Like many twenty-something women, I’ve spent much of my life wishing I looked different. Smaller thighs, smaller bum, longer legs, less wobbly arms, a flatter stomach, thicker hair, longer eyelashes, straighter teeth, plumper lips, brighter eyes, smaller feet… the list of things I’ve wished I could change about myself goes on and on.
I’ve signed up to every diet plan or workout guide out there, I’ve filled my basket with supplements promising everything from weight loss to faster metabolism, and I’ve bought clothing purely because it makes me look thinner.
In my teens and early twenties, I was consumed with anything that would make my comfortable and slightly squishy size 12-14 body look smaller – and my face look less ugly. I bought magazines that promised me ‘flattering looks for big bums’, I bought diet supplements and teas that promised a flat tummy in 28 days, and I’d drive out to a shop specifically to buy Spanx, false eyelashes, teeth whitener and even brightening eye drops. Anything to fool myself that I was enough.
And all these empty promises and fake solutions to a problem that didn’t even really exist has cost me a fortune. It’s costing all of us a fortune.
Whether we’re losing weight or not, a negative relationship with our bodies is expensive. Even when you do lose weight, you’ll need to buy new clothes to fit your smaller frame – and unfortunately, buy the bigger ones back again when you’ve come down from the high of starving yourself. Over a period of 5 years, I dropped from a size 14 to a 10, crept back up to a 12 again, dropped to an 8-10, and then slowly crept back to my lovably squishy size 12-14 again. As someone who’s always loved clothes, I can’t begin to price up how many clothes I’ve bought in different sizes over the years.
At 28, I’m approaching the inevitable crescendo of my coming-of-age years, and starting to make grown up decisions about my money. Looking back on the decade past, I truly can’t believe the amount of money I wasted on hating myself.
I’ve got a folder on my laptop of PDF workout guides I’ve purchased at $80 a pop, fuelled by confronting transformation photos and endless comments of praise at someone shrinking themselves in 12 weeks. I’ve got a wardrobe full of clothes worth hundreds of dollars that I’ve clung on to for ‘when I’m thin again’. I’ve got weight loss tea in my cupboard, low calorie recipe books and a gym membership that I hardly use but refuse to cancel for fear that means resigning to staying ‘fat’.
Shit. Self-hatred is expensive.
Over time, I’m gradually coming out the other side of this self punishment that’s become somewhat of a rite of passage for millennial women – and my finances are too. I no longer buy things purely because they make me look thin. I’m finding my ‘fat tantrums’ are becoming less and less frequent. I’m not going out buying clothes, makeup or beauty products to make myself feel better, prettier or more worthy. I’ve stopped buying shorts that are too small with the plans of slimming into them or using them as some kind of miserable motivation piece. I won’t pay $29 for the only pathetic salad on the menu when what I really want is a $14 burger.
As a generation, we’re depriving ourselves of the ability to buy property and get ahead financially, because we’re spending our money on hating ourselves instead. Next time you go to buy something, ask yourself whether it’s really bringing you joy, or whether it’s just diffusing a cloud of negativity brought on by a ‘fat day’ or discovering something doesn’t fit like it used to.
It’s one thing to go broke having a great time, it’s another to waste money on being miserable with yourself.
You are enough, and you deserve more for your money than $12.99 metabolism pills and a $95 tummy control swimsuit.