“More issues than Vogue” is the ditty that should hang on my bathroom wall. I'm talking body issues btw – there’s only so much space in one blog. I can always tell how my day’s going to pan out based on a) how much wine was consumed the night before and b) whether my waistband feels loose. Suddenly, concerned by weight and wine consumption, shit, I’ve turned into THAT woman.
I weigh myself twice a month, never used to. When I was younger, a fat day was dealt with by throwing on something short and loose with high heels and bright red lippy. Sometimes self-conscious, but not massively so, I ignored the scale and my imperfect bits, ate crisps and bought baggy clothes in “size too big”. I still shop like that, as the contents of my wardrobe prove.
My whole life, I’ve avoided tight dresses like Kim K avoids carbs, and hardly ever exercised before turning 40. Wear bodycon? I'd rather go on the Atkins diet. Go on a diet? I tried once – it lasted four hours. Back then, I could lose a bit by scoffing fewer peanuts with my pint. These days, I have to run a bloody marathon just to stay in the same-size jeans.
I’m fully aware I wear baggy clothes as a form of armour; I feel safe inside my tent. And the thought of wearing a slimmer-fitting dress is terrifying
Worrying about my weight only happened in the post-baby years, ie the last five. I vividly remember weighing myself at 40 weeks pregnant. Nothing quite prepared me for the number flashing between my toes. Unless the digital scale was taking the piss, I'd gained roughly six stone (minus the baby); no wonder the only shoes I could wear had Velcro straps. They were from Clarks. I wore them every single day. My arches collapsed under the weight and my thighs rubbed together, my arms busted out of shirts and my post-baby tummy looked like Big Daddy's. Compete at the WWE? I could have knocked out my opponent in one body bump. A walking deflated whoopee cushion, at some point during the first year of having a baby I became fixated on the numbers on the scale. Still am.
I’ve amassed a fine collection of tents over the years – not Glasto tents – big voluminous dresses. But after losing my big butt (twice) and sort of taking up exercise (still a bit crap at it, tbh), I’m ready to try something new. *Coughs, waves* Obviously there are no permanent plans to drop the tent-dress collection, I’m thinking just special occasions to begin with. Like big birthdays and weddings when most women make a mad effort to look super glam and I turn up wearing a weird tepee. I wear baggy clothes as a form of armour, as a security blanket. But it’s not my body I’m hiding: I’m just hiding. Tent dresses are my safe place, which is why I find the idea of wearing a slim fitting dress so terrifying, so exposing…
Like a lot of women, what I wear has everything to do with inner confidence than the numbers on the scale. I was probably no slimmer at 32 than I am at 42, but I am beginning to feel more body confident. Maybe that’s what happens when you lose 6 stone twice and start running a few times a week. Truth is I’m bored of hiding under swathes of fabric on a night out and feel now is the time to start practising what I preach, given I’m forever preaching “style ruts are ageing.” Two decades of baggy clothes, now that’s what I call an almighty style rut. Like I said, more issues than Vogue, but at least this is one issue I’m ready to put to bed.