Last week, I stepped on the bathroom scales, something I've not done over the past six months as I've started to care less and less about what my body looks like and more and more about what it can do. But I had a feeling I'd been lying to myself on quite a large scale (see what I did there?!) about the number of biscuits snaffled from the tin at work or "I deserve a treat!" meals at the weekend. I was right.
Most people lose weight over the summer but with trips to Lisbon, London and Cardiff as well as a general feeling of boredom towards my exercise routine, half a stone has crept its way onto my waistline and thighs. Of course, my boobs haven't gotten any bigger. Typical.
A recent topic of debate in the pub: The worst thing you can call a woman. After the usual suggestions of 'cunt' and 'twat', I commented: "Sadly, I still think the worst thing you can call a woman is 'fat'." Everyone slowly nodded in agreement, possibly remembering a time they said it in anger or had it in return.
Not so long ago, I would have used the "F" word as a weapon of personal torture. I'd have it on repeat in my head when I was in the shower, when I dressed for work, when my stomach rumbled near lunch. I'd tell myself, "You don't deserve to eat. You are too F - A - T already."
This time, I shrugged. I swapped the misery-inducing "sweat with Kayla" app on my phone for Nike. I did yoga and realised I can plank for over a minute and did my first full push up. I bought some fruit. I drank mint tea in the evenings when I got the urge to nip to the pub for maltesers. I kept a bottle of water on my desk at work. I finally cut meat out of my diet again.
Of course, I can't keep the self esteem demons at bay 24/7. I still give myself a hard time now and then but only for five minutes rather than five days. My workout is driven by a desire for the upper body strength I've never had and the dreamy vintage dress that threatens to tear if I put my arms above my head. I'm starting to realise that the well-rehearsed deflection phrases I use whenever I'm given a compliment are a reflex rather than something I actually think about myself. I've just said them to myself so often that I'm now breaking a habit of over a decade.
As I said in my latest YouTube video, I am one of the lucky ones. Loving yourself is a lifelong struggle and I say that as a size 10-12 able bodied white woman. The messages from the media are geared in my favour (that's a post for another day). I'm not quite there yet but I know I will be. Now, I'm off to do my yoga and eat some cheesecake.