Learning to Love My Own Body

Between the ages of 10 and 12, I was overweight, and the heaviest I had ever been in my entire life. As a child, my parents were always busy working, and I was often by myself during after school hours. I didn’t know a thing about nutrition, and I was constantly bored. To deal with this issue, I spent a lot of time snacking on the worst of foods ─ chips, candy, fries, and more. My parents were concerned about my weight, but I didn’t think much about it. After all, what could a fifth grader really know about health and nutrition?

During middle school, girls grow up, their bodies change, and they start comparing themselves to their friends. My friends were tiny, and I begin to feel insecure about the way I looked. The summer after my seventh grade, I decided to change the way I looked. I started to work out every day and diet, and it worked. I lost a significant amount of weight that summer, and for the first time in my life, the numbers on the scale were in the healthy weight range for my height and age. I looked good, and I felt good. On top of that, everyone around me noticed and complimented me. When you’re young and going through the weird growing up/development phase, it’s easy to feel insecure, but compliments made me feel good about myself. However, I eventually became obsessed in an unhealthy way.

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Since then, I have constantly worried over the way that I look and how much I weigh. If I gained weight here and there, I would feel disgusted with myself. If I caught myself eating dessert, I would fuss over it and make sure that I worked it off. I became obsessed with my weight and my body, and I always felt ugly. I know that I am not overweight or unhealthy in the slightest, but I can’t help but compare myself to the traditional Asian standards of beauty – if you are not extremely thin, then you are not beautiful. This way of thinking nearly wrecked me. I would purposely starve myself and skip meals. I would cry because I felt hideous. 

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Now, I am slowly learning to love myself and the way that I look. I know now that the numbers on the scale do not reflect how beautiful I am. I’m reframing my mindset to reflect a healthier way of thinking. I work out consistently to ensure that I stay in shape and that my body remains active, but I allow myself to enjoy what I eat. I meal-prep to ensure a healthy diet for most of the week, but I still allow myself to eat out with friends and enjoy myself. I treat myself to ice cream and boba every now and then. I’m learning how to truly maintain a healthier lifestyle and find the right balance. Most importantly, I’m learning that I am the most beautiful when I am the happiest.