As a woman, living in a society with a billion dollars’ industry on weight loss products, I had my fair share of body issues.
Even when I was little, I heard people making comments about my weight and always noticing when it came down or up. Children laugh at me. I was so ashamed of my body….
Every time we went to the seaside, I wanted to hide in the sand. This was my biggest fear: exposing my body.
Everything moved around my body weight. I tried all sorts of diets, pills, tea; I would wrap my body in plastic and go for a run; I would imagine cutting out the pieces I hated (and boy there were many of them); I would either starve or overeat. Nothing worked. If you want to know more about why, read my previous article here.
I loved eating but felt so guilty after. I would think that even breathing made me fat as every piece of food would pile up to my body fat. If only I could do something about it.
I loved to watch fashion shows and wanted so badly to become a supermodel. They were all so skinny and their bodies seemed perfection! I heard about this thing called bulimia which I heard a lot of models had. And so, I thought that this might be the secret of their body weight. I wanted to try it. Ate whatever I wanted and then went to the bathroom and wanted to throw up. I forced myself but couldn’t. I even stuck my fingers down my throat but with no result. I hated throwing up and maybe this is why I was unsuccessful. But then I remained with the guilt feeling….the guilt of eating whatever I liked.
I would hit my belly and imagined cutting it out. I cried and cried as nothing seemed to make me get rid of it.
During high school, I finally lost a lot of weight but was unaware of it, until a lot of people asked me how I did it. I did not know what to answer since I was dieting since forever, but somehow something worked this time. I still wanted to lose some more weight since I did not have the body of a supermodel yet. When you are so used to judging your body, rejecting it or being ashamed of it, even though you might lose weight, you will never see yourself for who you really are. The image in your head is so distorted that you will always see yourself as fat, no matter what the scale tells you.
Now, I started getting a lot of attention even from the boys I liked but did not looked at me before. Now, the attention did not felt so good, since even strangers on the street felt that it was ok to attempt to touch my body. Now, I heard a lot of stuff regarding my body (the kind of comments you will get on the street when you pass by a building in construction). I doubted that I wanted this.
My high school organized a Miss contest and I decided to give it a try since so many people complemented me for my looks. I was accepted to join a group of other girls who will prepare for the contest. We would practice cat walking and thought that finally my dream of becoming a supermodel did not seem so far away anymore. But then, after a few days of practice, the organizer had to cut a few of us out since we were more than needed to join the contest. And so, I was out the team. This was such a heartbreaking moment for me. I felt so ashamed of even dreaming of joining the contest. It was the confirmation my mind needed to come back to the old statements: “You are fat and you will always be no matter how much you try.”
Reached home, cried it out and ate a bag full of muffins…..No long after I came back to the old weight…
This pretty much sums up all my adolescence: diets over diets, shame, guilt, low self-esteem and confidence.
Even getting friends with my body took me so much time, and it was the result of years of self-awareness work, self-compassion and self-care. It was only when I got to the root of my eating behavior that made me actually lose weight; When I stopped dieting; When I stopped hating my body; When I started getting the attention inward; When I started listening to my thoughts and stopped believing them.
And I wasn’t even aware of how much progress I made until this happened:
These days I took a photo shoot as I needed some professional pictures for my website. I felt confident and so excited to see the pictures. And when I finally received them I had a shock: they were all edited out: my face was sharpened, the lines on my neck were removed, my arms seemed thinner, and I could not identify myself with the girl in the pictures. Of course, for someone who doesn’t know me, they all looked very nice, and nothing seemed wrong, but for me, they were unrealistic. And in that moment, I realized that I love my body just the way it is, with curves and lines and stretchmarks. I love that it is strong and soft at the same time. For me, being healthy is more important that looking like a supermodel.
After so many years of hating my body, now, I can say that being myself and not some image on the cover of the magazine is the best thing ever!
And in that moment, when seeing the pictures, I told to myself:
I don’t want to be a supermodel!