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Content warning: this article contains a discussion of disordered eating, weight loss, and body image, which may be triggering for some readers. 

For years, I have struggled with poor body image and a slanted perception of eating. It has unfortunately been a pretty constant part of my life ever since I was a young girl and was slightly “overweight.”

I have gone up and down in my weight, and there have been so many inconsistencies in the way I try to view myself and my eating habits. On certain days, I loathe myself and feel regretful. Other days, I morph that negativity into motivation to exercise and alter my eating habits. Then on other days, I feel careless about the whole process and just want to love myself for how I am and eat whatever I want.

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Photo by _Mxsh_ from Unsplash

When I was in high school, however, I had reached my breaking point. I went to my doctor and decided that my binge-eating episodes and persistent self-loathing had to be stopped. 

With that information, she set up a system with me where I would return to her office every month or so to see my progress. Each month, I had a specific goal I was achieving–portion size, food intake, exercise, etc. until I could effectively manage all of them at once. 

While this was incredibly motivating and fulfilling at the time, and “successful” in the form of losing weight, it ended up being damaging for my future self, as it caused me to place far too much emphasis on the pounds lost versus how I actually felt. 

For my current self, I have admittedly gained a lot of the weight back that I had lost back then. And, while I am not giving up on healthy eating or exercising, I am shifting my focus away from the weight loss element of it all. 

The first step in doing this, was to simply not weigh myself anymore. Getting rid of the at-home scale, and choosing not to even look at it at doctor’s visits, strips a lot of the negativity away from my perspective of my body.

When I was regularly weighing myself, the number on the scale would dictate my mood for the rest of the day, and my mentality for how I would choose to view my meals until the next weigh-in. Far too often, I would walk up to the scale, feeling confident in myself and the work I had put in, only for that all to be diminished by three digits staring back at me. 

It took awhile for me to come to this realization that the scale itself harbored a lot of the issues that I was having, but it came down to the fact that neither my happiness nor my confidence in myself should be determined by a number, and that it certainly should not reign supreme over my emotional state. 

While I am still undergoing this extremely difficult journey, I am frankly more secure with myself than I was when I was at my lowest weight, and I think a lot of that has to do with how I have chosen to frame my journey to body neutrality–feeling contentment in my overall body image. 

Regardless of your personal goals, I suggest creating some distance from yourself and the scale–focusing on how you personally view yourself and improving the way that you feel, instead of whether or not the numbers accurately reflect that.

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Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

Lauren Serge

Ohio U '23

Lauren Serge is currently a junior at Ohio University, majoring in Journalism: Strategic Communication and specializing in Marketing and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She is the current President and Co-Campus Correspondent for the Her Campus OU chapter. She enjoys writing, biking, spending time with her family, friends, and her dog, as well as catching up on her many favorite tv shows.
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