Body image 

Some days I really hate my body, as I’m sure we all do. With summer coming up, and having a special trip to Florida planned, I’ve recently been more worried about what my body looks like. Some days I’ll stand in the mirror and point out every piece of my body that I feel needs to be changed. I’ll poke and pinch my fat, wishing it was gone. 
And then I take a step back and wonder where this came from. Why do I hate my body so much? How can I stand in the mirror and list all of the things I don’t like about myself while telling others to love themselves as they are? It feels hypocritical and unnecessary. 

When I think about it, the first time I really became conscious of how my body looked was in fifth grade. I was “dating” a boy and he decided that he didn’t like me anymore. One day in the stairwell he handed me a card that he had found from Jenny Craig’s wait loss something or other, as well as a card for planet fitness. He told me that he didn’t want to be with a “chunky girl” and that maybe if I try those things out I would look better. 

In fifth grade I was nowhere near over weight. However, that moment really made me notice my body and the bodies of other girls around me. It sparked a hatred for my body. 

In 7th grade health class we measured our height, weight, and bmi. In front of everyone. The bmi chart indicated that, as a young girl of my height, my weight was too high. I was “on the verge of being over weight”. Once again, a surge of hatred coursed through me. 

Once I entered high school, my depression worsened. I gained weight and hated myself immensely. I went through spurts of over exercising and watching what I ate to eating everything in sight and never leaving my room. As my weight fluctuated, so did my self esteem. My weight was linked to my perception of myself for reasons I didn’t even realize. 

Unfortunately, I think that this is a common theme among girls of any age. We are taught to look a certain way and if we don’t, they have a product that will help us get there. The models in magazines that we are expected to look like don’t even look like that. Everything is photoshopped and marketed to keep their beauty and weight loss products selling. 

The more I notice this, the way that society and media portray beauty (white, tall, thin, fit but not too muscular, high cheek bones, big eyes, make up but not too much make up, etc.) I realize how ridiculously far fetched those standards are, as well as how much of a moving, unachievable able target it is.

I’m learning to love my body for what it can do instead of what it looks like. My legs allow me to run for a mile, and my arms can lift my nephew, and my stomach allows for my boisterous laugh. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life at war with my body, no one deserves that. 

So for now, I will eat to nourish my body, and exercise for the release of pent up emotions, and learn to appreciate all that my body can do, instead of worrying about getting thin for bikini season. 

I encourage you all to take a look at the standards you’re setting for yourself and where they’re coming from. Make a list of all the things you like about yourself and avoid anything physical. Learn that you are more than your appearance, and that your appearance is beautiful no matter what. 

-JB

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