Your Weight Does Not Define You

Do Not Define Yourself By The Numbers On A Scale

The number on the scale shouldn't make you want to eat less.

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To everyone who said they would lose weight during 2019: Don't listen to the scale right now.

I made a resolution to lose weight this year. Generally, I wanted to get back on track with the healthy lifestyle I used to follow. I played sports in high school, but in college, I realized didn't have time for it anymore. Working out and eating healthy makes me feel good, so I thought it would be easy to get back to my routine.

It wasn't easy. My schedule is so packed that I have to schedule time to work out. And it's not always easy to stick to that schedule.

Because I can't literally dedicate my life to being healthy, I thought that counting calories and weighing myself every day would lead me to a healthier lifestyle.

It didn't. The scale made me feel worse. Gaining a pound started to mean failure to me.

Counting calories was not bad for me at first; it allowed me to be more conscious of my food choices and control my portion size. However, because of my self-critical nature, things soon took a sour turn.

I have a tendency to overeat because I don't eat regular meals every day (thanks, college). Any time I would overeat, I would weigh myself the next morning and feel a little upset if I gained even a little weight or lost a minuscule amount of weight. This mentality really doesn't make sense; you can't gain weight that fast, and your weight fluctuates depending on many factors.

I decided to take a less strict and more flexible approach to my healthy lifestyle. I'm not counting calories, but I'm keeping in mind how much I'm eating and being careful not to overeat. Every once in a while, I'll have a cookie and enjoy it. I've been doing that a lot more lately, and it's okay. These aren't your "cheat" days; you're living your life.

The way we talk about food is so important. Yes, America's obesity rates are very high, but because of this, the fear of being fat drives the need for dangerous diets with extreme calorie restriction. The fear of being fat leads to Instagram stars advertising tea that is supposed to lead to weight loss (I'm talking about you, Kim K).

If calorie restriction is so unhealthy, then why are we encouraging it?

Everything is okay in moderation. In fact, we shouldn't really be saying that certain types of food are okay and others aren't okay.

It's okay to eat something because it tastes good.

It's okay to choose a "healthier" food as an alternative to one that isn't as healthy, but it's also okay to do the opposite.

Dieting can ruin our mentality. Guilt should not be associated with food. Food is fuel. It's what keeps us going.

The number on the scale shouldn't make you want to eat less.

Yes, I am trying to eat less, but not in the way you think. I am trying to stop stress eating and binge-eating at night. I'm trying to develop a healthier relationship with food. I'm trying to lose weight, but I don't want it to control me.

I let it control me for a while. That made me hate myself. So now I'm learning to love my body, no matter what number the scale says, and I couldn't be happier.

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I Hate That I Struggle To Love My 'Midsize' Body

I gained a few pounds, but that shouldn't be the end of the world, yet it is in a sense.

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Junior year of college has been quite the wild ride. I've had the best academic year of my entire life, yet struggled, in the end, to even want to get anything done. I didn't care about a lot of the things that used to matter to me.

I gained weight at the beginning of my second semester and went up a jean size, so half of my summer wardrobe just doesn't fit me anymore, and it's made me feel embarrassed. I went from a size 6 to an 8/10, and while it doesn't seem like a big jump to the average person, it was to me. I don't like looking in the mirror and seeing a bigger pooch than usual, or how my thighs have gotten super irritated because they also got bigger. Chaffing I used to only have in the summer occurred in late January and even scared my inner thighs. It's not cute and it hurts when it flares up. I am terrified to wear my bikinis again because I know they won't fit, and the second I put on shorts my thighs are going to want to kill me if I don't kill them first.

I came to really love my body last summer after struggling through a rough breakup where I stopped caring about myself. I owned myself last summer and as much as I want to again this summer, I'm really struggling with the idea of it.

All I feel like I see on social media are skinny girls with zero hint of a pooch or thick thighs in sight. I've never been a skinny girl and I never want to be, but I can't help but envy the people I've seen online and in person. Of course, what I see on social media isn't really accurate, but it's still been tough to look at these girls who seem like they don't have a care in the world. They can eat whatever they want and still look flawless. They can throw on a bikini and not have to feel like they need to suck everything in so no one sees their pooch hanging over their bikini bottom. As a stress eater who is still too terrified to try on her bikinis, I'm not looking forward to showing my body off when all I want to do sometimes is hide it because I don't feel happy with what I see.

I will always love being a curvier girl and YouTubers like Sierra Schultzzie, Carrie Dayton, and Lucy Wood have given me a new boost of inspiration to embrace the body I have right now. I'm not skinny but I'm not plus sized either. I feel pressure from myself and certain people in my life to be skinnier and not "let myself go." I

'm so happy to have friends who have helped me through my struggles and support me, even when I don't want to support myself. These YouTuber's have opened my eyes to the fact that this body deserves to be loved just as much as my former, smaller body.

I want to love myself with 100% of my being and I hate how much hatred I've allowed to go on inside of me. There is only one me and I need to be proud of her. Maybe she gained some weight and isn't what society expects from a girl, but she's still amazing and has so much to offer.

I wish I could see more girls like me on YouTube or social media offering a representation of my body type, which I hardly ever see. Aerie and American Eagle have done a fantastic job of including different body types and it's been a great help in seeing that they really to make clothes for all types of women, not just a size zero to two. Added representation really does wonders for someone suffering from low body confidence like me.

While I hope to begin my journey into losing a few pounds this summer by jogging whenever I get the chance, I'm not going to put intense pressure on myself to look a certain way. I am single for the summer and exploring life with my best friends by my side. I'm here to be the best version of me that I can. I cannot let negative thoughts about myself to dictate how I feel every day. I am strong, I am beautiful, and I need to love myself and my body as I am.

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To All Lawmakers, Keep Your Laws Off My Body

My body, my choice.

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This past week, Ohio and Alabama received a lot of attention in the media after bold decisions were made regarding abortion laws in these two states. Alabama has signed an extreme abortion ban into law which gives no exception for even rape or incest. Women and doctors could end up facing 99 years in prison for performing an abortion in this state. In most cases, rapists only serve about 6 years of jail time. This means that a woman could spend more time in jail for attempting to abort the fetus than the man who planted it inside of her. In Ohio, similar laws are being put in place that denies women from getting an abortion as soon as a fetal heartbeat is detected. However, that is only 5 weeks into the pregnancy, or one week late of a period. Most women do not even know they are pregnant at that time.

I originally was very hesitant to write this article. Not because I did not know what I thought about the issue, but rather because I was afraid what other people would think of me writing about this. I'm typically not one to post anything too political but there comes a time when something must be said.

When it comes to abortion laws, pro-life advocates often argue that the fetus could be the next Einstein or the person to cure cancer. However, the women who are going to be taking care of the child could have potentially done the same. Instead, they are often forgotten about and their lives are changed for good. There are so many women who will have to give up so much such as their education, career, and happiness as a result of the laws that are being put into place.

Furthermore, if a woman is not capable of taking care of a child at the time she gets pregnant, the child will end up being the one to suffer the most. If the woman has no option but to keep the baby, the baby has the potential of growing up in an unstable home where it will not have the resources it needs to live.

Pro-life advocates push for women to just give the child up for adoption, but that has its own set of problems. If the woman puts the baby up for adoption, there is a ginormous possibility that the child will live their entire life going in and out of our country's broken foster care system. Lawmakers should not be advocating for the protection of fetuses unless they are able to make sure the fetus will be able to grow up in a stable environment.

Putting laws to prevent abortion into place isn't going to stop abortions from happening. Instead, it is going to make women turn to hazardous practices that could end up with them harming themselves. Many people, including some pro-life advocates, have even admitted that the bills being put into place are too far.

The most amazing thing to me about the bills being signed into place is that the support for them is heavily reliant on men. It is very easy to jump behind supporting something that doesn't affect you. These men will never be able to experience what it is like to carry a child around for nine months and care for it after. That is why it makes absolutely no sense that they are able to tell women what they can and can't do with their bodies.

Being pro-choice is not necessarily being pro-abortion. It is being for women to have the freedom to do what they believe is best for themselves. A women's right to make her own choices should not be a conservative or democratic issue. It is a human issue. It shouldn't matter what the circumstances are. If a woman feels she is not ready for a child she should have the ability to do what is needed to be done. I hope that as a country we are able to take the necessary steps to prevent us from moving back in time. So to all lawmakers, keep your laws off of my body.

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