I remember being a little kid and staring at my body in the mirror, wondering why my body appeared so much different from others. My friends had tiny bodies and small features when growing up, while I was one of the heaviest girls in the class. I couldn’t comprehend how my friends would eat the same foods or play the same sports as me, yet their bodies didn’t get bigger and I didn’t get smaller.
My body image plummeted by the time I was probably eight or nine years old. I hated shopping because clothes never felt comfortable enough or flattered my body. I dreaded going back-to-school shopping because I would have to spend all day staring at myself in a mirror, trying on clothes that enhanced my flaws.
Here I am now, 10 years later, still struggling with my body image even after losing a significant amount of weight. I thought that when I pledged to myself to lose weight in high school that it would make me happier. At the time, I was thrilled. I loved watching the number on the scale go down each day and feel good about myself throughout the day. But little did I know my mental battle had just begun.
I would weigh myself at least once a day, analyzing what I may have eaten that could have caused my weight to fluctuate up or down. If I was a pound over my regular weight, I would immediately have an internal crisis and maybe even weigh myself even more throughout my day to keep track. I would hate going out to eat because I know I would eat too much, giving me so much anxiety to step on the scale later that night. Sometimes I wouldn’t even be enjoying the quality time with friends or family when out to dinner because of how guilty I felt. Even at the age of 21, the number on the scale still influences my emotions now.
Body image and confidence are still an enduring journey I am working through. Anytime I pass by a mirror, I always have to analyze my body and face, usually in a negative light. But lately, I have been trying to make the mirror my friend instead of the enemy. I am working towards admiring my body in the mirror, rather than bashing it. The flaws that I find in my own body make me unique and some may even wish to have the features that I despise.
Another way to help improve your own body image is finding what clothing flatters your body! I used to wear many clothes that did not work for my body type, making me feel even worse about myself. When in actuality, I wasn’t dressing correctly. Since I don’t have wide hips or curves, I stay away from skinny jeans because they make me look disproportional and wear straight or mom jeans instead. With simple fixes like this, it helps me feel better in my own skin and accentuates my body.
One of the key factors I have to instill within myself is that everyone’s bodies are not meant to be the same weight. With my height, long torso, and long legs, it would be unrealistic and unhealthy for me to be 120 lbs. And when women hit their 20s, our bodies change immensely. The hardest thing I have had reminded myself is that weight fluctuates every day and is not always going to be consistent. Some days you may bloat more than usual or have a bigger appetite, which is SO normal! As long as I am nourishing my body and taking care of myself, that is all that matters.
It’s okay to have rough days when it comes to body confidence or body image, but everybody is perfect and beautiful in their own skin. Don’t let your own mind ruin those fun and memorable moments in your life. Enjoy the foods you love and stop letting the number on the scale determine your happiness.