Hindsight! It can help to progress and improve into the future.

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Prompted from a scrolled research hour online, I was reading a blog or article call it what you may, written by Ali Roff. The article opens:

There’s a moment I’ll never forget; walking up the steps of the school bus, aged 12, overhearing my friends calling me fat. That’s when I first realised that I could be validated by the way I looked, and so began to validate myself by it, too.

Ali Roff. 


Validation! I can relate to this on many levels.  When I was a late-teen (16), I was body conscious. I was always called the ‘big one in the family’. If friends said anything? I don’t recall. I became so absorbed in my own body dysmorphia that I never gave my friends a chance to criticise. I became the greatest self-critic for self-annihilation. I tried the laxative diet, the eat nothing diet, the hate-being-me diet, because everyone and everything around me was I assumed their better-self.  

With a little retrospective positivity thrown in, self-loathing made me bitter.  The bitterness, it made me slimmer, self-controlled and self-annihilating. But, slimmer!  

This bitterness which surrounded my body, it was curated within my life experiences as a child. Innocent times. It was initially linked to ‘words’, if people had considered their choices of words around me. I may not have become so paranoid of the self. Or maybe I was simply being too sensitive?!

To toughen up, don’t we have to be exposed to the negatives, to find the positives?

My bitterness didn’t simply stay associated to the body and size. My hair was dull, my eyes were too small, my ears were too big, I think the expression ‘radar lugs’ was supposed to be funny but, over time, the banter, it wore thin.

I really needed to get a back bone.  I told myself this. And as a seventeen-year-old, I began to see my back bone, it was a satirical pleasure, amidst the pain and anguish caused by lack of nutrition, and lack of kind words. Yes, I was slimmer. I was skin and bone, no muscle, no healthy motivation. Strangest thing. I never at the time felt any better about myself, there was always something else; a zit, a lump, a jiggle in the wrong place. 

Now, jump ahead with me. Through tons of life experiences and many trials. Life is not a text book that we sit and read about at our leisure. Life impacts, it affects and our conditioned environment, circumstances, and actions, they are reflective and reactive.

The good news is, we do have the power to embrace an alternate perspective. I did. It is possible to become self-aware and with a hint of kindness, and self-appreciation, mainly whilst living in Rhodes, Greece, alone.  I survived those difficult teen times.

Nowadays, I recognise I have a personal pre-judgement toward the skeletal framed women and men within entertainment and media. I only accept them if they are runners, because, my partner runs, and he’s fit and slim, but he has muscle on the bones, under the skin. There is a huge difference in appearance with muscles attached.

I recently self-researched online the purpose of the body’s muscles, because although I love my motherly and womanly curves, health has become a huge factor of importance to me since deciding to choose to look after my-self, and not to rely upon the NHS. I want to be natural in my vintage years.

Muscles are a part of the body’s mainframe, and you may be reading this and thinking. Yes! I know.  

That’s what I was thinking. People know this already.

But, if we all know this, why don’t we pay attention to looking after our muscles? They in turn look after our bones, which cleans and produces our blood. Muscles also strengthen body posture, and aid in the production of enzymes which improve the condition of our skin and so on. It was just a bit of research. There are more professional bodies out there to ask, if you want to find out a little more for yourself, call this a sign-post. 

So, what about me. Practising is preaching and all that chit-chat:  I am presently healthy eating, and working out with a little step, rpm and zumba at the local leisure centre, and I have gained in weight (because I am repairing the muscles in my body, which I have bitterly neglected for decades.)  I often laugh when healthy websites suggest throwing away the weighing scales, but on this occasion I am keeping mine, because I hope to identify my actual true healthy weight. I’ve been fighting against the suggestion that I am ‘the big one in the family’ for too long.  It's taken me an English Degree to learn to appreciate that, words, they can be interpreted upon so many levels, and yes, I may be bigger than the bunch, but maybe that’s because back then I was the healthiest. Who knows for sure? All I'm learning is that hindsight, it can help to progress and improve into the future.

Finding the balance that suits the self, it's the greatest challenge of mine.

I recall, when my daughter was aged six, she came home from her primary school saying she had been weighed and she was one of the heaviest in the class; her radiance, her smile, turned upside down, and I said ‘You’re perfect, and you are healthy, and that’s more important than the BMI do-gooder charts.”

I called the NHS afterwards and asked, ‘why have you suggested my child is obese, when she is healthy.’ The Nurse replied. ‘Don't worry, we're more concerned about the children that are underweight and nutritionally lacking.’

Being aware, mindful and healthy - life - can be complex.  Ali suggests in her own words ‘the feeling of my body becoming stronger was beautiful. It’s our choice how we view our own bodies, and our belief in what we can achieve with them that creates results.’

With a leap and a jump, isn’t life amazing.

If you want to read more of Ali’s 3 minute article. it was over here, but it may move, the internet can be unpredictable. 

Julie Spencer

Ambassador and Learning Support Assistant, Psychologies Magazine

Proud Ambassador for Psychologies Magazine. The magazine encapsulates many of my core values: being kind, have compassion, look after your health and wellbeing, be professional and be supportive of others. A little self belief can go a long way. I have studied as a mature student. I went into a writing frenzy and spent 3 years writing in solitude. I was a stay at home mum, too. What I learned: being alone for long periods of time is bad for your health and wellbeing. Thanks to a little nudge from Psychologies Magazine I am reconnecting and rebuilding my C.V. I'm a creative. I have lots of ideas and I need to constantly realign my focus onto one project at a time. Until recently I had a real fear for public speaking, but after reading a book that suggested I acknowledge my fears and challenge them anyway; with the support of the Psychologies community and more I'm working through my fears one blog at a time.