The first time I became aware of my weight, I can’t remember exactly how old I was but my family would make comments like “Puff Puff stomach” because I had a pot belly.

They would make remarks about my weight and I wrote them in my diary, it’s funny because I’ve always enjoyed journaling and writing my thoughts down, I don’t know why I strayed from it for so long.

Looking back at pictures, I don’t even look fat but that’s beside the point because till this day, I struggle to see and accept what my body actually looks like.

Were my family my first ever bullies? I’m asking and not telling because I don’t know the answer to the question myself.

This is when I was first made aware of my weight.

My body is my flesh, the harness that shells my organs and what keeps me going.

My weight is an add-on if you like. It is a part of my body, but it is not my body. It does not define or identify me. To me, weight is just like any other feature, hair, nails, feet; we all have one, but they may differ in size and looks; some of us have little things that make our features stand out. A gap tooth, a beauty spot, a scar. They are all just add-ons but still help to make up this unique shell.

As a teenager, I was very conscious about my body, mainly because I went to an all-girls school and had the biggest thighs out of my peer group.

I remember saying I felt fat and one of my friends saying I was looking for attention, she said it in jest and to be honest, I probably said it in jest too but it made me feel like maybe other people weren’t seeing me like I was seeing myself – dysmorphia.

So many times, I broke down and cried because I felt like life was unfair, “God, why did you make me fat?”. I actually still ask God this question.

As I went through life, I gradually put-on weight, I had finally started making my own money. I ordered takeaways and I snacked pretty much all the time.

And then I started working in betting shops, it was a relaxed environment. I would sit down my whole shift.

As someone who was always in a rush, I often didn’t have time for breakfast, so I would have my breakfast, lunch and dinner at work.

I think it was around this time that I had the realisation, that I had never been ‘skinny’. I say this because a lot of people who put on weight throughout the years have probably had a period where they were small or considered ‘average’ but me, I had always been big.

I don’t recall ever having a period where I could be considered a slim person.

My grandma said it.

Whenever I would tell my grandma that I was losing weight, she would tell me not to. She said, even as a young girl, I’d always been bigger, this is just who I was, and do you know what? I liked that.

It made me feel like I had to accept my body, this is genetics, this is who I am but of course whenever I would look at myself, I wouldn’t feel like this body was something I could just accept.

This is because I had body dysmorphia, but I didn’t know what that was at the time.

A big part of how I felt about myself was external validation and comparing myself to my peers, I was the biggest out of my immediate circle of friends.

At the time, I was and still am a UK 18, the person who was 2nd biggest after me was a size 8…I often felt I had no one to relate to, which is why I’m writing this today because I know these feelings are not individual to me, many people experience them.

I had to seek therapy and a whole load of spiritual practices in order to shift my mindset into one of self-love because looking back, I know now what I was experiencing was self-hate.

I deemed myself as undesirable and convinced myself this was the sole reason, I was single, in my desperation to feel some sort of desirability, I slept with someone and it went downhill from there.

I didn’t enjoy sleeping with him and he also called me fat in the process, he thought he was complimenting me by pointing out that I had “fat legs” and calling me a “big girl”.

That honestly set me back a lot, alongside the other things that were going on in my life, it caused me to have an anxiety attack about a week later. I was used to having them by now and as frustrating as it was it honestly taught me that I couldn’t sex this away and I had to keep my emotions safe.

I want to apologise to my body for all the times I have hurt her and all the things I put her through, the harmful words I may have said to her and the times that I did not protect her.