Saturday 24 February 2018

Leslie Ann Horgan: 'Why I am taking the LBD challenge'

Taking the LBD challenge: Leslie Ann Horgan
Taking the LBD challenge: Leslie Ann Horgan

It's the photos that do it. When I look in the mirror I'm realistic, but relatively happy with the reflection. But when I see myself in a photograph, it's like looking at someone else altogether.

That person, that other me, has huge thighs and flabby arms and hips so wide that they hold my gaze in a magnetic horror.

When I'm confronted with a photo of myself by a friend, or in a Facebook post, I do the unimaginative thing and make a joke to distract from the tightening of my throat that comes before tears.

There have been lots of those moments in the past year, as the pictures from friends' weddings - the last just three weeks ago - revealed what I really looked like on days when I was my best, dressed-up self.

Each time I vowed to 'do something about it' before the next wedding came around. Each time I did nothing.

While I have never been - and have no desire to be - a size zero, up until my mid-20s I was both fit and slim. I played sport and danced, and ate healthily; easily burning off any indulgences through my active lifestyle.

After that, though, came repeated injuries and mounting working hours and I began to let thing slip. I took up drinking, too, at the age of 24.

Slim or not, I have never paid any attention to weighing scales, in fact I don't own one. But my clothes told the story of those swelling thighs, arms and hips that came with inactivity and late night raids on the office vending machine.

For a long time I was a size 12 and happy with it. Then I reached a 14 and told myself it was just temporary. I'd 'do something about it'.

Now, age 34, I'm 5ft6, and headed towards a size 16. Many people would, quite rightly, be happy with that. But I am not. When you can't look at yourself in a photo without wanting to cry, it's time to actually do something about it.

Leslie Ann Horgan is editor of Weekend Magazine. Check in next week to see her progress in the LBD Challenge

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