I've pretty much had dieting on my mind since I was about 12-years-old, maybe even younger. That was back when everyone still used Tumblr, and my favorite blogs to follow were for "fitspiration" or "fitspo."
Pictures of tall, skinny girls with toned abs and bronzed skin were all over my dashboard, coupled with advice on how to get fit and pictures of healthy food.
It was no surprise that I soon fell into the idea that I should get fit to look like that, too.
I scrolled on Tumblr for hours, telling myself I was getting the motivation to actually do it myself. I downloaded MyFitnessPal and started counting all the calories of everything I ate. It was frustrating to not see results even after the app said I should be losing weight by then. But to be honest, I was probably cheating myself by guesstimating my daily meals and assuming my measurements were correct.
My obsession carried over to YouTube, where there was a multitude of videos from pretty girls telling me how they lost weight fast or how they got a bigger butt or a flat stomach. Diet fads promised to make you drop ten pounds in two weeks.
A big red flag should have gone off in my head when I read that, but all I could remember was that I could no longer fit into my old clothes.
I began to follow Cassey Ho, who posted pilates videos on her channel called Blogilates. Thankfully, she emphasized strength and improvement over looks, as she has struggled with body image issues before too. The sad part about all of this is that I wasn't even a teenager yet but I was still exposed to so much conditioning from the media.
Whether I was conscious of it or not, all of the ads and images made me believe that I had to be tall and skinny and toned to be beautiful.
I had repeated this cycle of obsession, comparison, and giving up over and over again throughout the years and I still have to be careful about not falling into it now, eight years later. I became obsessed and all of my media consumption involved fitness and health. Then I would give up and binge and gain back whatever weight I had lost. Rinse and repeat.
Nowadays when I catch myself getting too deep into whatever the latest fitness trends are, I take a step back and remind myself just to eat a balanced diet and get some exercise in. I have to remember to get my veggies and fruits in but I won't kill myself over having a treat now and then. It's got to be about the balance.