12 Reminders For When You're Struggling With Food And Body Image

12 Reminders For When You're Struggling With Food And Body Image

Food is important for daily functioning, no body size is best and your life is worth more than these worries.

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Body positivity, true healthy eating and self-compassion can be hard, especially in a word filled with fatphobia, the idea that men must be muscular, diet tips and photoshopped models. Add stress and emotions, which can cause changes in weight and appetite, and your body may not feel like home.

However, our bodies are super rad. They do so, so much for us; they carry out so many intricate functions that we may not even know or comprehend. Our bodies are the only true home we'll ever have, the only thing that will constantly be with us, so let's learn to appreciate it and love it right. Trust your body, and it will trust you.

1. Food = fuel.

https://giphy.com/gifs/parks-and-recreation-rec-chris-pratt-4loeTm5sJaKt2

Food gives us the energy to hug our friends, to travel, to go to work and make money, to go out with friends, to watch our favorite shows, to kiss.

2. At least 20% of the energy you receive from food goes towards your brain's functioning.

http://clipart-library.com/brain-exercise-cliparts.html

That's your grades, your ability to read articles, getting ready in the morning, creating happy memories, being an efficient employee and being able to have conversations with loved ones. Plus, people with eating disorders think about food up to 100% of the time. Imagine how much that limits your daily living!

3. Fat (or any other body type) isn't bad, and we need fat to live.

http://wfae.org/post/fat-activism#stream/0

Fat does not have moral value. It's simply a nutrient necessary for life.

4. Worrying about food is a waste of time.

Believe me when I say it is not worth it to be stressed about food when you're eating out with friends. Believe me when I say it's better to eat what you want and your mind be able to focus on those who bring you happiness.

5. Wanting seconds, wanting to eat when others aren’t, and eating emotionally do NOT make you a bad person.

You are allowed to eat when and what and how much you want. Embrace your body's wants and needs!

6. When you get older, you will not look back on your life and wish you were smaller.

You will wish you would've spent more time with people you love, going on adventures and enjoying that 2 a.m. Waffle House.

7. Think about everything you are, and your size becomes less and less relevant.

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/225320787590766278/

Daughter. Son. Doctor. Gas station worker. Lover of noodles. Avid football watcher. Fashion lover. The funny one. The friend. Someone who has the strength to get up and live. The rap music lover.

8. Yeah, maybe you don’t love some aspects of your body -- but that isn’t all of you.

You are whole. You are a combination of so much and cannot be defined by only a couple of details.

9. Not eating -- or eating too much -- won’t solve your problems. Neither will having a different body size.

https://me.me/i/until-you-heal-the-wounds-of-your-past-you-are-14591064

Geneen Roth has some amazing books about compulsive eating. The food isn't the problem, it's what you're trying to fight by using food. Your body isn't the problem, and fat is not a feeling.

10. Body struggles are not dealt with exclusively by a certain kind of person or body type.

https://www.substanceforyou.com/blogs/mental-health/im-a-male-with-an-eating-disorder

All people -- genders, races, ages, levels of ability, sexual orientations and more can be affected. Those who are minorities often struggle more with body politics and are disproportionately affected and also stereotyped against. You don't have to look a certain way to be "sick enough" or valid.

11. Can’t feel body posi? Try body neutral.

https://www.hercampus.com/school/st-kates/body-neutrality

AKA: I have a body. My body helps me get places and completes other cool functions.

12. Many resources are available to you for however you feel.

https://www.pinterest.com/heather3390/neda/?lp=true

I'll say it again: you deserve help, no matter who you are or what you look like!
  1. National Eating Disorders Association on Eating Disorders
  2. National Eating Disorders Association on Body Image

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To The Girl Trying To Lose Weight In College

"It's not easy, but there’s no feeling quite like realizing you need to buy jeans a size down."
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To the girl trying to lose weight in college:

Congratulations! You have chosen the worst time in your life to embark on the tumultuous journey that is weight loss. I’m sure you anticipated that going to college and having access to a gym and the freedom to plan your own meals would make achieving your fitness goals a breeze. In reality, the combination of an endless stream of alcohol, a concerning amount of free pizza, and studying-induced fatigue rendering any thought of exercise laughable all come together in a perfect storm. On top of that, your twenties segue you into a chapter of life where your hormones and metabolism morph. Get used to it. You’re a woman. This ride has just begun. While the acne clusters aren’t eighth-grade awful, they still make regular appearances at the worst times, and your arms developed a certain fleshiness that closely resembles curdled sour cream. Wow, you’re probably thinking. This girl is a mess. It’s not just that I’m a mess (I am); it’s that I’ve been in your unused running shoes for way too long.

The truth is, it wasn’t just in my twenties that I began to have fleshy arms and acne. No, I have been overweight my entire life. If you know me, and are a terrible friend that lies to me about my appearance to salvage what little is left of my pride, you’re probably thinking, She’s not overweight. Well, I am. I have been my entire life. It’s a fact I came to terms with a long time ago and it doesn’t need any more cushioning than my ample assets already provide.

I was a fat kid. It wasn’t puppy fat or chub or anything endearing like that. I ate poorly (behind my dear parents’ backs, who flooded my diet with vegetables and lean proteins) and moved minimally, on top of a genetically predisposed metabolism on par with a Russian tortoise and the big bones of a Slavic weightlifter. I went to doctors and nutritionists and dieticians to try and help figure out some way to combat my weight. When puberty came along, some of that weight redistributed itself to areas of my figure where, I’d discover later in life, a little extra padding went a long way in certain outfits. But I still felt weighed down by the pounds I couldn’t shake.

High school, AKA hell without an advanced degree, heightened my awareness of body image and I began running and swimming competitively (not well, but it was exercise). I explored my own avenues of healthy eating and ended up slimming down before I went to college. I entered my freshman year in the best shape of my life—not exactly ready to don my angels’ wings and strut the runway anytime soon—but I felt confident and ready to take on the next four years. I quickly realized, however, that the typical college lifestyle isn’t exactly conducive with achieving any grand fitness goals.

Alcohol is swimming with bad carbs and calories, even if it doesn’t feel like anything that tastes like lighter fluid should have calories. Then there are the foods you gorge on while intoxicated--quesadillas, chicken tenders, cheese fries, to name a few-- that are rich in salt and fats, and while you might not remember going to In’N’Out at midnight, the scale does. Even sober, that “all-natural, healthy” energy bar you eat to fuel you through the morning is laden with sugar, no better than if you ate an actual Snickers before your 9:00 a.m. class. Even salads can trap you with hidden dangers—a salad loses its “healthy” moniker when you load it up with cheese and a cream-based dressing, on top of an iceberg lettuce base. College is, realistically, the worst time to try and lose weight. You aren’t going to want to hop on the elliptical the morning after you’ve stayed up until 4:00 a.m. either in the library or at that Pike party.

You’re probably wondering why I, a self-proclaimed fat girl, am offering you any type of nutritional advice. Let my life be a warning to you. It’s not only because I’ve seen close to 10 different doctors in my lifetime who aimed to offer dietary help, but because I’m trying. My junior year has brought a new tide of effort to lose weight because I realized in a year and a half I will make my grand debut into the real world and I need to have a semblance of how to independently live a healthy lifestyle. Since coming back from study abroad (where I undid any half-hearted progress I had made in the first two years of my college career), I have stopped eating dairy, red meat, refined sugars, and countless other delicious ingredients of life. And let me tell you: it is not easy, but there’s no feeling quite like realizing you need to buy jeans a size down.

Obviously, I cheat. I am not ordering a kale salad with a pint. I won’t beat myself up for eating a cookie. As Erma Bombeck once said, think of all the women on the Titanic who passed on dessert. I won’t kick myself for missing a day at the gym; I’ll just kick a little harder the next day when I work out. It’s progress, not perfection. The way to lose the pounds is to shed the burden of feeling like the fat girl, and you do that by taking positive action, by loving myself, and by forgiving myself when I don’t meet the mark. Nobody meets the mark. And that might be the heaviest weight we all carry.

I know how hard it is to just try and lose weight in college, let alone do it. If you’re a girl trying to lose weight in college, the fact that you are even trying is worth praise. It takes a certain type of person, at twenty years old, to admit that they want to change. Just the idea of cutting cheese out of my diet was scary, let alone wearing sweat-wicking spandex while doing crunches in front of other people, but something inside me told me that I needed to change. And when I finally did, it wasn’t just my love handles that started shrinking. It was the self-loathing that I didn’t even know what was there that shrunk away, too. As trite as it sounds, when I learned to love black coffee over a caramel macchiato, I learned to love myself.

Losing weight, or even trying to, isn’t about wearing your Victoria’s Secret angel wings for some guy. It’s about being the best you that you can be. The end result is going to take a long time to achieve, but you gain character and strength when you lose the weight. It’s a beautiful paradox. But it’s not easy, and it’s not fast, either. One week you might lose five pounds and the next week, gain three. Whatever the case, don’t lose hope. Every time I get on the treadmill, sweaty and panting and bouncing in places where you don’t want to bounce, I tell myself that though I go slow, I’m lapping everybody on the couch. And that’s enough to keep me moving.

Sincerely,

The girl who just wore a hole in her Asics

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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9 Reasons Why You Should 100% Get That Body Modification You Want

Changing your body is never a bad thing and people need to learn to embrace that.

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I'm a woman with 27 piercings and 4 tattoos and honestly, I don't plan on stopping at that. There are many more body modifications I look forward to getting and I'm gonna rock the f*ck out of them.

1. It's your body

The most important thing is the fact that it is YOUR body. You should be able to do whatever you want with it, whether that means adding a few extra holes, making your arm an art piece, or adding horns to your head. You do you, boo boo.

2. Express yourself

Again, it's your body and you should be able to express yourself. If you want bright pink hair and a face tattoo you should do it. Let the world know that you are happy, adventurous, and daring.

3. They're fun

Changing yourself can be super fun. I have gotten numerous compliments on my piercings/tattoos and only a few "you know that's permanent, right?" remarks. Usually, after the compliment, the person goes "I wanted to get *insert something that you think is cool* but I can't because my job/parent/partner won't allow me to. Adding a new addition to your body honestly has this freeing effect. It's something you have to feel, it can't be explained.

4. A lot of jobs don't care anymore

Piggy backing off of the previous reason; loads of jobs no longer care about your tattoos or piercings (as long as they aren't offensive in which case they must be covered)! If you work with food they might ask you to switch to a hoop or a stud depending on their policy but honestly, it's worth it.

5. It could become a focal point

How many of you don't like something on your body? Probably a majority, and I'm right there with you. Why not get a tattoo to cover up that scar you're so insecure about? Why not get that piercing to draw the attention away from how big your ears are? It's very beneficial and also a great conversation starter in the moment.

6. You've been dying to get it

So you really want that body modification, then why not get it?! Splurge a little and treat yourself. The best reason to get something is if you want it, there's literally no better reason.

7. It would look soooo good on you

Maybe you have the perfect ears for a triple forward helix (ask a piercer how often that happens and then you'll be impressed with yourself) or your nose is literally the perfect shape for a piercing. People have probably told you a thousand times that something would look great on you, so why not try it out?

8. It could remind you of a happy memory

Maybe you want a tattoo in honor of a loved one that passed away. Or maybe you want one for a special event. Whatever your happy memory is, I suggest you get it. There's nothing more special than dedicating a piece of your body to something/someone. (name tattoos are not recommended)

9. Some of the nicest people I have ever met have body mods

People with tattoos, piercings, and colored hair are NOT scary. Most of them are honestly so sweet and caring. Getting that body modification you want might open your eyes to the real people around you.

Yeah maybe some people in your life will be a little upset that you got some form of body modification, but the people who really matter will get over it and still love you afterward. It's okay if you're completely clueless if you have an idea of what you want any real professional artist will be able to make your ideas come to life. Shout out to my tattoo artist and piercer for dealing with me, you guys have been great, really. So go for it! Get that body mod or don't, it's your body! Just live a little! And for goodness' sake, tip your artist!!

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