In a society where looks and keeping up with appearances are highly valued, it is no surprise that people struggle with body image.
This is a topic that has been heavily weighing on my mind these past few months. Today, I am going to share my story about how I came to love my body. It isn’t a glamorous one, but it is one that I feel needs to be shared.
I wanna start off by saying, no child should should be worrying about their body image – they should be learning about and understanding how to live a healthy lifestyle. It is so important to remember that “healthy” and “skinny” are not synonymous.
So let’s begin… like allllll the way from the beginning.
Around the time I was entering 3rd grade, I began comparing my body to others. From the time I was just 9 years old, I was already analyzing my diet.
Of course, some jerks in junior high and high school made comments about my appearance, but what they didn’t know was that those comments would stick with me for years. Heck, I could quote some of those comments a decade later. It didn’t help that while I was already in my own head, I would go to school and see girls whose bodies I envied. At the time, I didn’t realize that these thoughts were toxic and would change my outlook on life for the next few years. Things really took a turn in high school. I began skipping meals and going to cheer practice hungry. There was a time where I only ate dinner after practice.
I knew deep down that my diet practices were not healthy – both physically and mentally. It took me halfway through college when I would limit myself to 400 calories a day and refused to take my Fitbit off that I realized that I was in deep.
One day a miracle happened.
I was waterskiing, and somehow my Fitbit fell off into the lake. I was no longer able to track how many calories I burned vs how many I ate that day. I was no longer able to track the percentages of proteins, carbs, and fat in my diet. I WAS FREE.
Well, not entirely, but I was getting there! Fitbits can be a great tool to help people meet their healthy goals; however, for me, they brought on compulsive behavior – they weren’t for me.
Once I threw the Fitbit out of the picture (or accidentally lost it in a lake), I stopped tracking my food. I ate when I was hungry. I would go out with friends to dinner. I would even pick up a latte!
Although most of my unhealthy tendencies around food were being worked on, I still didn’t feel happy in the skin that I was in. I was ashamed of how I looked in my clothes and the reflection in the mirror never made me smile.
By this time, I knew that I was strong for overcoming what I knew to be the worst of these thoughts and behaviors. I had one last hurdle to make it over before I was in the clear.
I needed to love the skin I was in.
I was active and eating a pretty decent diet – I was healthy. There is nothing shameful about a having a healthy, curvy body.
I found peace in following people on social media who promoted healthy, natural bodies. In a time when so many people are going beyond putting a filter on a picture and calling it, it was so inspirational to see people putting their real selves out there and getting so much love and support back.
If these people can love themselves and their bodies, why can’t I?
I also realized that people who make negative comments, whether it be about your appearance or goals, aren’t meant to be in your life.
Someone who truly cares about you and loves you, won’t care what the number on the scale reads or if you have cellulite on your thighs.
The people meant to be in your life will not care if you choose to wear that crop top. They won’t care if you choose to wear that cheeky new swimsuit that you’ve been too nervous to break out.
All people should care about is your happiness.
When I realized that I was the only person holding myself back from wearing that dress or that swimsuit or BEING HAPPY WITH MY BODY, I stopped holding myself back.
While I still struggle sometimes, I remind myself that I am healthy, I am taking care of myself, and I am beautiful.
Progress is never linear, but don’t let that discourage you.
Take care of yourselves & love the skin you are in because YOU are beautiful, my friend!