12/12/2014 06:53 pm ET Updated Feb 11, 2015

Why I Couldn't Look Myself in the Mirror

Arman Zhenikeyev - professional photographer from Kazakhstan via Getty Images

It was only quite recently that I was able to look into a mirror. I don't mean at my face -- in fact, I quite like my face.

I would peer at myself intently, wondering why my eyes were like that or whether it was true that I had my father's nose.

Or even despairing over a stealthy pimple that refused to back down. My face wasn't the problem. It was everything else.

I don't know if you remember this season of Mad Men, but it stood out for me. In the second episode, we get the first glimpse of Betty Draper -- the ex-wife of the standoffish, undeniably handsome protagonist Don Draper.

While I knew that the actress who plays Betty (January Jones) was pregnant through some of the filming of this season, my mind wasn't quite prepared to see how the storyline had decided to deal with it.

Betty has gained weight.

The toll of being a bored, suburban housewife -- seemingly lost after dutifully popping out three kids and now comfortably settled into her new marriage -- was fat.

I looked at Betty on my screen and nearly cried. The unhappiness was so clear.

There is one scene from that episode that I remember quite clearly -- Betty is immersed in her bath, water up to her neck and her new husband comes in. He asks if she is coming and she motions for him to turn around while she gets out.

He protests, saying, "Darling, you're beautiful," but she insists and speedily wraps the towel around her wobbly, uncomfortable body.

I got it.

That moment, that refusal to let even the closest people look at you at your most exposed - I got it.

You see: I used to do that.

Getting changed with the lights off, close the doors, insisting on my husband turning around, wearing the most oversized bulky clothes to disguise any semblance of shape my body had.
I knew all the tricks to avoid seeing myself and letting others see me.

If I managed to catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror, I would poke and prod the areas that I hated and the resulting jiggle would just cement my thoughts.

I lived like this for months. (Actually, since we are being honest, years.)

Since I got married -- putting on weight after the wedding -- I wasn't prepared.

The weight of trying to do it all was weighing me down physically, mentally and emotionally. The pressure to be the best at each of the roles I had in life was taking its toll and I didn't know who I was anymore.

I was overwhelmed, stuck and struggling.

Over the years, I tried and failed to lose weight. I'd be so excited and upbeat at the start of each new month, or year and by the end I would have gained back the same five kilos I had managed to lose.

But what was the worst of it were the constant, obsessive thoughts I had.

Of food, my body and my weight. Like all of these were directly responsible for my unhappiness.

That LIFE itself wasn't happening they way I longed for because I wasn't thin enough. Or good enough. Or smart enough. (Because when that voice started, it just kept going.)

I don't know what it was, but sometime in the last year or so I just....stopped.

Stopped thinking of myself like that. Recognizing that if I wanted to feel better that I needed to be in a place in my mind to accept that I could no longer treat myself like that.

So what did I do?


Of rules. Of extremes. Of negativity. Of eating crap that made me feel like crap.

Trust me when I say there are days when I leave the house and feel on top of the world. I walk down the street and happen to catch a glimpse of myself in the windows of the building I'm passing by and then feel the familiar feeling of my heart drop.

But what would have caused me to spiral down into a place of self-loathing, these days...I make myself look.

Set my shoulders, take a deep breath, look at my reflection squarely and really look.

And I see the parts of myself that I never took the time to notice.

The legs that have taken me across countries, that gives me the ability to walk, run, and balance when I ask them. Even if I'm not the best at this - I can do it.

The arms that have been used in endless hugs, building our home, creating healthy meals, lifting weights that I never thought I could.

The body that has seen so much and done so much.

All of it -- the soft parts that I remind myself are the bits my husband loves the best, the parts that my baby boy tucks his head into, the scars that tell the story of the person I was and the curves that are testament to what my body was meant to be.

Beyond the window, I see the mind and the heart of someone who chooses to listen to herself, her emotions and watches them pass by -- acknowledged but not burdened by them.

Who doesn't use food as a quick, cheap fix for those feelings.

And you know what's the best part?

Still my face, but the difference being the enormous grin reflecting back at me.

Sig is the founder of The Glow Revolution and corporate maven turned freedom-championing holistic health + mindset coach for #Glowgetters - truth-seekers, dream-chasers and heart-centred women on a mission to make the most of their life, but more than that, make a deep impact in this world.

She believes in equality, empowerment, living your truth and being in healthy harmony (screw balance!) with food, your work, your people plus yourself is VITAL to making good things happen.

Find more of her here at

If you're struggling with an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorder Association hotline at 1-800-931-2237.