I Don’t Always Love My Body

One of my favourite YouTubers Jessica Kellgren-Fozard posted a video earlier this month about the fact that it’s okay if we don’t always love our bodies. It really got me thinking about my own feelings toward my body and how I fit into the body positivity movement. I have a really complicated relationship with my body I can both love and loathe it sometimes within a day I can intensely feel both.

Before my accident I didn’t always like my appearance but it was pretty standard stuff, I’d like a flatter stomach, longer legs etc. I had my accident, then I got sick. All of a sudden I was putting on a lot of weight, I was in pain all the time, I was getting dark circles under my eyes and I felt awful. I didn’t recognise this body and I didn’t want it.

There have been hours where I’ve fought with my body, where I haven’t been kind or treated it well. Where I’ve restricted food that I wanted or pushed myself too hard to try and look how I used to before. Bare in mind that when I had the accident I was 20, I’m now 25 and I don’t know many women who can still fit into the same jeans from 5 years ago…

There are still times, days or sometimes weeks where I’m not happy. Where I can’t shout SELF LOVE and shake it all about. I do want to hide, I feel sad and I wear my baggiest clothes. I also get mad and upset and frustrated. And that’s ok.

When I am FEELING myself I will take pictures and post them online. I’m not wasting my days where I am in love with the way I look, people don’t want to see them? They don’t have to follow me. You can probably see where my physical and mental health are good because there will be a spatterings of selfies and outfit pics.

The thing is I know in the next 5-10 years my body will continue to change. I’m currently working towards getting fit and healthy so I feel better when I know all eyes are on me at my wedding AND so I can keep up with Ali on our honeymoon. After that I do hope to be a mother and my body will change again and then it will keep changing throughout my life.

When your body can go against you and there’s nothing you can do I think it’s pretty normal to have periods where you aren’t loving it. Where you don’t want to post pictures or smile because it’s maddening. I’m also still getting used to knowing that I will have issues for the rest of my life.

So, no I don’t always love my body but sometimes I feel great and want to share – I think that’s pretty normal. I still think we need the body positivity movement. We need to see stretch marks, different shapes, disables bodies and wobbles because airbrushing and ‘perfection’ is so done.

What’s your view on body positivity?

I'm Obese?

I’m Obese?!

Earlier in the year at a hospital appointment, I stood on the scales and burst into tears. Still classed as overweight, even obese. Despite the fact I’m a UK size 12-14, I felt dread and disgust that those words would be put on my chart. The nurse patted me on the arm and said don’t take any notice, hers said the same, another nurse agreed. This was rated on the BMI scale, which has been part of various debates.

Now, if you follow me on any of my social media you’ll know that I have curves, I always have. When I think and look back on my relationship with my body I’ve always thought I was ‘fat’. I want to go back in time and shake myself because between the ages of 16-19 I was tiny, I shouldn’t have worried about crop today or short dresses. I should have loved every inch of my self and I didn’t.

I started having a lot more issues with my body after my spinal injury. I couldn’t walk properly for months and any definition I’d gained horse riding was gone and had been replaced with weight gain. I was on a stupid number of tablets, mostly having to rest or use a wheelchair and as a result, I put on a lot of weight, I knew that. My face always shows it first.

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Me in 2015

 

As soon as I was in recovery I tried to lose weight, counted calories and went to rehab gym and it worked! I got down to a slimmer size. Then I graduated, got a job and stopped going to the gym, stopped counting and got bigger again.

Why am I tell you this? Why am I sharing this on the internet? Because I’m done with BMI. I’m done with this idea there is one perfect body and size we all should be. BMI doesn’t account for the fact that my boobs could probably be classed as a small country. It doesn’t account for athletes that are classed as ‘obese’ because of muscle. It doesn’t account for people who cannot be as physically active as they would like due to illness or injury.

Even though it’s hard I need to try and love my body, I need to not get absorbed by numbers and comparisons. I have boobs and I have a butt and I love them very much. I also have a ‘pouch’. I had this idea that I should shrink myself into being the same as I was when I was 18 and that’s not how bodies work as we get older. We’re not meant to look like our 18-year-old selves for the rest of our lives.

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Me in June 2018

So I’m going to try, try to be healthy while still loving the skin that I’m in. What about you? Do you have the same feelings? Let me know in the comments below!

Self-Care Update

Recently I wrote about my own self-care slip and you guys were amazing! I know that I’m a workaholic, I love to get things done and achieve as much as a possibly can…so relaxing takes a back seat. BUT, I have a great update for you all, there’s definitely been a change.

In the past week, I’ve started tracking what I’m eating to make sure I’m not over or under eating in line with my emotions. I’ve been filling up with a lot more protein when I can and trying not to binge on chocolate…that’s something I’m working on. I also haven’t weighed myself because I don’t want to get in a negative cycle. I will do it eventually but right now it’s not a priority.

I’ve also started doing Yoga every night! I know, hold fire. I was sceptical at first it’s just stretching, right? Wrong. So, so wrong. I can feel my muscles working and I’ve seen a difference in my stress levels. I look forward to that 20 or so minutes every night where I switch off and try to only focus on Yoga. I still get distracted and fall down at times but it’s a healthy start!

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And, finally, I went and got my hair done after much thought I just want and booked. This time I went to LK Hair in Newbury after wanting to since I started my job as I work with one of the owners. It was amazing. Not only are excellent at their jobs but they’re also the best in the UK, I have no chill.

In short, I hope this lasts. I hope I can be a little kinder to myself and make sure no matter how busy I get I make some time. There’s no doubt I’ll have slip ups but I’m trying and it’s definitely a start.

What do you do for self-care? Let me know in the comments below!

 

23 Things I’ve Learned in 23 Years

Yesterday I turned 23! I’m determined to make this a good year for me and already have some really exciting things planned but it made me think, what have I learned in the past 23 years on this planet? Well, here it goes…

You know your body better than anyone

There have been so many times that I’ve felt something wasn’t right and after being persistent with my doctors or consultants have been proven right. Listen to your own body and don’t be embarrassed to get a second or even third opinion.

You’re allowed to change your mind

I’ve changed my mind on so many things. It’s all part of growing up, adapting and changing. This isn’t always a bad thing! In so many situations you can and will change your mind.

Feminism is incredible 

Just like I said above changing your mind is allowed, I completely changed my mind on Feminism as I got more educated. It’s such a brilliant thing promoting equality, which is why I started my ‘Feminist Friday‘ series.

Everyone makes mistakes 

And that’s ok! It’s definitely a part of growing up. I am still a perfectionist and really struggle when I make mistakes so I have to remember this, almost on a daily basis.

Not everyone is meant to be in your life forever 

This was so hard but I’m a firm believer in this. Some people are meant to be around for a reason and then go.

Fun is what you make of it 

Sometimes I just like grabbing some dinner on a Friday night, others I like going out for a drink, others I like getting an early night. Fun is different for every person! Own it 🙂

Should is a shitty word 

I HATE the word ‘should’. Why is it even a thing! It just stresses us out, no, no, no, no.

 But No is a great one 

I’m still not great at using the word ‘no’ but it’s a powerful one and one to learn how to use.

Me time is so important

It’s not selfish. We all need some time to ourselves and that’s good for you! Personally, I like to curl up and read, write, watch YouTube whatever I feel like!

No one has the right to make you unhappy 

No one at all, whether that be family, friends, partners, colleagues. I spent too long letting other people impact my happiness, no more.

Mental Health is as important as physical health! 

Repeat, repeat, repeat!

If you don’t ask you don’t get

The worst someone can say is no.

How you see yourself isn’t always how others see you 

I’m not always the nicest to myself, think about the way your friends and those who love you see you. Trust me.

A good book is priceless  

Very few things are better.

Sleep is important, not overrated  

It’s so important to get enough sleep. For me if I don’t get enough sleep I feel really poorly. So, to all who tell me sleep is for the weak, I’ll be in my Harry Potter PJs, snuggled up under the duvet.

A few good friends are worth more than  loads of acquaintances

I used to want to be part of a huge friendship group, then I realised I didn’t really want or need to be. What I did want was to have friends who knew and loved me.

Saving money is important but so is treating yourself sometimes 

I saved constantly through uni and was obsessed with saving. It was also driving around in a car from 1996 that I thought would go on forever. Thankfully my family convinced me that maybe it was time to let go and use my savings to buy another car…

The voices in your head don’t always tell the truth 

They can be your worst enemy, don’t listen to it.

Let go of the rigid life plan 

I had a plan, I had a perfectionist plan. I was going to graduate uni with a first, come out and get a good job, save for a house, get married, have children. Then life happened. I broke my spine and that changed everything. I lost my job, that changed everything. I got a job I loved, everything changed again. I’ve let go of a rigid plan and have goals instead.

Find exercise you love, you’ll thank yourself later 

I was always adamant that I hated exercise. I hated PE at school and thought I’d never like exercise. Then I found horse riding and I fell in love with it. Now, post injury,  I quite like the gym.

It’s ok not to be ok 

I will keep saying this until I’m blue in the face, I even wrote a whole blog about it. You can read it here.

There is nothing wrong with a good night in! 

I go ‘out out’ once a month. I save money and get to stay in my PJs, what’s not to love here?

No one really knows what they’re doing

This is the most important lesson. Everyone is winging it, absolutely winging it.

 

Things I’d tell myself at sixteen

I’ve been quite reflective recently and thinking a lot about my teenage years, particularly as my sister is fast approaching her 16th (!!) birthday. Now I’m in my twenties, and believe me that’s a rollercoaster enough, but I had a tough time as a teenager, it wasn’t easy but at the same time some of the best things happened to me. I think we all have a certain view of our teenage years. I don’t agree with people saying that it’s the ‘best time of your life’ but there are certain times I look back on fondly. So, here are some of the things I wish I told

I don’t agree with people saying that it’s the ‘best time of your life’ but there are certain times I look back on fondly. So, here are some of the things I wish I could go back and tell myself to just give me a bit of a hand and the things I’ve learnt.

School isn’t forever. 

My life was hell at school, sometimes it felt like it was never going to end but it definitely did and it was glorious.

You’re right to look forward to college, it’s going to be great. 

I lived and breathed for my college. I could do classes I wanted to escape the people who hated me. I used to go and meet Ali from his day with butterflies. It was definitely a good two year with some great friends.

Trust him when he says he loves you, he does. 

I’ve been with Ali for almost 9 years. I had such issues at sixteen that I wasn’t good enough, that he was going to leave me etc. I was a complete nightmare. I wish she knew he’s still around now.

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Don’t hate yourself, you’re not well. 

I was incredibly ill with depression at this point, I literally felt like I was going insane and ruining everyone’s lives. I wish I knew that it was all to do with an illness and not because I was a terrible person.

Others opinions don’t matter

Can not stress this enough!

You can have a great future!

 I didn’t think much about the future much, I couldn’t but I wish I knew that I could get there.

Keep singing, keep writing, keep being creative! 

There were more than a few times I just didn’t want to do it anymore, what was the point, why bother? It was going to do more for me than I thought!

Ignore your art teacher, you’re never going to impress her. 

Seriously, the woman had her favourites, I wasn’t one of them.

Talk to someone. 

Just talk about how you feel.

YOU.ARE.NOT.FAT

Seriously, I would shout this until I was blue in the face if I could. I really struggled with the way I looked and thought I was chubby but I really, really wasn’t.

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The house parties are going to continue, they’ll be some of the best memories of your life. 

Best. Time. Ever.

Think about uni, just think about it. 

I thought it wasn’t for people like me. Oh I was wrong.

Love yourself, cause you’re pretty awesome. 

Something I still need to remember at 22.

 

What do you wish you knew at 16? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feminist Friday: I Wanted a Boob Job Once

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I am proud to call myself a feminist. I’m proud to fight for equality and the right for women to do what they like to their bodies. When I was younger, I wanted a boob job, or at least I thought I did. Let me back-track, it’s a little embarrassing, don’t say I didn’t warn you. When I was little I thought that the Glamour models on page three were some of the prettiest ladies I’d ever seen. I picked up a copy of the paper they were in and told my parent I wanted to do that when I grew up. My Mum laughed, my Dad not so much, it was a strange announcement for a 3-year-old.

How do you feel about that? Shocked? Angry? Upset? I could easily blame the media and rage, but I don’t. Do I think there should be a topless model in a newspaper? Ask me a few years ago I would have said yeah, sure. Now though, not so much. I don’t understand why there are topless women on the third page of a national newspaper. I honestly believe that was my first instance of thinking that makeup and big boobs could make you happy.

When I was a pre-teen Katie Price (also known as Jordan) was all over the media, she’d started her romance with Peter Andre and she wanted to be an empire. Some part of me fell for it. I had about a year where I thought modelling and glamour something I wanted and that big boobs were what you needed. I met her, I thought she was really nice, friendly and talented. As I got older I realised that it was all an illusion and that after puberty showing off my body was the last thing I wanted to do.

I don’t think there are problems with people having cosmetic surgery if it is going to make them happier or feel more confident in themselves. I do think, however, that their state of mind, intentions and full understanding of major surgery. The fact that there are places in the world where doctors don’t think twice about giving people these procedures is wrong.

As an educated adult I can see the problems that a little girl couldn’t. That Katie Price has a lot of problems and what appears to be a front to make people believe she is an ‘it girl’. To some extent, I’m glad that I’m not comfortable showing my whole body, that I don’t feel comfortable in makeup and heels. I’m pleased that I value my mind and my achievements more than my body. For some, they are caught up in this world, they let these ideas of beauty define them.

We don’t need feminism to tell women they can’t wear makeup or heels. We don’t need to judge others. We do need so that women and girls can make informed decisions and know that there isn’t one acceptable way to look. That’s the issue here, the lack of diversity, the lack of education. Less people would be striving for cosmetic surgery if all body shapes were represented.

What do you think? Join the conversation below or tweet me @chloemetzger

The Gym Return.

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On Monday night I sat down and set up a gym membership, my goal was to get back to my workout routine pre deadlines. I have to admit knowing that I’m going to have to fit it around work rather than having my chilled sessions with Alice made me think twice about signing up. That said after my routine slipped I noticed that I put back on a little bit of weight and I wasn’t feeling as good in myself. With the move as well my mental health has been more tricky to deal with so I needed to dose myself up with some gym love.

I’m writing this, and I know it will be short, curled up in blankets and trying not to fall asleep but I feel SO GOOD. My body aches but I’m just proud of myself for getting off my ass and going after work. It helped that I went with my sister too and got to work out and talk to her. The most important thing is that I’m doing this for myself. I want to get fitter and try to help the pain in my spine, I want to be able to help my depression by working out. Losing weight is a plus but it’s not the reason I’m going any more, feeling healthy is much more important than what anyone else thinks of me or my body.

 

Image from Pinterest.

Book Review: Strong Looks Better Naked – Khloé Kardashian

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“In every life, there is struggle. No one is immune from pain and suffering. But it won’t last. Life moves forward. The circumstances will change. This applies to both the bad feelings and the good. Nothing lasts forever. When you think about this, the only moment you really have is the present, and you have to learn to enjoy it.”

Last year while I was resting up, I became a Kardashian viewer, starting off with Caitlin’s (then Bruce) family special about her impending transition. I was surprised when I loved watching and soon started watching more and more episodes and fell in love with Khloe. Not only does she have a pretty amazing name (the only famous Khloe I know of other than the brand) she’s honest and the release of her first book came at a time when I needed a boost.

Strong Looks Better Naked is a book focusing on Khloe’s transition of mind, body and soul and her journey of not only her weight loss but also her emotional journey. Being on Keeping Up With The Kardashian’s you might think that we know everything about Khloe’s life and that the tabloids have it right when it comes to her divorce from Lamar Odom, but this book shows that there’s still a lot that Khloe keeps private. We see a strong woman, but not the personal struggles she faced.

In the press Khloe has been referred to as the ‘chubby sister’ or the ‘fat sister’ and so her weight loss got a lot of attention, being called a ‘revenge body’. The book goes through the reasons behind Khloe’s gym addiction, as something to focus on when other parts of her life were privately getting darker. Weight loss isn’t the only focus in the book, she talks about a whole lifestyle change, mentally and spiritually, giving an honest account of the ups and downs of her journey.

Think whatever you want of the family, their show, the money and all of that but when I was reading the book I felt like it was totally honest. There are some parts which I didn’t necessarily agree with, such as cutting out all dairy, and I think you need to have your own input rather than following all of the advice blindly. That said though, it is good for some general advice and has some lovely quotes alongside the chapters too. I found it to be so motivating at a time where I was having to change my life after my spine had broken and I needed to go to tough physiotherapy. I felt like I could read about someone else’s healthy releases and try them out for myself, I became more than a little in love with the gym myself.

Overall I think this is a great book to read if you’re going through a transition in your life this is a great read. I honestly had reservations about reading it but I ended up falling in love with Khloe’s story, her way of writing (as documented on KUWTK, Khloe wrote the book herself rather than using a ghostwriter). I gave this four stars ****, I really enjoyed reading, but as I said before didn’t necessarily agree with all of the advice given, which is fine. It doesn’t feel like a self help book but definitely gave me the kick I needed when I was struggling.

Sunday 7 – 7 Things I’ve Learnt Since Breaking My Spine

I’ve been feeling fairly emotional in the last few weeks about today. It’s been one year since breaking my spine and I just feel kind of weird about it. I broke down in tears after a particularly bad pain day, because I’m still in all this pain a year later. I just felt so fed up but then I had a hug with Ali and he reminded me of what I’ve been saying to myself for the past 12 months. I may be in pain but I’m still here and I’m still walking. What happened to me was bad enough but it could have been a lot worse! I’ve also really grown as a person in the past year, my opinion on life has changed and I’m truly grateful. I wouldn’t go as far as saying that I’m glad it happened, it changed a lot and I didn’t have the best year BUT I am really proud of myself, how I’ve reacted and what I’ve learnt.

You can have all the ridged plans you want, but life doesn’t work that way.

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Before the accident, I had a plan of how my life would go and it would go that way. I was like I’ll graduate then and I’ll go straight to my masters, then my Phd. I’ll have a house by this time, a dog, a child, another child, I WILL HAVE CONTROL. I learnt after the accident that life can throw ANYTHING at you, there was a point where I physically couldn’t walk. Of course, I didn’t plan that, no one plans almost losing the ability to walk. It made me realise that I can’t have this idea of infinite control, so I’ve let go a little. Things will happen as they do, I only have so much control.

Stop being so hard on yourself! 

Recovery was hard, super hard. I constantly get told by my physiotherapists, pain specialists, lecturers, family, Ali that I need to stop being so hard on myself. They’d remind me all the time this wasn’t a small break, this was a huge part of my body trying to fix itself. So what if I put on weight, if I didn’t get the top grade in my class. I realised striving to be great is good but I don’t have to be perfect all the time.

The human body is a beautiful and amazing thing.

For a long time after the accident and sometimes still now I resented my body. I hated that it had broken in such a simple fall, I hated the stretch marks that had bloomed all over my thighs, I hated the fact people commented on how much weight I’d put on and I hated that I didn’t fit into any of my clothes. I had a realisation at a point that I just thought my body has been doing so much work. It’s literally been healing the main pillar in my body that hold everything together, that’s amazing.

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When you’re sick enough, you can cope with your hatred of needles/hospitals/ claustrophobia. 

I still hate needles, I will always hate needles BUT when you’re sick enough (like when I was in the hospital earlier in the year) you get on with it. I still don’t like hospitals (who does) but now it’s just another place I have to go sometimes. I won’t lie having my MRI and CT scans were pretty nerve wracking and claustrophobic but the people running them understood that. Basically you can get through a lot more than you think you can.

The gym is better than any therapy session and any religion. 

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If you’d have asked me a year ago about loving the gym I would have laughed at you, now I’m stressed when I CAN’T go. The gym is a love and an obsession and I can’t wait to get back into routine and slowly keep building my muscles and be in so much better shape than I was a year ago.

It’s ok to have days where it all feels like too much. 

You’re only human, you need these days, it’s okay!

The people who stick around are the ones that are meant to be there. 

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My relationships changed a lot after the accident, I lost a lot of people and I gained some others. More than anything I learnt that the people that are meant to be there will be. I also learnt that some people are in your life for a certain amount of time and that’s okay too. I’m a firm believer in everything happens for a reason.

Stress and Our Bodies!

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Now this isn’t the first time I’ve written about stress on this blog and I was pretty hesitant to write tonight with the fear of seeming like I’m moaning or one of those people who just drones on about how stressful their life is. BUT. I’ve realised lately, particularly through the lovely Twitter community that unless we talk about these things they won’t get better.

I’ve been reading again lately about mindfulness and CBT (which I’ve already been taught to do and helps me along). All I’ve heard lately from my peers is how stressed, exhausted and teary eyed we’ve all been because of the upcoming deadlines. A lot of people I know have been getting sick, not sleeping, random bouts of tears or having panic attacks. It got me thinking about stress and how much it can have an impact on people’s bodies and why we still won’t talk about it and just accept it as part of our daily lives.

Once again I’ve been tucked up in bed and had a sleepless night because my body has reacted badly to academic stress. This is roughly the third time I’ve been this poorly. The first was the year I was sitting my GCSE’s I was very poorly all year from a combination of my undiagnosed depression and stress from my classes and bullying. The second time was the run up to the big deadlines for my BTEC and A Levels. During my final (and most important) exam I spent the night up with sickness and a bad headache, and the proceeded to throw up in my exam…not my best moment. This time, of course it’s related to being in third year, and like my final year of school I’ve been poorly for most of the academic year.

I’m never usually this poorly when it comes to other types of stress. Working two jobs? Awesome. Keeping my house good at the same time? Done. But submitting essays and assignments is a whole different level of stress, even though I enjoy it and when I’m done I’m so proud. I’m getting better at trying to manage how the stress and how it affects my body but I do have a condition that’s hard to manage. It’s been proven that anxiety and IBS go hand in hand, which isn’t good news to me as my diagnoses is only a month old and I’m learning a lot fast in a highly stressful time in my life.

I guess what I’m trying to say (and I am writing this on only a few hours sleep) is that we need to realise that stress is a trigger for a lot of health problems and we need to recognise it. Over the summer I’m planning to look into mindfulness as a way to try and tackle my anxiety and therefore my IBS as well as carrying on to consider my diet, which plays a HUGE part in IBS.

I’m also trying to remember that the last 2 times I got sick and worried and cried a lot over my perfectionism in relation to grades (which may I add is only put on by myself, no one else puts pressure on me at all) it all turned out ok. I got really good results in my GCSE’s and my A Levels. I’m just trying to remind myself through all this that it’s been ok in the past and that I’m doing the best I can physically and mentally do right now and I guess that’s all I can do.

 

As always I’d love to hear from you guys, how to do react to stress? Do you have any tips for me? Leave a comment below!