Once a Fat Kid, always a Fat Kid
I was never, ever a skinny child, I’d always had a bit of extra padding but it was between the age of eleven and almost fourteen that I really developed my Fat Kid Syndrome.
I don’t know exactly how it happened, I suspect Happy Meals were involved, but I went from an adorable little child with big blue eyes, a button nose and long white blonde hair that I could almost sit on, to a thunder-thighed Ten Chin Toni overnight.
I looked like I’d just come back from a world tour of pie-eating contests. My facial features sunk deeply into the cushion of my facial flab, my stomach was round and none of my clothes would fit.
Mirrors were my enemy and I just couldn’t face up to them. I would look down or rush past just to avoid seeing my reflection. I wasn’t aware of it back then, but my self-esteem had rapidly started to disintegrate.
At the time my parents and grandparents kept trying to reassure me it was just puppy fat; it was all part of growing up and that it would soon fall off me. And they were right, it was only a couple of years that I dragged around an extra human’s worth of lard on my body before shedding the weight completely, but none of those wise words or lost pounds mattered; the damage was already done.
Mirror Mirror on the Wall
I’m not sure what my Biggest Loser breakthrough moment was, but I was about fourteen years old when I seemed to wake up one day and all of a sudden had a twenty-three inch waist, cheekbones and hips that protruded my washboard flat stomach. I’d lost it all – the weight had gone and I was physically no longer the fat kid I used to see in the mirror.
Since those mid-teen years my weight has bobbed around a centre-point like a buoy on breezy waters. I’ve had slightly chubbier times but I’ve also had fitness freak, pretty skinny times and I never really stray too far from where I’m meant to be. But while I’ve been keeping it relatively consistent on the outside I’ve failed to recognise just how poisonous my unstable yo-yoing perception of self has been on the inside.
On some days I look in the mirror and think well done you, you look bangin’ today. Then on others, twelve year old Laurie comes out and I can’t even look at my reflection unless the curtains are drawn. When I put a bit of weight on I spend the day chastising myself for letting it happen and I become so aware of it, I can feel my cheeks wobble when I talk and my thighs wobble when I walk.
The weight clings to me like the evil inner critic clings to my thoughts.
Big Girls Don’t Cry
Am I the only one putting my feeble self-esteem in the ring with Anthony Joshua?
Of course not.
It’s not just Fat Kid Syndrome that revs up our inner faultfinder into a psychotic frenzy. I’d say every single female I know has a never-ending series of self-punishing thoughts and actually, I think most of the men do too – they just seem to hide it better from themselves and in turn, from everybody around them.
One of my best friends in the whole world has one of those faces that is so incredibly beauty-full its like standing in front of a piece of art when you face her. She has pale skin, piercing blue eyes, the prettiest collection of face freckles, huge crimson coloured lips and thick glossy auburn hair. When she talks you can’t help but scan every millimetre of her face and wonder does she even realise how pretty she is. And the answer is… she doesn’t.
Another best friend has a figure that could rival Naomi Campbell, naturally flawless skin that no amount of botox could ever achieve and lips that would take a hundred lip fillers to compete with, yet she criticises herself more than anybody I know. I’ve actually witnessed an entire stag do of about twenty men go from loudly shouting to each other across a restaurant table to complete and utter silence as their jaws fell to the floor when she walked past. And that day she was in her T-shirt and jeans moaning about how she didn’t feel good.
It’s ludicrous and we wouldn’t dream of speaking to others the way we speak to ourselves.
Fat, Single and ready for a Pringle
The series of events happening in my life right now are convincing me that The Law of Attraction is real, and the only area I’m not really applying it is to is curing my FKS. So this week I’m giving it a go.
Yesterday I went for my usual morning 5km run, risking my life amongst the cars, mopeds and bicycles in Chiang Mai’s rush hour then in the afternoon I hit up my local gym. I say gym but it’s more like a hotel lobby where somebody happens to have dumped a few exercise machines from the 80s, but at £1 pay-as-you-go per session I can’t really complain.
The cardio machines in there are facing a mirror – the perfect place to start my ask, believe, receive mantra.
I stared at my body as I stomped ungracefully on the questionably safe conveyor belt and just like Shallow Hal in reverse, I saw my future me. I visualised myself toning up a lot and slimming down a little and I scanned my body, paying myself compliments for the things that I do like and am grateful for.
Over just the course of just a twenty minute run, an uncontrollable smile grew on my face – it was so nice to be saying nice things to myself and having a break from my usual torment.So when I got home, I wrote those positive words down and I realised this:
Strip back my warped perception of self and the reality I’m left with is that I’m usually a size 10 – maybe a size 12 at my biggest and size 8 at my smallest, and none of those are by any means “fat”. I’m also I’m pretty fit, healthy, active and have superhuman strength (on dance floors, I have been known to lift friends repeatedly by the crotch with one arm). And even if I skip a day or a few weeks of exercise and even if I commit carbicide on a large scale, I’m never going to balloon into a Fat Kid ever, ever again.
Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love.