I went on my first diet when I was 10. I remember staying up late doing 100’s of sit-ups hoping it would get rid of my belly. For the longest time I had a toxic relationship with my body. I tried every fad diet known to man only to temporarily lose weight and then gain it back, plus more. My life revolved around me trying to lose weight; I never accepted what I looked at in the mirror, I didn’t even look at my body naked out of the shower. I used clothes to hide my body, until I was in high school I swam with a shirt over my bathing suit. It wasn’t until I was a size 22 that I truly saw and accepted my body. Until then, I didn’t love my body. I believed I wouldn’t and didn’t deserve to until I was skinny. I always put off living life with the excuse “I’ll do that when I lose weight.”
The first time I put on a bikini I was a size 22, I recall being so excited! I felt cute in my bikini, I took at least a hundred photos in it. Even still, I was a little nervous to go out in public wearing it. I went to the beach the next day and to my surprise the world didn’t end. Nobody cared about what I was wearing. I realized then that all the obstacles I had set up in my mind in regards to my body were not true. I finally understood I don’t have to wait until I’m “perfect” to love myself, I needed and deserved love now.
With that newfound self love came the understanding that I needed to get healthy if I wanted to live a full life. I went to the doctors a couple of months later and he told me I was pre-diabetic. That was really scary for me, I knew the reason was from the excess weight I was carrying and my poor diet. I needed to lose weight but this time needed to be different, I couldn’t go the same route I went before. This time had to be for health and I wouldn’t allow myself to get back into my old toxic routines.
The way I treated my body changed drastically. I started working out to get stronger and to become more connected with my body instead of trying to whither away. I began a healthy relationship with food and didn’t try anymore diets; I just ate what was good for my body and when I felt like eating a treat, I did without guilting myself. I was patient and didn’t obsess over what the scale said. Before long, the excess weight started falling off naturally. I’m now a size 16 and I’ve yet to go back to that negative place.
I’ve learned to accept all of the changes that has happened to my body; the loose skin, stretch marks, cellulite etc. They are all proof of where I’ve been in my life and more importantly, what I have overcome. Self love is freeing. It brings freedom from worrying what others think, freedom from believing you have to fit into society’s mold to be deemed “beautiful” and the understanding that you are enough just as you are. I hope to inspire other people to go on their own journey to finding self love.