“Do I Look Fat in This?”

“Mom, do I look fat?” Yeah, I know. I’m beautiful and loved and the world is my oyster. But how come I don’t feel like it?

My whole life, I have struggled with my weight. It’s been something that I have worried about for as long as I can remember. Throughout elementary school all the way to my present days in college, I have woken up in the morning, and my first thought has always been, “Oh no, what do I wear today?”

In middle school, I was especially heavy. I was having some familial issues and I ate my way through them. I weighed in at my heaviest, 200 pounds. And this was as a seventh grader. I would spend hours in the morning picking out my outfits, only to end up in sweatpants and a t-shirt, most usually, one that was from my dad’s closet. I would mope through the hallways, walking with my head down and my skinny friends by my side. It was one of the most terrible times in my life.

Once I hit high school, I was determined to do something about my body. So, I started Weight Watchers and grew to be obsessed with the program…and not in a healthy way. I basically began starving myself, relying on Smart Ones as my sole source of nutrition. I started counting the number of almonds I ate, refusing to eat what my parents made for dinner (no matter how healthy it was), and sucking on mints to “curve” my hunger.

Yes, I lost 35 pounds, and yes I looked “skinny,” but I was absolutely miserable. Over time, I gained the weight back, and lost it, and gained it back again. It became a cycle. Truth is, I’m a perpetual dieter.

I hate looking in the mirror, I hate jean shopping, I hate pictures, I absolutely despise wearing a bathing suit—I pretty much hate everything about me. But, recently, just this past summer, I have slowly, very very slowly, started to come to terms with my body. I started working out, but this time, it was for me—not the world. I began working out to comfort myself in times of anxiety and to love the body I’m in, not to change it. I eat healthier now, but I don’t restrict myself. I eat what I want, within reason, with appropriate portions and sometimes, yes, I’ll add in a cookie. *GASP* I am not in love with my body. I am not comfortable looking in the mirror. I am not happy jean shopping. But I will be. One day.

I’m not sure how I’ll get there and I’m not sure when, but I am sure that I will. I don’t plan to live the next 20 years the way I’ve lived these past 20 years. I plan to be happy. I plan to love myself.

So thank you, Mom. I am beautiful. I am loved. And the world is my oyster.