My flatmate and I went to the beach the other day, and we wanted to take some photos in our bikinis. She made a remark and said, ‘You have zero fat on your body!’
It was the first time I’ve heard anyone say that about me, because they wouldn’t know how much I struggled with my weight and body image.
Looking back at my journey, I feel like I’ve made a lot of progress.
In my teen years, I was not at all comfortable with my body. It started when I was 15 until I was about 20. My weight would fluctuate easily, and after putting in all of my efforts to lose weight, I would gain it all back again.
The obsession with weight loss was overtaking my life.
I was obsessed with counting calories and burning fat. To motivate me to exercise every day, I would hang up pictures of size 2 models and write my goal weight on a post-it note on my mirror. I was measuring everything, because I was so desperate to look skinny.
This obsession stopped me from enjoying food, or eating out with other people.
The feeling I remember vividly was the overbearing guilt. It was the feeling I would get after binging on leftovers, or after eating things I shouldn’t be eating (uncontrollably) and having to worry about burning it off the next day.
It was a painful cycle of self-loathing, depriving myself of food and having to live with overwhelming guilt.
Making Lifestyle Changes
Since then, I’ve totally changed the way I think about food and how I perceive my body.
The reason why I struggled so much with my weight was that I couldn’t find the right balance.
I was extremely dissatisfied with my body.
It was only in the last two years where I started to find balance in my diet. I was more accepting towards myself. I ate more intuitively and stopped eating things that don’t digest well or would cause breakouts on my skin. I stayed away from processed foods, and generally felt a lot better.
Now, I only exercise once or twice a week and the best thing is that I get to indulge at every meal, because I loooooove food.
Looking back, it’s been a year since I’ve weighed myself. I won’t be able to tell you what my current weight is, because frankly it’s caused so many issues in the past and now I feel like I don’t care about it anymore. The only thing now I give my attention to is how comfortable I feel in my body.
Once I stopped focusing on the external and paid more attention to how I felt internally was where everything changed.
I remember watching the movie ‘I Feel Pretty’ with Amy Schumer as the protagonist. It’s the story of a woman whose life changes when she suddenly wakes up feeling beautiful, that leads her in getting her dream job and a partner.
Confidence changes everything. I also deeply admire Ashley Graham for what she did to inspire the body positivity movement, and I especially love her groundbreaking speech for Glamour about her experience as a model in the fashion industry.
Be weary of the media
It’s not at all helpful to be comparing yourself to people in magazines or on social media. There’s so much work done in constructing these ‘perfect bodies’ behind the photographs itself, like make-up, plastic surgery, diet and fitness plans surveyed by professionals, and retouching.
The media pumps out unrealistic beauty standards, which makes a lot of women feel inadequate, and quite frankly, not good enough. It’s like you have to have the right size, proportions and curves — which naturally, is almost impossible to attain. Be skinny but still have some curves. Eat less. Try intermittent fasting. Hit the gym 5 times a week. Or just starve for a week — they say.
But everyone comes in all shapes and sizes. Beauty comes in all forms. There isn’t one perfect ideal.
Because the perfect beauty ideal doesn’t exist.
It’s only an illusion.
‘Every woman deserves to feel beautiful’ — I Feel Pretty