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Health

Weight-Related Frustration and Shame

I’m a little hesitant to write this article, as I’m not sure that I can provide anything useful or insightful to the reader. Maybe a sense of solidarity? I feel like all I have to offer on this topic is negative feelings, but I know I’m not the only one. I guess that’s justification enough to write this.

My weight and body, in general, are things I have struggled with for as long as I can remember, and I continue to struggle with them today. Unfortunately, I’m not sure that struggle will ever end.

I’m not petite or thin, which is not a problem, as bodies can take many beautiful shapes and sizes, and those bodies’ owners should be proud. But, at times, I am not proud of my body. I don’t particularly love my body, and sometimes, I even flat-out hate my body.

I know this isn’t a healthy attitude to have. I also know that I’m not fully healthy as long as I carry the extra weight that I do. My family has a history of heart disease (among other things), and I’m not doing myself any favors with my lifestyle choices. As someone who easily gains weight, doesn’t enjoy sports and is almost certainly addicted to sugar, I am putting my health at risk.

I recognize my lack of self-love and my unhealthy habits, so why am I not changing them? This is what is so incredibly frustrating to me. Everyone is entitled to live his or her life the way he or she wants (assuming that lifestyle isn’t harmful to others), but the life I want to live does, in fact, involve being at a healthier weight. I want to lose weight so I can improve my chances of living a longer and healthier life, and I want to feel more confident and wear clothes that I am not comfortable wearing now. Yet, despite recognizing my desires and acknowledging the effects of my choices, I haven’t changed. I haven’t committed to the lifestyle I know I must adhere to in order to see that change.

I want to say it’s a lack of motivation. But why? I’m unhappy with my current body, and I know that I’m not striving for anything unrealistic. I just want to be a better me. It’s very rare that I make it through a day without fantasizing, at least briefly, about how I’d feel and look at a healthy weight. It’s obvious I want it, so why don’t I just go and get it?

It should come as no surprise that losing weight is a genuinely hard thing to do. Exercising more than you’re used to is hard. Changing your eating habits is very hard. Getting and staying motivated is extremely hard. As an optimist, I want to have faith and confidence in my ability to change this year, but my track record isn’t great. I have the same New Year’s resolutions almost every year, and, so far, I’ve rarely followed through with them.  

At least I know I’m not alone in having these feelings (and you aren’t either). We need to keep trying to find that perfect balance of dedication and self-love, and we need not make ourselves feel any worse about who we are. That’s a lot to ask of ourselves, but we deserve it.

Let this be a call to action for the New Year, a reminder that you are beautiful and an assurance that I am right there with you.

Emily Stellman

Chapel Hill '21

Emily is an aspiring author that studies English and Comparative Literature at UNC. She is also minoring in History and hopes to one day become a lawyer or work in a museum. Her interests include music, doting on her pets and all things Disney!
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