CW: body image, weight, mental health
Having been bullied for my weight as a child, you can imagine how bad my relationship with my body has been. I’ve always believed myself to be not small enough and for having fat in all of the wrong places. As I’ve grown up, the media has always been full of models who have the ‘correct’ body type, which looks nothing like mine. Being an impressionable young person, I believed that I was supposed to look exactly like these models, otherwise I wouldn’t be worthy of love.
I’ve never been small enough. I’ve never been pretty enough.
But it has never actually been about my weight. Even at my smallest, I was never satisfied with the way I looked. My stomach could be smaller. My thighs could be thinner. My arms are a little too flabby.
Some mornings, I can stand in front of the mirror and feel completely confident about the way I look. Others, I can’t bare to see myself because of how bloated I feel or how my waist isn’t below 30cm.
It was never about my weight. It was about what I perceived as the perfect body and how the media has conditioned me to think that only people with curves in the right places and flat stomachs could ever be accepted.
My mindset has led me to become obsessed with food. All of the time, I’m thinking about what I’m putting into my body, rather than actually enjoying how the food tastes. If I overeat on one day, I’m working out how I can make up for the calories I consumed. Fad diets and workouts have ruled my life for a long time now and, honestly, I’m fed up of it. Changing the way my brain perceives my body is going to be a huge feat but it is one that I am desperate to conquer.
One of my favourite tips I’ve heard for treating yourself better is to talk to yourself the way you would to your best friend. You would never compare your friend to another person or pick apart their differences. So why do we think that it is okay to do that to ourselves? Be your own best friend, rather than your own worst enemy.
Recently, I’ve been unfollowing accounts on social media that trigger me to compare my body to others’ and have tried to surround myself with strong people, who aren’t afraid to be real and open about their imperfections and insecurities. Whilst I’m still very far away from completely accepting myself, I feel like this can be seen as a little success. The journey towards self-acceptance is definitely a rocky one but is one that you do not need to go through alone. There are so many people who feel exactly like me and are just doing their best to try and learn how to love themselves for what their body can do rather than how it looks.
It was never about weight. It was always about my mindset.
Image courtesy of Jackson David.