My Journey with Body Image

3:47:00 PM

This post has been a long time coming and given that a huge part of my platform focuses on body positivity and empowering women of all sizes, I felt it was important for me to finally sit down and talk about my own journey. Those of you who follow me online know that I always try to post empowering messages about loving your body, recognizing that every body is a swimsuit body, and appreciating the strength that our bodies hold regardless of size. Behind the screen, however, I often find myself feeling like a hypocrite because often while writing those posts I’m also talking down to myself about my body. As I’ve said many times, loving your body is a journey and I can’t emphasize enough how what you see online isn’t always the reality.

There are mornings when I look at my body in complete confusion, “did I gain 10 pounds overnight?” “why are my pants so tight all of a sudden?” “did my butt get smaller?” “this shirt looked so different when I last tried it on.” On the other end of things, there are days when I think “am I losing weight?” “why is there more room in these pants?” “woah this shirt still fits?” Anyone who also suffers from body dysmorphia probably resonates with the above and this crushing feeling of not knowing what your body actually looks like.

Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), also known as body dysmorphia, body dysmorphia disorder and BDD disorder, is a mental health condition in which people suffer acute distress in response to perceived physical flaw

Ever since I can remember I have always had issues with my weight and was always being criticized about the way I looked. I have moments ingrained in my memory of people telling me things like “you shouldn’t be eating that,” “you look so nice but if you lost a few pounds you’d look even better,” and “if you just ate right and worked out you would be fine.” If this post accomplishes anything it’s debunking the myth that having a larger body automatically means someone is unhealthy. And secondly, that people become more conscious of their seemingly harmless comments which people can internalize to mean their bodies are unworthy.

As I said, I have struggled with body image my whole life and have developed so many obsessive habits in an attempt to lose weight which included everything from restrictive eating, to fad diets, to even trying to purge in the hardest moments. Through all of this, I was always confused as to why my body wasn’t working with me even if I was doing everything arguably “right.” I was an athlete my entire life and played soccer, volleyball, and softball throughout my entire high school career when my body image issues got the worst. I tried to stay as active as possible and within my household we always ate what I would consider “healthy” and when I did eat things that have been labeled as “bad for you,” they weren’t an everyday occurrence and were what I have now come to understand as normal behaviors for a teenager. So yet, why was I unable to lose weight or fight the incremental weight gain? Every time I tried to talk about it the blame was always placed on me -- I wasn’t trying hard enough. I wasn’t working out or eating right in the way I was supposed to. I just needed to stop eating. And over time I began to internalize this, I thought, “they’re right, something is wrong with me. If I just stop eating and start working out every single day I will look like all of the models I see.” But clearly, we all know that was far from the truth and all it did was damage me even more.

It wasn’t until visiting my physician in college that I was given an explanation as to why I was unable to lose weight and why it felt like my body was working against me. Last year, I was diagnosed with something called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a health problem that affects 1 in 10 women of childbearing age. Women with PCOS have a hormonal imbalance and metabolism problems that may affect their overall health and appearance. PCOS is also a common and treatable cause of infertility.

A common symptom of PCOS is weight gain and an inability to lose weight because of hormone imbalances. In that moment I felt a mix of emotions, on the one hand I was relieved to know there was an actual chemical reason for what was happening in my body and two I was terrified to know I had a syndrome that could one day lead to me being infertile. Since then I have gone on birth control and other medication to address the hormone imbalances and metabolism issues but the most important thing to me was knowing that in fact it wasn’t my fault all of these years. And this is not to say that you have to be diagnosed with something to explain having a larger body because at the end of the day being fat or plus size (or whatever language you choose to use) is not a bad thing and you should not be shamed for it. We are the way we are and there is no reason to hide the way we look to make others feel comfortable. Aside from me being born with a hormone imbalance, I am completely healthy yet people don’t think that when they first look at me and that’s their own fault. PCOS is most common for women of color and as such we are often the most policed and shamed about our bodies when we don’t fit into to preset standards of what we look like. And to that I say bullshit. No one has the right to judge the way others look or to tell them they aren’t powerful or beautiful because they don’t look like the size 0 models the media forces us to admire.

This is why my blog is so important to me, because growing up I would have loved nothing more than to see women who looked like me unapologetically loving their bodies and fighting back against the standards my family members, friends, and the media were imposing on me. I am here to tell you that you are enough and that you do not have to look one way to be beautiful or to appreciate the strength your body holds. At the same time, I cannot emphasize enough that loving your body is a difficult journey with constant ups and downs and will never be a straight line. Like I said, there are days when I wake up and love the way I look and feel like the most powerful badass ever and there are days when I don’t want to get up because I hate the way I look. We are also constantly surrounded by things that can make us frustrated with our bodies -- from fast fashion brands whose sizes are geared towards smaller bodies and are SO inconsistent (I’m serious I range from S-XL and 8-12 in most stores because of how arbitrary their sizing is), media that tells us you should be drinking fit teas and wearing waist trainers to look your best, or people close to us constantly judging the way we look. I ask you to, despite this, not give up on yourselves. 

  1. Document those good days and go back to them when you need to.
  2. Curate your feeds to follow people who inspire you and make you feel appreciated in your body (visit my body positivity highlight feed if you need inspo for body positive accounts to follow).
  3. Lastly, try to find small ways to fight back those that feel they’re entitled to make negative comments about your body. Instead of taking their words to be truth, question them and ask why they think you need to lose weight or why they think they have the right to comment on your weight. Also, if you’re ever in a room where someone’s body is being put down (if you feel comfortable) try to stand up for them and reassure them they are exactly where they need to be.

Remember to be gentle with yourself. Change both physical and mental does not happen overnight. Wear whatever you want, post whatever you want and don’t let society tell you that you do not deserve to love yourself because you do -- but also acknowledge that it’s ok if you don’t feel this way every day or if other people’s words get to you, it’s a process that often has many setbacks and that’s not your fault. Thank you for allowing me to share my journey with me and as always I would love to hear more about your own stories and what helps remind you that every single body is a good body. If you read all the way here, thank you, and I hope you will stand with me in this journey to accepting the way we look wholeheartedly.

You Might Also Like


Popular Posts

Contact Form


Email *

Message *