I’m in the kitchen making dinner and I’m wearing sweatpants and a sports bra. Today, this is the first time I’ve felt pretty. My stomach is out and my arms aren’t covered – the two body parts I’m probably most self-conscious about and again, it’s the first time I’ve felt pretty.
This probably means nothing to anyone but myself, but for those who’ve struggled with any kind of body image issues you know how important moments like these are. I’ve never had a great relationship with food… like, ever. I’ve gone from a normal little girl, to a chunky teenager, to whatever label I’d consider myself now – but then again I also wonder, why do I even have to put a label on it anyway? Why should I categorize my body into some pre-supposed box so that others can qualify it.
Until I was about 16 I was a big girl. Not in the self-degrading kind of “big” girl way but in the sense that when I was in middle school I wore a women’s size 12. I never really weighed myself much but I do remember being at the pediatrician’s office and hearing I weighed 168 pounds. Oh, and I was probably 5’3″ at the time… When I would stay home sick from school I would eat an entire box of Kraft macaroni and cheese and just lay in bed. I didn’t play sports, I didn’t belong in any kind of clubs, but I never really thought to myself how unhappy I was.
But, just like any struggling weight story, I hit a block where I couldn’t take being big any more. I would do my best to hardly eat – I’d genuinely get anxious if I had anything more than some lettuce. I spent so much time obsessing about food, trying to take the joy of it away that it consumed everything. Luckily, I had people who noticed my new habits and cared enough to make me realize what I was doing. I got so lucky. I did this for maybe three weeks before people noticed and snapped me back into reality. Now, that’s not the anorexia story thousands of girls have struggled with, that was just my short experience. Either way, it’s never okay.
As I got older and my body matured, I naturally slimmed out in places. However, I was still never one of the “small girls” and it didn’t help that all of my closest friends were size 2s and carefree. But, my “bigness” did subside a little and I started feeling more like a “normal” girl. The biggest change though was when I went to college. Everyone’s heard of the Freshman Fifteen and how being out on your own can make you gain a ton of weight. Luckily, I did the exact opposite. I lost maybe 20 pounds in the first few months of my freshman year, but that wasn’t due to great nutrition and exercise. I was so unhappy with where I was in life and school that I just never paid much attention to what I ate. I became somewhat depressed and literally drove the 7 hours home almost every weekend just to get away.
Throughout my time in college my weight fluctuated, naturally. So, of course, my feelings about myself fluctuated as well. Yet, through all of this I still managed to get down to a size 4, as if that number has anything to do with my worth. In today’s world with all of the Instagram models and Kim Kardashian bodies, it’s SO hard to not compare yourself to other people out there. Social media can be a great tool to uplift and motivate women, but often times it’s also a place where “normal” girls can go and feel inadequate.
Today, I LOVE eating vegetables and finding healthier options for food. However I still also LOVE eating an entire pizza while watching Netflix and maybe bragging about working out three times in a year. It’s just balance! Am I the poster child for body positivity and love? Absolutely not. Today do I feel good enough about myself to hopefully inspire someone out there to love themselves a little more? OF COURSE!
The fact of the matter is no one is ever going to feel 100% confident all the time. But, when we do have those moments it’s so important to nurture them and see how valuable they are to our overall well-being. To this day I still don’t look at scales and I second guess myself after indulging in a whole pint of ice cream but i have also learned the value of my qualities, not my numerical quantity.
All I leave you with is this – even on your absolute worst self-deprecating days, you’re so much more valued and worthy than your inner “doubtful voice” let’s you recognize.
Cheers to food & life 🙂