“Hey I didn’t know a whale was coming to the pool tonight,” said a little boy to me as I passed a group when I was 10 years old at our local swimming pool– the first person to ever make me feel self conscious.
To sum up some history before we begin…..A few years ago, I took a trip with my close friends Sam, Michele and Zack. We went on a lovely tropical vacation to Punta Cana and it will forever be one of the best memories I will have. I was fresh out of high school and excited for the future. But, one thing was still holding me back and causing me serious torment: the voice in my head telling me my body was wrong. I went on my trip, had a great time and came back home to look through the tons of pictures we took. There was only one thing I could focus on..my weight. I could barely stand to see myself in these pictures. I have always been a junk food queen because of my pickiness in foods that I actually like but I hadn’t realized how far I had let myself go. To others I was ‘normal’ weight but I couldn’t just be ‘normal’. I didn’t feel comfortable. So I started dieting and exercising. From October 2012 – June 2013 I lost a total of 36 pounds. To be quick.. I went to school in the city, stopped working out, drank a lot and ultimately stopped caring about my “fitness”.
My self-esteem quickly plummeted. I no longer felt confident in clothes, my skin wasn’t shining like it used to, but ultimately I felt okay. I was back in control of my life and there was no constant voice telling me to count calories and exercise.
My first week at college
Fast forward to today, leaving those habits over two years in the past, and I’m doing okay. I still exercise now and then (not everyday) but not to the point of overexertion. I try to eat healthy but I’m human and also I have a chocolate addiction so I’ve gained a little weight. My arms aren’t the rock hard muscle machines that I made them anymore and my stomach has gained a little pudge leaving behind the toned tummy I once had. I can’t lie and say sometimes I don’t get discouraged and even upset about myself but I’ve learned to know my body and I know this will help me become who I want to be.
Today (i’ve gained 10 pounds)
I’m not fat, nor do I think I’m fat. I’m a healthy weight. I still get called “tiny” and “small” and guess what? I don’t go to bed starving anymore.
To those who sometimes don’t feel comfortable in their skin.. this is my advice to you:
1. You Can Be Beautiful and Confident At Any Size
I know.. hard to believe this when media is shoving skinny and toned down your throat (and if you ARE skinny and toned good for you, girl!! that’s awesome) but..there are other body types aside from slim and tiny. I am a firm believer in shining from the inside out. If you get yourself in a good place mentally anything is possible physically.
2. Do NOT crash diet.. PLEASE.
If you want to lose weight the healthy way, put yourself on a natural, whole food diet change. Replace the processed foods America loves for things from nature, or close to nature. I’m talking fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seeds, nuts, legumes, and low fat dairy. If you stick with these foods and don’t overeat.. I can 100% guarantee you will see a difference in your reflection within a few weeks. ALL THOSE OTHER DIETS OFTEN END IN BINGE EATING AND GIVING UP.
3. Do Not Go To Tumblr and Instagram For Your ‘Thinspiration’
Especially under that hashtag. Most of those girls (and boys) are suffering from real, severe eating disorders and should not be administering diet advice. There is no reason you should eat a total of 200 calories a day (half of which are crackers and diet coke). The pictures you see are seriously ill people and should not be idolized.
4. Understand Your Body Type
Each body is constructed differently. Some girls can NEVER have a thigh gap, sticking out collar bones or that new asian thing where you wrap your arm all the way around your back to your waist to see if your skinny or not (if you don’t know what I’m talking about feel free to look it up). I’m sure there are other wacky ideas for what makes you ‘thin’ out there: Ignore them please and find your own ‘what makes me feel good’
5. Being Curvy is ‘Acceptable’
As sad as it is that we have to wait for something with our image to be ‘acceptable’ in modern society, guess what girls? Boobs, butt and thighs are in.. and bigger than ever (literally). Nicki, Beyonce, Kim and more have been flaunting their good goods and giving us the green light on saying yes to that bowl of pasta and maybe even a doughnut without tons of regret.
So no matter how you look, no matter what you’ve been through (or maybe if you’re going through something now), no matter what anyone has said to you..
- Realize YOUR beautiful
- Know your limits
- Keep yourself healthy