Loving My Body Is More Challenging Than I Thought

Loving My Body Is More Challenging Than I Thought

Even after putting the years of disordered eating behind me, I still feel insecure about myself.
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“It feels like I’m hugging my mom!” I was in sixth grade when I was told that I have a mom-bod. (What’s wrong with being a mom and having a body anyway?) That’s when I looked down at my body and realized that my breasts have grown – but so did my stomach, my thighs, and my arms. My face was filled with acne, and my hair had grown curly and frizzy like never before.

There’s nothing worse than puberty and middle school – especially when you’re the only big girl with the full-blown hormone outrage amongst your friends. I hadn’t given too much consideration for my looks until then. I started picking at my skin, straightening my hair, and gave up the Frida Kahlo look in favor of trimming my eyebrows. But above all of my obsessions with beauty, my weight became my chief concern. In sixth grade, I developed a habit of disordered eating.

Disordered eating takes many forms. For me, it was extreme portion control and calorie restriction (you can read more about disordered eating here). I also paralleled my extreme diet with exercise, usually very heavy cardio. I was so obsessed that I would walk three miles on the stair-climber and look in the mirror immediately after to see if I got slimmer.

When food becomes your enemy, life cannot be more miserable because we’re supposed to eat! We have to nourish our bodies with energy and nutrients by responding to hunger. But I tried to avoid eating when I could. At school, where my mom couldn’t police my meals, I had a Yoplait yogurt for lunch. I remember sitting at the cafeteria table, waiting for my friends to finish their pizzas and burgers, because I had already devoured the cookies and soy milk that I sneaked from home.

My drastic weight loss kept me going. Even though I had horrible acne from malnutrition and constant fatigue, my friends were asking me how I lost so much weight. The attention felt great, but my knees were always aching from malnutrition. My lips were so pale that I looked ill without a chapstick. I was always irritable, but I preferred being irritable on an empty stomach than feeling full and having a bigger belly after eating a meal.

Working out was my mask. I claimed that I learned to love my body after taking up running, but I just loved the thin body that it gave me. It’s easy to love yourself when you look better. My advice is to feel comfortable in your own skin before trying to lose weight.

I confronted my weight obsession and disordered eating a few months ago – only because I hurt my foot. My being barred from running forced me to admit that I did not love myself; I just liked being skinny. Day and night, I would monitor whether my legs grew thinner or thicker. Having a full belly after dinner was enough to depress me.

“Fat, fat, fat, fat, fat.” I would tell myself. I couldn’t even tolerate the small little pooch that grew in my lower belly from decreased physical activity. It’s ludicrous how I’ve degraded myself so much that I felt worthless with a slightly larger, less tight physique. The few months that should’ve been a time for healing my mind and body from strenuous exercise and diet regimes became time of self-torture and critique that refused to stop even for a minute.

Even now, I still fight with the fear of gaining weight. I know that I am more than how I look and that my family and friends love me for the way I am. But ultimately, it all comes down to self-satisfaction. To be honest, I’m still not comfortable in my own skin. I wish my thighs were thinner, my waist a little smaller, and my face a lot slimmer. I get scared when my belly and legs swell up from water retention during PMS. I can’t help but envy girls who remain thin though all they eat is junk food.

But I was born in this body; it’s all I have. Now, it seems silly to me that my life should be wasted measuring my worth to the amount of fat I have on my body. I no longer count my calories or heavily control my portions. Through intuitive eating and a plant-based diet, I am recovering from years of terrible relationship with my food.

Nevertheless, all it takes is a careless comment for me to fall into a pit of self-loathing. It’s a life-long journey, and I am still in recovery. I realized that self-love is a necessary, lifelong journey that does not happen overnight. Losing weight will not help you love yourself more either. If you don’t love yourself right now as you are, you never will no matter how fit, educated, beautiful, rich you become.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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I Ghosted My Old Self For 5 Months In An Effort To Reevaluate My Life

My life fell apart faster than a drunk dude approaching a Jenga stack.

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BREAKING (not fake) NEWS: It's true, you have to hit your lowest before hitting your highest.

I want to share my lowest with you, and I'm almost ashamed to say it had nothing to do with the loss of both of my parents. I like to think I handled that like a warrior.

Turns out I didn't, and the hurt I've been burying from that hit me all at once, the same moment my life fell apart faster than a drunk dude approaching a Jenga stack.

My life flipped upside down overnight back in August. I had my heart broken shattered, lost two very important friendships that I thought were with me until the end, lost my 9-5 job, my health took a hit stronger than a boulder, and I was absolutely lost. For the first time, ever, I let go of the reigns on my own life. I had no idea how to handle myself, how to make anyone around me happy, how to get out of bed or how to even begin the process of trying to process what the f*ck just happened. I was terrified.

Coming from the girl who never encountered a dilemma she couldn't fix instantaneously, on her own, with no emotional burden. I was checked out from making my life better. So I didn't try. I didn't even think about thinking about trying.

The only relatively understandable way I could think to deal with anything was to not deal with anything. And that's exactly what I did. And it was f*cking amazing.

I went into hiding for a week, then went on a week getaway with my family, regained that feeling of being loved unconditionally, and realized that's all I need. They are all I need. Friends? Nah. Family. Only. Always.

On that vacation, I got a call from the school district that they wanted me in for an interview the day I come home. It was for a position that entailed every single class, combined, that I took in my college career. It was a career that I had just gotten my degree for three months before.

I came home and saw my doctor and got a health plan in order. I was immediately thrown into the month-long hiring process for work. I made it a point to make sunset every single night, alone, to make sure I was mentally caught up and in-check at the same exact speed that my life was turning. I was not about to lose my control again. Not ever.

Since August, I have spent more time with family than ever. I've read over 10 new books, I've discovered so much new music, I went on some of my best, the worst and funniest first dates, I made true, loyal friends that cause me zero stress while completely drowning me in overwhelming amounts of love and support, I got back into yoga, and I started that job and damn near fell more in love with it than I ever was for the guy I lost over the summer.

But most importantly, I changed my mindset. I promised myself to not say a single sentence that has a negative tone to it. I promised myself to think three times before engaging in any type of personal conversation. I promised myself to wake up in a good mood every damn day because I'm alive and that is the only factor I should need to be happy.

Take it from a girl who knew her words were weapons and used them frequently before deciding to turn every aspect of her life into positivity — even in the midst of losing one of my closest family members. I have been told multiple times, by people so dear to me that I'm "glowing." You know what I said back? F*ck yes I am, and I deserve to.

I am so happy with myself and it has nothing to do with the things around me. It's so much deeper than that, and I'm beaming with pride. Of myself. For myself.

I want to leave you with these thoughts that those people who have hurt me, left me, and loved me through these last couple of months have taught me

Growth is sometimes a lonely process.
Some things go too deep to ever be forgotten.
You need to give yourself the permission to be happy right now.
You outgrow people you thought you couldn't live without, and you're not the one to blame for that. You're growing.
Sometimes it takes your break down to reach your breakthrough.

Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

My god, it's so f*cking good.

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To All Of My Brown Eyed Babies, Don't Forget That We're Unique And Beautiful, Too

An eye color doesn't make someone any less unique or beautiful.

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As I was talking to one of my friends, we came to the conversation of brown eyes. After complimenting me on mine and me doing the same for him, it suddenly hit me. I have this fascination with brown eyes, on ANYONE. I know that they are so common. I also know that everyone wishes that they were lighter, or had specks of green in them or maybe just a different color altogether, but I've learned to love and admire the beauty that is brown eyes.

I mean brown eyes in themselves are just as unique as blue or hazel eyes. So are green eyes, but those are little rarer to find.

I feel like brown eyes get such a bad rap because everyone is always in awe of the people with blue or green eyes. People tend to think that you're normal or basic if you have brown eyes because so does Sally, Jane, Maggie, Joey, and Parker and on and on and on. But just because someone else has the same thing that everyone else has doesn't make that thing less beautiful or special. Just because everyone has the same picture doesn't mean that the moment the photo captures is any less significant.

I found my immense love of brown eyes a few years ago when I met a friend of mine and became absolutely mesmerized by his big brown eyes. I quite literally could not stop looking at them. It was like all of the sudden something switched and suddenly all I saw were brown eyes, and I couldn't stop looking for them. Maybe it was part of me coming into my own because around that same time I was finally starting to become confident in myself again and with me having brown eyes…maybe that is why I suddenly saw brown eyes in a new light.

I hope that whoever reads this, male or female, knows that they are beautiful, big, brown eyes. I want you to know that just because you may have something that a lot of other people have doesn't mean that you are any less unique or special.

So, dear brown-eyed boy or girl, I love the way the light hits your eyes in the morning, and the way they sparkle when you laugh or smile. Never lose that, and always be proud of it. For all of us with brown eyes, I hope you find someone who loves your perfectly common yet perfectly unique brown eyes as much as I do.

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