Body Image has always been an emotional merry-go-round for me. When I was a child, I did not like how my thighs spread when I sat down, I was only eight, and already my self-esteem was nonexistent. A classmate had a pair of purple jeans that I loved and asked my mother to buy me a pair. She could not find them in my size. I wore regular, and my classmate wore slim. Of course, this was the beginning of my body image issues. It went beyond my weight, it was also my skin color, hair texture and length, and even my shoe size. What I am focusing on now is my weight. In middle school, as my friends started developing breasts, hips, and butts. I remained an A cup and a flat butt. I went from a little chunky to skinny and guess what? I hated it. I was at a period in my life. I wanted to feel accepted for who I was. Instead, I dealt with derogatory comments from my peers about how skinny I was. I was flat-chested and no butt.
I found myself plagued with self-loathing and eating everything in sight to try and gain weight. I did exercises to increase the size of my breasts. None of it worked, and even if it did, I would not have been happy. I needed to learn until I was pleased with who I am on the inside my outward appearance would never be enough. Fast-forwarding to my adult years, once I got married, I started gaining weight. A little each year, I started stress eating, and things got a little out of control. After a while, it was not about caring about how I looked. I had to change my eating habits to remain healthy. I had prediabetes and was told if I did not change my diet and start exercising. Old habits die hard, but once I was separated from my ex-husband slowly, I was motivated to take baby steps to a healthier lifestyle. I cut back on having fast food every day. I used to eat either doughnuts, pie, or cake every day but slowly I stopped that. I did not give it up entirely but ate it in moderation.
I learned to stop eating when I am full instead of finishing my plate because the food is there. A primary component, though, was exercising, which is something I do not like to do. By December 2019, I had lost 10 pounds and was 158 pounds. February of 2020, I started a plant-based diet and drinking green smoothies every day. By June 2020, I was 144 pounds and feeling good. What I learned about myself was a plant-based diet is not for me. I like meat too much to give it up. The transition has helped me give up some bad foods for me, such as going to places like McDonald’s. I have not been there since March 2020. I eat red meat sometimes and hardly any pork. I eat a lot of fish, chicken, and turkey. I do not drink milk anymore but love oat milk as an alternative.
Because of the pandemic, I was off work from March 2020 to July 2020, the unknown of going back to work was stressful, and I found myself stress eating again, I gained 14 pounds, and that is where I am now. I am battling my strong desire for sweets. I just started a new exercise regimen called Body Groove. It is amazing. I get to dance, which I like to do as much as I’d like and there is no right or wrong way to do it. The instructor also teaches about loving yourself and using a holistic approach to your health. Now that the holidays are over, I’m back to smaller portions and sweets only on the weekends. I look forward to feeling good from the inside out. I still have my struggles with how I look. I am 48 years old and have cellulite, my stomach isn’t flat, and the list could go on. I can say that I am happy that I’m doing something that is positive and is propelling me in a direction that will help me be healthy and happy.