Lauren’s story.

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One day in the winter of 2017 I was having a perfectly ordinary Saturday. I’d woken up in the morning, taken a diet pill, washed it down with a Slimfast smoothie, and forced myself out into the cold to make sure I burned off all the calories from last nights dinner. Two hours later, I was passed out on my bedroom floor exhausted and reaching for my phone so I could find pictures of bodies I needed mine to be exactly like; to validate my reasons for constantly putting my body through hell.

While sifting through what I believed to be people celebrating #selflove, I found something different. A woman writing about loving her body as it was. In her own words, she was body positive, and she was daring to be visibly happy in a body that we’ve all been told we weren’t allowed to be happy in. There she was embracing all the parts of herself that I’d spent my whole life hating myself for – her soft stomach that rolled when she sat, the cellulite that covered the thickness of her thighs, the jiggle and sway of her arms as she moved.

I had never realised that was an option. Nobody had ever told me that shrinking my body didn’t have to be my ultimate goal in life. I’d only ever been told that ‘self-love’ would come once I looked like what society told me I should look like.

So two and a half years ago, I walked into my local library, searching for @bodyposipanda’s new book and I was anxious to get my hands on a copy. As I headed towards the ‘Self-Help’ section, I braced myself for the usual diet detox and lose-weight-fast books but the bright pink cover was the first thing that caught my eye, and I picked it up.

As I caressed the pages and looked down at Megan’s beaming smile I thought about some of the things that had led me to this point. I remembered being 8 years old at school, standing in line waiting to go back to class after morning break and having a boy the same age telling me he didn’t like me and a couple of other girls because we were fat. I remembered the time 10 years later in my first year at university when I decided to shut myself away instead of going on countless nights out with my new friends because nothing looked ‘right’ on my fat body. I pictured myself at many points in the years that had passed since then, at my fluctuating weight and many dress sizes. Then I snapped out of it because I realised in that moment, if I hadn’t found happiness hiding away from all the amazing opportunities life was throwing at me because I’m fat, then I was never going to.

So I decided to take a leap of faith. I immersed myself in Megan’s book and once I’d finished, the online body positivity community. Since then my whole life has changed, I’ve engaged both online and in real life with discussions surrounding body positivity which have branched out into other areas – feminism, sex positivity, periods, LGBTQIA+ ally-ship and much more that hopefully through working with @theempoweredwomanproject, I’ll be able to talk more about. And lastly, I hope that something I write about in the coming months will resonate with every single one of you and help you to make that leap wherever you need to, to reclaim your happiness and to take your power back. Because life is simply too short not to be happy!

Lauren @ TEWP x

(@missmethven)

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