Buddhism,  daily blog,  Mental Health,  My diet

Body positivity with a Chronic Illness

Hi everyone!

I have been hit full in the face with this over the last couple of weeks and it is something most people can identify with. I love my celebrities however my favourite actress is Nina Dobrev who somehow manages to be skinny, toned and have curves! I love my muscular men like Jamie Dornan, but I know my hubby sees them and wishes he could look like them!

Every TV show, film, magazine etc tells us we need to be muscular to be a sexy male and skinny and toned to be a sexy woman…though boobs and a big bum are a must! I have seen things about women with dark skin using lightening creams and even Korean people having eye surgery so they have different shaped eyelids!

So here I am saying that I am struggling because in the past I was thin, I was toned! Before I got sick I was a size 6 and I walked everywhere and did yoga, I went to dance classes and had a very physical job I was a nurse. Then I got sick and I went up to a UK size 12 I met my husband and then not too long after we got together I had a relapse of what they then thought was Multiple Sclerosis and I went into hospital for 3 days for high dose IV steroids…I then ballooned to a size UK20!!!

It has taken me a long time to get onto meds that allowed me to lose that weight, and thanks to Slimming World I got back down to a size UK10 and almost my goal of 91/2 stone….Then last year my Grandad passed away and I fell into a depression. I stopped watching what I ate and I stopped doing yoga every day and I got a little lost and in that year I put on a stone in weight and I went up a dress size which considering everything over a year is not that much. However, when I look at myself now I feel ugly, I have stretch marks from when I went from a 12 to a 20 in a short time, my body is no longer as toned and I feel very not sexy. In fact when I look at pictures of myself from last year I think I look ginormous!

So this year I promised myself I would get my diet sorted and get back to working out every day with the hopes that by the summer I will be doing yoga and taking my dog on short walks most days. One of my favourite You Tubers Helen Anderson is doing something similar and she is vlogging herself in the gym and instead of making me feel better it is making me feel worse! She works out to the point where she is sweaty and worn out and well I cannot do that! My body struggles with a 10minute walk and my short yoga sessions! By the evening I am in a ton of pain and struggling to stay awake on just that I just cannot keep up!

So I am trying to keep positive and please if you have a Chronic Illness and feel the same leave a comment below, but how am I meant to have a body that makes me feel sexy and good to myself when I cannot work out? How am I meant to get that sexy body when I spend most of my time sitting on the couch resting between tasks?

I follow a woman on instagram who gives me so much inspiration to try and love the body I have and not compare myself, Dana Falsetti she talks almost daily about body positivity and self love and sometimes the comments she gets make me want to cry no matter how they must make her feel!

So here I am asking you how do you keep from body shaming yourself when society sets such high and unreachable goals for able bodied people no matter we who are trapped in bodies that hold us back?

Namaste xxx

Picture source: totalbeauty.com

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  • Kirsty

    🙁 I know how you feel. For years I was pretty badly overweight and I found it almost impossible to shift that weight as I couldn’t get enough exercise and if I limited my food intake even a little I felt even more exhausted. It’s only recently when my health improved a little that I was finally able to get enough gentle excercise and had enough energy to reduce calorie intake that I’ve been able to slowly shed that excess. It still feels so precarious though in a way. A dip in health (and Christmas to be fair!) have set me back somewhat and I feel like I’ll never have the strength or energy to actually tone up. My flabby post baby tummy is not a pretty sight! Fingers crossed for the both of us that 2017 will bring us a little better health and happiness and I do believe the tide is turning, if so very slowly, on the impossible (often photoshopped) body “ideals”.

    • ZombieButterfly

      I know what you mean, with our health being so up and down it only takes a small dip and we are done for! I try to do yoga as much as I can but I do struggle to give myself the patience to not push too hard? I sometimes find when I do try to keep up with able bodied people I have relapses and I need to be patient and kinder to myself! I hope this year we both learn to be proud of our bodies and accept where we are today. xx

  • Kath Ballantyne

    I’ve always been sick, I’ve had the EDS and Fibro since I was a kid so the pain has always been bad but the fatigue wasn’t quite as bad. I was always tired but I crashed when I started work. I worked 3 days a week for like 9 months and ended up never recovering from it.
    Even when I was young & walking 8km a few times a week I wasn’t thin. I was a size 16(AU). Once I started on meds I ended up at a size 20 & can’t exercise much so that’s probably where I’ll stay.
    Walking causes pain & joint sublaxes. Some yoga is okay but some makes me pass out or dislocate my hips. Swimming is about the only thing I can do regularly. I’m hoping to get back in to doing that regularly.
    I have always hated how I look. I hated seeing myself in the mirror.
    In the last few years I’d seen a bunch of naked women on Tumblr. You just don’t usually see naked people who are normal shapes & sizes. Media is full of such perfect & unattainable images you’re poisoned with it from the time you’re born.
    I agreed with body positivity but had a hard time connecting it to me. But I realised while looking at images of fat women on Tumblr that I didn’t look much different and that was fine. I don’t hate myself when I look in the mirror any more.
    I saw some old episodes of How To Look Good Naked the other month & it was devastating how many women had obviously never seen other women like them so thought they were a freak & hideous.
    I’d like to weigh less so my joints weren’t under so much pressure but I don’t hate how I look any more. I still get nervous/embarrassed about other people looking at me but at least I can look at myself now.

    • ZombieButterfly

      It is so true I used to watch that and when I think back people always thought they looked worse and bigger than they actually did? I definitely think that we are hardest on ourselves and most of the time other people do not look at us with as much judgement and we do when we see a photograph or see ourselves in a mirror. It is so hard to connect the fact that we are just people and not well nobody expects us to look like the media tells us we should. I am definitely trying to be kinder to myself. xx

  • Genevieve

    This is a topic near and dear to my heart, I actually wrote a blog post about body positivity, disability, and chronic illness a few months ago! Its hard enough liking your body when you are a healthy able bodied person …let alone someone who is sick and/or disabled. It can even be hard to feel like I fit in the body positive community because a lot of that still revolves around health “exercise to be healthy!” “all bodies are good bodies” “focus on health not being thin”. A lot of those catch phrases DO NOT fit when you are sick and/or disabled.

    I find it helpful to talk to others who are sick/disabled and share when Im REALLY struggling with my body image. I also just have had to work towards some acceptance that I am sick and in a wheelchair so getting fit isn’t an option for me right now (and it may never be). It’s definitely hard, some days I just feel ugly and fat and I just try to remember that everyone has days like that.

    Thanks for this post, its such an IMPORTANT topic to discuss. It definitely helps me feel less alone <3

    • ZombieButterfly

      I agree with you totally it is like how are we supposed to accept ourselves when the adverts and models and actresses all look like even able bodied people could achieve. It is a good piece of advice to talk to others who are in the same position as me though I think that is something I am going to implement as well. xx

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