good the way we are.

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