Body image. Probably one of the most controversial and emotional topics, in my opinion. Our view on what beauty is has changed drastically in the past decade or so. We went from embracing our curves to now hating them and associating it to “fat.” The media’s portrayal on what beauty is considered doesn’t help one bit, especially for those young teenagers who are just starting to notice things. It’s shocking how many magazines, tv shows, and newspapers consider a woman with no meat on her bones or someone with a perfectly toned body after working out for 6 hours/day in the gym as “sexy” or “beautiful.” There was a show I was watching on E! one time where they showed the “best and worst” celebrity bodies and broke it down why so and so have an amazing or an awful body. Their excuses is that because they’re celebrities, they have a reputation to hold, which, to me, is udder crap. I don’t think the producers realize how many 10 or 11 year olds are watching that show and how much it is affecting them mentally. Hell, those types of shows did a number on me. It’s the same thing when you tune into “America’s Next Top Model” and you hear judges ridicule a girl for being “too fat” and needing to “shed a couple pounds” when it looks like they need to put on a couple more pounds. How did we go from curves to stick in the beauty world?! It’s sad how our society as a whole does not accept beauty in different shapes and forms. By all means, I am not criticizing those girls out there who are skinny or have perfectly toned body; what I’m trying to get at is that no girl or guy are willing to accept their body and love what they have. There’s nothing wrong with losing a few pounds for health reasons or to look good in a swimsuit but I feel like everyone wants more and refuses to accept their body. They look at someone like Kim Kardashian or Jessica Alba and expect their body to look like that and nothing else; anything different is considered “fat” and they will go to the extreme to get that exact look. That’s an unhealthy way of looking at things, if you ask me.
Confession time-I was definitely one of those girls who could not accept my body for what it was. When I was 13-16 years old, I was pretty overweight. I was in complete denial of it and refused to accept that I needed to shed a few pounds for my health. One day, my mom asked me if I wanted to go to DQ for dinner, so out of curiosity, I looked at the nutrition facts. Their chicken finger basket with fries is a whopping 1,000 calories. This put everything into perspective for me and at that moment, I changed my eating habit. At first, my dieting was fairly healthy-I ate smaller portions and cut out fast food but as time went on, I took my dieting to the extreme, which made my family worried. I refused to eat things that were over 200 calories (say like a granola bar), and would practically count calories. I was living off of 600-750 calories a day and dropped over 30 lbs because of that. I wanted to weigh 100 lbs so bad, I was doing whatever I could to reach that goal, even if I was taking that unhealthy approach. My own grandfather said I looked too thin but I didn’t see it. All I saw was this skinny girl I always wanted to be and I felt proud of it. The only problem with was that in order for me to maintain that weight, I would have to consume 600-750 calories a day, which is not healthy. When I started dating my boyfriend, I put my overly obsessed eating habits aside, without realizing it. Slowly I started going from 103 to 115 and hated it. My family said I looked much better, but all I could see was fat (which was not even the case). I started to get desperate to shed those pounds as quickly as possible-I turned to diet pills. Without my family and boyfriend’s knowledge, I would sneak away and pop 3-4 pills a day and practically starve myself. The end result? I fainted near my boyfriend and he had to help me out. Luckily, no ambulance had to be called but it was a scary moment for my boyfriend and for myself. I made a vow that day that I would never take diet pills again and I kept it…for a while. Fast forward to January of this year, and I found myself shoving more diet pills into my system to lose a few more pounds. I noticed that I was creeping up to 120 (20 pounds closer to how much I used to weigh when I was 13) and I panicked. Now, let me remind you, even though I was weighing 120, my body did not look like how it was 10 years ago but, once again, I refused to believe it. Thank God, I didn’t faint but my menstrual cycle was off and random, my stomach would hurt throughout the day and I would feel jittery. Suddenly, while I was about to take another pill, it clicked in my head-what the hell am I doing?! Why am I shoving this poison in my system? I wasn’t trying to lose weight to be healthy like before; I was doing it to look skinny and nothing else. I didn’t have any health issues nor was I overweight yet I felt the need to look like how society thinks I should. I got up from the floor and went to the mirror and stared at myself. The first glance, I could see how many body wasn’t all that toned and how I had some curve. Just seeing what I was seeing in the mirror disgusted me and I was on the verge of taking that diet pill. I calmed myself down, closed my eyes, and thought about my boyfriend. I started hearing him say “You’re so beautiful, baby” and “I’m so lucky to have you” in my head; after a few moments, I slowly opened my eyes and stared into the mirror again. What I saw were my imperfections on my body–and I loved it. I realized that my body is beautiful and I love how I look. It makes me feel me and I didn’t want to change that part of me. I thought about that 13 year old and compared that to what I have right now and you know what? I did look good compared to before. I’m not saying I was perfectly “healed” after that moment but that was my turning point. It’s been 6 months since I’ve taken diet pills and I’m glad. Whenever I walk by the “dieting” section at a store, I never feel the need to look at what they can offer.
You’re in this world only once. If you sit there and pick out the tiniest flaws in you because a television said so, you will never be happy in life. Quit comparing yourself to all those celebrities because you’ll just end up never feeling satisfied. Your body will NEVER look like Jessica Biel’s or Angelina Jole. If you want to lose weight or exercise, do it because YOU want to do it so YOU feel good about yourself. If you have curves or if your abs are not rock hard, who cares?! Nobody is perfect and trying to be perfect is near impossible. No matter how “perfect” you try to be, you’ll never feel like it’s enough. Embrace being imperfect because that’s what is going to make you perfect! Don’t listen to what our society has to say about beauty because their views are completely distorted and wrong. You don’t need to fit into 00 size jeans nor do you need to workout 6-8 hours a day to get a sexy body.
Since my “revelation”, I’ve been taking a much healthier approach. I eat everything but in smaller portions and I’ve started exercising in the morning for 30 minutes. Believe it or not, exercising for 15-30 minutes everyday can do wonders to your body. I avoid things that have MSG and high fructose corn syrup and I eat my mom’s food 5-6 days out of the week. My mom cooks pretty healthy Indian food so I never feel guilty when I chow down on her food at dinner :). My boyfriend is right, I am beautiful and I love the body I have been given.
The next time you are flipping through a magazine or your television and you stumble upon “the best and worst celebrity bodies” ignore it. Start loving yourself and start loving the body you have been given. Don’t fall for the media hype on beauty. Start embracing your flaws rather than trying to make everything perfect. Be happy with what you have and don’t compare yourself to other people. I promise you, things will start looking up once you put these negative thoughts aside. Look, I’m no health expert nor do I have that “perfect” body-I’m just a normal girl dealing with everyday issues that us women face each day. What I’m trying to get at is just love yourself and stop taking risks that can potentially cause harm to your body. In the end, are you willing to risk your life to look like someone you see in magazines or tv? I’m not saying I’m perfect nor am I saying that this journey for me has been easy; I’m still dealing with these issues on a daily basis. Some days are good and some days are bad. What helped me the most was throwing away those diet pills and not looking back at that. This small, big for me, change is what has helped me continue on this journey. Just remember, we’re all beautiful and beauty is only skin deep.