For as long as I remember, I’ve struggled with my self-image. In a world where people constantly throw the word “self-love” around all day long, I can honestly say that I’ve had a challenging time truly grasping it in my life.
I hated my weight since high school. I was always overweight and very insecure about it.
I always told myself “Once I get skinny, then I’ll be happy”. Boy, was I wrong.
This year in quarantine, I started working out at home and finding a way to incorporate exercise into my routine, for good this time. My friend gave me a meal plan, told me what supplements to take and she even gave me a list of workouts. I ran 4–7 miles 3x a week, did strength training twice a week and a tummy workout once a week while maintaining a high protein diet. I completely changed my diet and shockingly I lost a total of 15 pounds in a few months, 30 in the past year and finally reached my goal weight after years of hating my body.
I was in a constant state of cognitive dissonance. I had attached being slim to true happiness. No one could convince me otherwise. I tied being skinny with self-worth, a better career, better opportunities and a better chance at finding everlasting happiness. My weight was always the missing piece to the puzzle (So I thought). That said, I tortured myself for years with countless diets.
Any Beyonce diet you’ve heard of, best believe I’ve tried it.
Fasting? I’ve been doing it for 10 years.
Laxatives? I abused them from middle school to high school.
My weight was an obsession and that didn’t change once I got older. I was attached to vanity and the perks I thought it would bring me that I let nothing get in the way of me and a diet. Those thoughts clashed with me when I stepped on the scale and realized I had finally gotten down to 130lbs.
One thing was missing. My happiness.
I thought I would be ecstatic but instead I felt a wave of sadness. This can’t be how I’m supposed to feel after reaching one of my lifelong goals, I thought to myself. I waited so long to celebrate this moment and when it finally came to fruition, I had an intense feeling of hopelessness.
I grew up reading magazines like Cosmo, Teen Vogue, and dreaming of having a life just like theres. All the women that I seen were always successful, smiling, thin and most importantly, beautiful. I wanted to be just like them. I set a ridiculous standard for myself. Within this past year, I was always on a crazy diet. I was determined.
When I would go out with friends, I would deprive myself and order something with the lowest amount of calories. I’ve even declined dates because I didn’t want to sabotage my weight-loss. I’ve had friends even ask:
“Why do you wanna lose weight so bad?”
“You’re on another diet?”
I would respond and tell them I wanted to get down to 130.
Their response: “Why?”
That’s an answer I didn’t have. Hell, I didn’t even know. One thing that was loud and clear was my insecurities. Nothing was good enough for me. I thought being slim would award me new opportunities, genuine love, and a better career. I thought it would make me ‘good enough’. None of those things ended up happening and there I was, back to square one of not being satisfied with anything.
I’ve realized that I always equate my happiness into tangible things whether that be love, material things, money, a career and my self-image. Those are all things that can be taken away with a drop of a dime. If this year has taught us anything in life, it’s that those things all don’t matter. My weight didn’t even matter. All my life, I’ve just wanted to be the best and I’ve always felt like an under dog but that was solely internal. My weight was a problem to me because I made it one. No one called me fat, I called myself that. No one ever said I wasn’t good enough, I did. I let those thoughts consume me on a daily basis.
I lacked so much confidence for way too long and no matter how much I preached about self-love, it was fleeting from me. No amount of weight that I shed would change that.
Our minds are the most powerful organ in our bodies and I filled mine up with filth and negative self-talk.
It’s so important to pour into thyself. I say this not to come off like I know it all because clearly I don’t. Love who you are no matter how you look. Life is so short and I don’t want to spend another minute wasting it on trying to chase perfection because if I do, I will always feel defeated.
It may seem that having the best body, the best clothes or the best looking life is the ultimate goal but it’s not. We can scroll online, read articles or idealize a celebrity who seems to have it all but in reality, we never really know what goes on in someones life. Happiness is fleeting. It comes and goes and I hate to break it to anyone looking for it elsewhere but, it’s an inside job.
As a society, we have got to do better at the messages we send out to the world and to ourselves. J.Cole was right on the mark, when he said “There’s no such thing as a life that is better than yours”. There isn’t, trust me. A lot of the stuff we see and envy is just smoke and mirrors. There is beauty in everything. Those stretch marks you see in the mirror are beautiful. That face you despise is gorgeous to someone.
You will never be good enough for anyone if you aren’t good enough for yourself. Confidence is loud, but insecurities are even louder. What you focus on tends to proliferate. What you appreciate, tends to multiply as well. How you talk to yourself is vital, those negative thoughts aren’t killing anyone but you. Embrace who you are no matter where or who you are. Being alive and having a physical body for your soul to fill is nothing short of a miracle. We must never lose sight of the things that truly matter in life and 90% of the time, it’s not your weight.