Earlier this week I went to see an independent showing of the film Embrace. It was wonderful to have a tiny part of its organisation (I sold raffle tickets!) and it was an inspiring mix of talks from amazing women together with a brilliant film.
The point of the night was to forget about the social convention that women need to look young, skinny and beautiful and instead focus on loving ourselves for who we are, no matter what size we are.
This raises some issues for me personally - I don't want to be overweight. To be honest I don't to be super-skinny either. I've been underweight and I didn't like being able to see my bones poking through my skin. These days I carry a few more extra pounds than I'm comfortable with and frankly I want to be able to fit into my trousers!
And yet, although I go through this debate in my head, I would still say I have a pretty healthy body image. So how can I combine these two, what look like, opposing views into a healthy me?
To me loving myself isn't necessarily earing what I want, when I want and lazing around watching TV all day. Occasionally it is - after all we all need duvet days eating ice cream and binge watching the latest box-set.
For me, truly loving myself is giving myself what I NEED. This means eating well and to me that is a relatively low-carb diet full of fresh vegetables and homecooking. It is limiting how much alcohol I drink and how much sugar I eat. When I was a child, my mum was very strict on sugary treats because she loves me.... so I am strict on sugary (and these days alcoholic) treats because I love me and I want to nurture my body.
Loving myself is also ensuring I get enough exercise. If you listen to any of my health talks you will hear me talking about the dangers of sitting (spoiler alert: it's really bad for you). Our lifestyles are so sedentary these days so loving myself includes giving myself a kick up the butt to get off the sofa and out for a walk, or dancing or the gym.... but not lazing around on the sofa.
Growing up in today's society it is highly likely we'll develop some sort of slightly skewed body image view and we do need to find a way of shaking that. My way is thinking that loving myself me giving my body (and mind) what it needs and while sometimes that's chocolate and corrie, more often it's meditation, a healthy diet and exercise.
How are you going to love yourself today?