Body image is, and always will be, such a prevalent insecurity that women deal with. I hope with all my heart that I live to see the day that we all come together to shed light on subject so it’s not such a taboo topic. The more we speak about it, the less bizarre it will be to honestly share how we feel and how we’re really doing.
I’m so passionate about this subject because I really, truly want to see a change. As someone that’s felt the weight of this subject on my shoulders for most of my life, I know what it feels like to be insecure (as does almost every single other girl out there, too). I’ve spent a lot of time scrutinizing and hating my body, as well as comparing myself to others. It’s not fun.
But——I have also felt the overwhelming confidence and security that self-love and self-confidence bring. There have been multiple seasons in my life in which I’ve been so proud of who I am because deep down I truly understood that I deserved that love, regardless of what I looked like. And that’s what I want to share with others; that’s what I want every single girl out there to understand.
So here’s a little synopsis of where I’ve been lately and what I’ve learned. I hope that it resonates with even just one person—I want our stories to come together.
College is hard when it comes to this stuff. Anyone that says otherwise, please talk to me, because I would love to learn from you. It’s hard when everyone around is negligent about what they’re eating. It’s hard when your friends order pizza and ice cream at the drop of a hat. It’s hard when there’s free food in the dorms or at events or really anywhere (hello, college budget). It’s hard when you feel like you’re the only person that is trying to stay on a healthy track. It’s just hard.
I’m lucky because I had a pretty good handle on health stuff coming into college. It’s one thing to know it, though, and a completely other thing to live it out. But basically, this is my experience:
First semester was a learning curve. A lot of good, healthy decisions, and a lot of poor, unhealthy decisions, too. This semester has been a little different. Growing up in Des Moines, (aka sometimes the dreariest and coldest and most depressing place during the month of February), I usually put on a little weight in that second month without realizing it. This year, I think I just got really lazy about eating clean foods and saying no to the not-so-clean foods. It really does take a lot of awareness and effort to be conscious of your decisions. Long story short, the same thing happened this year; February was yet again a month of gains.
Nearly every single year I spend spring break angry, upset, and disgusted with not only my body, but mainly the decisions that I made to get to such a deep level of self-loathing. I felt pretty similar this things this time around, as well. The beautiful thing about getting to that place, though, is that living a healthy lifestyle and celebrating self-love looks so, extremely appealing. It looks like the glass of ice water sitting on the counter when you’re craving a drink so badly you run to the cup and gulp it down. So that’s what kickstarted this season that I’m in now.
I am by no means perfect. There are many days that are hard for me to keep my health goals in focus, and there are days when all I can think about is an animated, thick, saucy In-N-Out cheeseburger with animal fries aaaand a chocolate shake. A three-for-one killer combo. But over the past three-plus weeks, I’ve seen a much better side of myself.
I have been focusing on feeling good, not necessarily only looking good. I’ve found (for the fifth or sixth time in my life) that when I eat clean foods to benefit my overall well-being—not just my appearance—my body, mind and heart all feel so much better. I’ve found a harmony between those three parts of myself that is unlike any other. The more I focus on eating good, healthy foods, the less I focus on the things I didn’t seem to like so much about myself before. It’s amazing how a little shift in focus will work miracles in so many more areas of life.
My point in sharing is not to brag; it’s not to show off; it’s not to act or feel supreme. My genuine desire is that someone reading this might think, “Oh, she struggles with that too? I’m not the only one.” The more we talk about this and encourage each other, the easier it will be for all of us to reach our goals and truly value what our bodies are capable of doing. “Health” is a tricky word to talk about, let alone maintain in this world, and it’s something very near and dear to my heart. This is a conversation I want to continue; let me know your thoughts. We’re in this together. xx