Starting from Experience at 40: Fat.Ugly edition

Last week I turned 40.

It was only right that I took some time on my birthday to write about how it felt; I shared Starting from Experience at 40 on the new 4.0 musings that I’ve added to my Officially Anny website. When you’ve finished here, go have a read and let me know how/if you’ve figured out this whole ‘growing up’ thing yet.

I couldn’t reflect on my forty years without thinking about the struggle I’ve had with my weight, body and self-esteem over that time, so I’ve saved this bit extra for you … the Fat.Ugly edition.

It’s sad to think about the years I spent trying to change my body or hide from it, not to mention the unhealthy life decisions I made, based on the belief that I wasn’t worthy of love because I felt fat and ugly.

That sadness (and sometimes regret) now turns in to gratitude.

I’m so grateful I became aware of this eating disorder. It would’ve been better if I’d known earlier in my life, but imagine if I’d never realised; I could’ve continued believing there was something inherently wrong with me and continued living a life that didn’t reflect who I really was – deep inside.

I remember hearing the words “Do it Fat and Ugly” as I made every excuse to put off the things I wanted to do. Those words shut down my excuses and highlighted how much of my life I was putting on hold. I was waiting to lose weight and feel slim and beautiful enough, but that time never came.

Truth is … I lost weight and still felt fat and ugly.

Why? Because it was never about being too fat or ugly.

As I’ve been courageously walking beyond the borders of my comfort zone, I’ve begun to realise that I was never afraid of doing things fat and ugly – I was afraid of having no idea what I was doing with my life at all. I’d had a plan to fly – cabin crew and then as a pilot – but my plan hadn’t happened. By my early twenties I was lost, disappointed and didn’t know what else to do. Being Fat and Ugly (and hating it) was the only thing I knew, so it was easier to focus on that rather than think about the unknown.

My treatment programme woke me up and offered tools that gave me hope – hope that I had what it took to reshape my life in to something that could make me happy and fulfilled. Who would’ve known I’d make a full circle and end up right back on track heading to Plan A, ready for take-off.

It may have taken a long forty years to get to this point where I feel confident about owning my life fully, but I’m so glad I got here. The adventure continues.

Whether we struggle with an eating disorder or not, let’s not hold ourselves back by beliefs that don’t serve our highest good or support the wildest dreams of our hearts. As I always say: You deserve it.

Now, to read what else I had to say about turning 40, head over to 4.0 Musings

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