Let’s talk about body image and self-love…
I feel like almost everyone can relate to it. Constantly, we will be browsing on social media and see images of people looking perfect and being successful doing so. We have started to think beauty means success and if we are beautiful then we will have what they have. These images make it very hard to be your full self because you start to want to become them. The Instagram models, the Kardashians, the Hadid sisters, etc. This puts an idea in our heads that we need to be that way and if we aren’t then we aren’t beautiful. This has been very hard on me because I haven’t been able to make it to the “perfect” model body image. When I was in High School I was always in shape and really didn’t worry too much about size. College came around and I feel like that is when social media like Instagram really changed everything. I had very low self-esteem in general and it was really hard for me to believe I was great or beautiful. I remember growing up and my grandparents constantly praising me on how great I was. They made me feel so special and I felt very loved and important. High School came around and they passed away and I didn’t have someone telling me these things anymore. Sometimes people don’t even have that praise as a kid, and can you imagine how hard that is on someone’s self-esteem? Who we are around constantly like our family, friends, teachers, classmates, and anyone else who is directly around has a huge impact on us without even realizing it. I started to seek validation from men or friends and started to develop my self-worth based on what others thought. If someone told me I was beautiful I honestly wouldn’t believe them and thought they were being fake.
This cycle was very up and down and it got worse in my 20’s and I started to really think I wasn’t worthy of love. I remember wanting love so badly but for some reason the people I dated never wanted long term and I remember that making me feel like something was wrong with me. I started attracting men or BOYS basically since they weren’t mature enough haha but I started to attract ones who weren’t the best for me. When we view ourselves poorly then we will attract what we think we deserve.
Once I moved to Georgia in 2015 I still had the same feelings of wanting to be loved and finding someone. I remember this being so hard and my self-love was still not there. I started going to therapy and shortly after was recommended to a Psychiatrist to get on medication for depression and anxiety. My depression was really bad when I first moved to Georgia and so I knew that I had to try whatever I could to make it through. I tried anti-depressants, anxiety meds, medication for panic attacks, and sleeping medication. I was still taking birth control so basically I was on five different pills every single day. All of these medications has a huge impact on my body and I know that’s when my body started changing (Along with getting older). I met my now Husband and I remember him thinking I was like a goddess. He was so genuine about it and you can tell he truly thought the world of me. Finally, a good guy who I actually like really sees me and thinks I’m amazing. See there I go again with needing that validation from someone in order to believe it myself. Well he did a great job making me believe it and I just fell so in love with him! He still to this day makes me feel beautiful but he sees me in a deeper light then just what’s on the outside. I know he had a huge impact on the way I started viewing myself and I know with his help it has helped me let go of past bad cycles.
My depression started to get a lot better a few years later and the medication was really working. Although, my weight slowly creeped up on me and it was becoming harder to keep my slim figure.
I was very healthy and eating very clean and not going out and partying. I was healthier then I was before and I was walking every single day. Why did I start to gain so much weight? I went through so many things ….I thought I possibly had PCOS? I had other symptoms of this and called my Doctor and told them and they said we would have to do a lot of tests to see if that was true. I still need to follow up on that and that is my advice that so many other things could be going on with your body! I was tested for low thyroid but that was in normal range. My blood pressure on the other hand was really high about 170/90 and so I knew something was going on with my health. I couldn’t figure it out but in my head, I thought it was because of all the medication so I was determined to get off everything. I stopped taking my anti-depressant and my birth control. I continued my meds for when I have panic attacks and for sleeping but that was it. I started an extreme diet and being very restrictive with what I was eating and slowly started losing some weight. I went from 155 to 142 and I was so thankful to finally be under 150. I had a really hard time and I was very depressed during this time mainly because I was off my medication but also because I was going through a lot of crazy life changes.
In September, I had a really dark moment and that is when I wish I was still on my medication so my thoughts would be more stable and I wouldn’t have gotten in such a dark state. Why did I care more about being thin and skinny then about my mental health? I thought if I was skinny then I would be happy and be loved by people. Even though I was very much loved and I have a Husband who thinks I am the most beautiful women alive, but yet I am still sitting there thinking I look terrible. No matter how much he has told me over the last few years and for moments it did truly help- but then time goes on and if we still haven’t worked on learning to love yourself then these issues will always arise. I was always surrounded by friends who are thinner then me and then I see celebrities and influences always looking great and successful and so of course I want to be like all of them. I would sit there on my phone and scroll for hours and just get sucked into what everyone else was doing. There was times where I wouldn’t even want to go out with friends because my confidence was at an all time low. I would try on 20 different outfits and it felt like nothing fit or looked right on me. This defiantly led to a dark depression and I started to compare myself to everyone else. I have always had a bigger belly and for some reason I get bloated very easily and that has made me feel very self-conscious. I started obsessing over my weight and over everything I was doing. This became really unhealthy and it makes me sad that I worried that much about it.
I don’t think I will ever be 120 pounds and a size 0-2 like I used to be, but if anything I am healthier and that is what means the most to me. I do not party as much, I get enough sleep, take vitamins, eat the right food, and take care of my mind and my body. I am starting to realize that I am not 22 anymore and I am almost 30 so no wonder my body is changing. I walk everyday and do yoga so I have built a lot of muscles and that is why the scale says that number. I also have stopped weighing myself because I feel like that can be a slippery slope to go down. I used to weigh myself everyday and get so mad when I would gain 1 pound when I felt like I should have lost 5. I think it is important to get rid of any triggers that make you feel less then. Unfollow people on social media who have this perfect body if that makes you feel self-conscious. Currently, I feel great and have a healthy relationship with my body now. I have started to accept where I am and have started to love who I am regardless the size. I know that a lot of people, especially women deal with comparison and have a hard time with self-esteem. I want you to know that you are not alone and that you are beautiful the way you are!
A book that really helped me was Pretty Happy by Kate Hudson and I recommend for anyone going through the process of learning to love yourself. In the book, they give you many activities to learn how to love yourself. One of them was to look at the mirror while being naked and list 5 things I love about myself. WOW, I felt so weird doing this and didn’t want to be too coincided. I started to do the exercise even though I felt so uncomfortable but slowly I was like wow there are some things I love about myself. When you finally step away from social media and outside sources and really focus in on YOURSELF, it is amazing how great you start to feel.
I will say that the one thing that has helped me has been yoga. Whenever I do yoga I feel so sexy and confident and accomplished. Whenever I sweat and do activities that make me feel stronger then that it boosts my confidence. Do more things that make you feel good about yourself and that add to your self-confidence. I did want to share this photo I took last year and I felt so self-conscious in this photo. I did not want to post this because I felt like I had back rolls and felt huge. I was so excited to take this photo because of the view and I was in my new KRAHS bathing suit. Regardless, I did not post this photo because of how I thought I looked like in it. I think it is so sad we sit there and worry about our photos so much and we add filters, and then worry about the caption because we think everything has to be perfect. We think if we post the perfect photo with the perfect caption then everyone will love it and we will get more likes and people will like us more. We seek outside validation constantly! We always ask our friends if they like this outfit or how they look in something. If the friend doesn’t like it then our confidence is shot. We like going to our friends for input but we need to start trusting our own judgements. If we feel good in it then we should wear it! My entire life I wanted everyone to like me and I wanted to be friends with everyone. Since a young age I was the popular one and I always had many different friends. I notice that now I would rather have less friends but quality people around who make me feel comfortable and great.
The point of my post is to never forget who you truly are! Love your body with all the “imperfections” and do not compare yourself to others. “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
If you feel like you are comparing yourself on social media then maybe it is time to take a break from it and focus on the present. The most important thing is to be healthy and not go to extremes to be a certain weight. I know this is easier said then done and a lot of people deal with this, but if you are struggling there are so many resources and places you can reach out to for help.
I am not saying it is healthy to let yourself go because at some point your blood pressure goes up and a lot of health problems can arise. I think it is important to be healthy! I am saying if you are doing all the right things and being healthy then you need to be proud of what you are doing. Honestly, everyone has a different shape and size and not everyone will be a size 2 for the rest of their lives. Even some people who are a size 2 aren’t confident in their bodies and have body image issues. This subject applies to any size and it really comes down to how they view themselves. We always want to be what someone else is, but how do we know that person is even happy how they are? Are they starving themselves? Do they have a eating disorder and having a really hard time? I have to remind myself of this a lot! Have empathy for every single person and know that at the end of the day we are all struggling and all striving to be this perfect mold. Stop body shaming others no matter their size and focus on yourself. A lot of people struggle in silence and so do not be fooled by what you see on the surface. I have started to wear clothes that make me feel supported and comfortable and I want to wear clothes that make me feel the most confident. I encourage you to wear clothes you feel comfortable in and rock it! You are beautiful just the way you are!
I urge you to go get naked and look in the mirror and say 5 things you love about yourself! Do not focus on the things you don’t love. Only focus on what you do love! Write them down and put them on a post it and be reminded. Sometimes I put encouraging post it’s around to give me little reminders. Go do something that makes you feel comfortable and confident! Be around people who make you feel great but don’t forget to do things to make yourself feel great. Unfollow social media accounts that make you feel terrible about yourself. These little changes can go a long way!
Thank you so much for reading and if you want to talk more about this topic feel free to reach out to me! I would love to hear your stories on this!
Love & Light,