This post deals with eating disorders and might be triggering for some readers.
I’ve never been a petite woman. As far back as I can remember, I was a little wider and curvier than my peers.
I was painfully aware of this difference as early as Year 8 when I went shopping for a dress with friends. I continued to struggle with my body image through high school, into university, and through pregnancy with both my daughters.
It was only in the fall of 2018 that I really started putting work into accepting and loving myself, no matter the shape and size.
Side note: Here's how to improve your daughter's relationship with body image. Post continues below.
Loving myself will be a life-long journey.
It will take time to reverse decades of body shaming and unforgiving language I inflicted on myself. As if that was not enough of a challenge, I also had to dismiss my partner's judgment of my physical body.
He was fat-phobic. His phobia did not manifest in fear of being fat himself, but it allowed him to body-shame me, and treat me like I was unworthy of his love and acceptance at any shape or size.
We met in 2008 at the height of my disordered eating.
When we first started dating, I wasn’t honest about my food issues, and soon he realised that I avoided eating in front of him. He wanted me to be open and honest about my vulnerabilities, so he could support me through them — and I believed him.
The first red flag I ignored came disguised as a gift for my 18th birthday. Only four months after we’d met, he bought me workout gear.
The gear was complete with two spandex racer-back tank tops, shorts that were a size too small, and running shoes. I hadn’t run since middle school where it was a P.E. requirement, nor did I ever express an interest in starting up.
I appreciated the gift, but noted that it’d have to exchange for a different size, to which he responded —