To Women Struggling with Body Image,
First of all, I would like to say that this message is dedicated to a woman struggling at any shape. I know that a lot of people associate poor body image with being overweight, but I completely understand that it still affects women who believe the opposite.
I read an article, 11 Facts About Body Image. It said, “Approximately 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies and resort to dieting to achieve their ideal body shape. Unfortunately, only 5% of women naturally possess the body type often portrayed by Americans in the media.” (I put the link below if you would like to read more.)
That breaks my heart. I’ve spent my entire life struggling with body image – thinking that I was “fat” when I wasn’t, dieting on and off, beating myself up when I failed at an unrealistic goal, getting upset when the scale didn’t change.. You get the point.
I still struggle with it to this day, but as I’ve worked on improving my mental health, I’ve learned so much about body image and how to start accepting myself and appreciating the body that I do have.
I have a long list of things that I wish I would have learned a long time ago, so I want to share it with you now.
1. Weight is a number on a scale. There are so many things that go into your weight – it’s not just body fat. Your muscle, your height, how much water you’ve drank that day, how much you’ve eaten, when you weigh yourself, and so many other things play a part in the number that you see.
I weighed myself 3 days in a row this week. The second day, I was 3 pounds heavier than I weighed the first day. Today, I’m 2 pounds lighter than I was yesterday. The day that I weighed the least, I felt the biggest.
2. I always heard people say, “weight doesn’t define you”. For the longest time, I completely dismissed that idea. But I’ve come to realize – they aren’t wrong. You aren’t a worse person because of your weight. You aren’t any less lovable because of your weight. You aren’t any less valuable because of your weight. You are still you, no matter what size you are.
3. You don’t fail when you gain or lose weight. You don’t fail when you eat carbs. You don’t fail when you fall short of a goal. These things aren’t failures, they are natural human occurrences that everyone goes through. Weight is an ever changing thing – and you aren’t stuck where you are. You can eat carbs, you actually need them in regulation. You can recommit as many times as you need to reach a goal, and progress isn’t always linear.
4. Have you ever said, “If I looked like ___, my life would be so much better.” If so, me too, and we were both wrong. Even the prettiest girls on the planet have problems. Maybe they’re different problems, but their life isn’t any easier just because they are pretty. They still struggle, get heartbroken, cry – you name it. They aren’t invincible people just because of the way they look.
Also, pretty girls are self conscious too. Models have eating disorders, some girls change 15 times before they leave the house, some girls spend over an hour on their makeup before they go to school, etc. Just remember, you never know what’s going on behind closed doors.
5. Spending any amount of time worrying about the way you look, is time you’ll regret in the future. I’ve heard so many older women say, “I wish I wasn’t so worried about what I looked like back then. I wish I would have started loving myself sooner, because looks aren’t the only thing that matters.”
6. I always think about a post I read a while back. It said something like, “Picture this: You’re sitting on your porch at 70 years old. Are you going to want to remember the time you stayed at home instead of going to the beach with your friends because your thighs looked too big? Or are you going to want to remember the amazing day that you had with them because you got over it and did it anyway.”
7. Your friends and family are going to love you, no matter what you weigh. They will love you at 90, 130, 180, 200, or 500 pounds. That’s how love works. People don’t look at you and say, “Oh she has gained or lost X amount of weight.. I can’t care about her anymore.”
8. I used to think that boys wouldn’t like me if I was fat. First of all, I wasn’t, even though I thought I was. But more importantly – ANY man who wouldn’t like a girl because of their weight is NOT worth it. I used to think that was BS and people only said it to make women feel better, but I was wrong.. Again. I wouldn’t want my husband to only love or care for me when I looked a certain way. Quite frankly, in my opinion, any man who disregards a woman because of their weight is shallow, and probably just wants to sleep around. Find someone that loves you for you.
9. If you’ve gotten through this entire list and believe nothing I’ve said, let me tell you this: You aren’t stuck in the body that you are in now. If you want to make a change, do it. It’s freaking hard, and it takes a long time, but you can do it. Just don’t change for other people, make the change for you to feel a certain way – for you to appreciate the body you’re in.
And if you do decide to make a change, do it the healthy way. Especially when it comes to losing weight, taking the easy way out (not eating), isn’t going to give you the long term results that you want – I promise. Do it in a way that makes you feel proud of yourself for what you’ve accomplished.
It’s time to start appreciating our bodies for the capabilities that they give us, not hating them for the way that they look. If you are a healthy human who can get out of bed in the morning and walk around – you have it a lot better than some others. So if you can’t love anything else, start appreciating your body for that.
11 Facts About Body Image: https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-body-image