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As a little kid, I was always pretty chubby, but I didn’t necessarily mind it until I was in middle school. During that time everyone was shopping at Brandy Melville, and so one size only was the status quo. I always disliked that since I knew everyone’s body was different, but I followed the bandwagon and wanted to wear the shorts everyone had from Brandy. This led me to work out and just trying to become a smaller size. Throughout middle school and high school, I was always stressed about being skinny and looking a certain way. I guess it wasn’t until the quarantine lockdown that I started to become much more comfortable with myself and didn’t necessarily need the feel to fit a certain image that people had of me, and these are some of the reasons why.

Women talking at work
Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com from Unsplash

I came to accept that we look different depending on our angles

Initially, I would stress about how I looked skinny standing up but not sitting down, I would try to make myself skinnier while sitting down or just sit in a way that made me look thinner even if I was in an uncomfortable position. By learning that my body looked different depending on how I was sitting/my angle then I stopped worrying as much and began to focus more on if I was comfortable or not.

Person on a weight scale
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

My weight has nothing to do with how I look

Whenever I would weigh myself, I would stress myself out and believe that weighing over a certain number made me fat or unattractive. I came to realize that a number is simply just a number and it doesn’t define how I look nor does it make me less attractive. I see the number now more as something that’s just used more for taking care of one’s health, but it doesn’t define how one looks.

Girl in field
Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels

Being more body positive/getting rid of body dysmorphia 

By this, I mean that I wasn’t too focused on having the perfect body. I was okay with having stretch marks, or acne, etc. I understand that it is just part of the body to have different marks or imperfections and I was okay with it now. This was what had me stressing about my body image most of the time. I would look in the mirror and even though there wasn’t anything wrong, I would stare at myself for a long enough time to just create imperfections for myself. I would look from one angle and another until I could find what wasn’t perfect so I could fix it. At first, I had always just seen celebrities with perfect bodies and skin, but after learning that many of them get plastic surgery and still use filters, I came to understand that no one has a perfect body and I should be happy with mine.

So these are some of the ways that I manage to become more body positive in the last year and be okay with what I look like rather than trying to change. Hope some of these work for you and that you too can be more body positive!

Ashleen Herrarte

UC Riverside '23

Ashleen is a third-year Political Science and Philosophy major. When she is not writing articles for HCUCR, she is usually spending time with friends by going out to eat yummy foods or watching shows at home. She hopes you enjoy reading her articles!
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