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For my entire life, I have struggled with body image. I’ve always thought it unfair that some people can eat whatever they want and never suffer drastic body changes. Growing up, my younger sister had a very different body type than I did. I was always jealous of her ability to avoid the physical consequences of food. Covid prompted some unhealthy eating choices for me. I acknowledge that I feel gross when I make poor eating choices, but somehow I lack the self control to improve. When it comes to making healthy choices, I have a sort of psychological mental block holding me back from progress.  

When I think about food in relation to body image, I inherently view each and every decision with connotative physical results. This view is incredibly dangerous. My perspective has blocked me from making smart decisions and has allowed me to mentally justify my actions. I feel as though in order to make the progress I want to see with my body, I have to make drastic life changes or none at all. My mom continually encourages me to think about how small daily changes to eating habits could really change the way I feel and view myself and my body.  

I love food, and I love eating. I enjoy the activity so much because of the memories I associate with food. When friends and family come together during the holidays, it is done over meals. When I come home from a long day of classes, I snack to reward myself. The sensory memories associated with food are so pleasant that the thought of having to restrict or change eating habits seems so unsavory. I am trying to change my mindset. Food choices do not have to be all or nothing. It is okay to misstep when it comes to healthy habits. The focus should be to make conscious decisions and do what feels right for you in the moment.  

Someone who has really helped me to change the way I view my body and eating choices is Remi Bader. She makes open and honest social media content—something quite rare. Remi struggles with binge eating. She emphasizes that the goal should not be to restrict yourself or stretch yourself so thin that long term progress becomes unattainable. Remi inspires me to treat myself with kindness and to be optimistic about the changes I am truly capable of making.  

Lilly Doninger is a member of the class of 2024 at William & Mary from Louisville, Kentucky. She hopes to major in International Relations. In her free time, she enjoys playing tennis, watching movies, and journaling. Lilly also writes weekly for her personal blog, Ridiculous but Respectable.
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