A couple of weeks ago, I wrote publicly about my hidden body insecurity for the first time. Usually I can write posts and articles easily. With this subject I cannot; my hands shake every time I hit the keyboard and my eyes fill with tears when I touch on a delicate truth about myself that I would prefer to keep in the dark.
My name is Sofia, I am a 24-year-old lawyer and an active fashion blogger. While I may appear a strong and confident woman in my posts, I am the opposite. I have lived with a fear of gaining weight or looking ‘fat’ for almost 10 years now.
It all started when I was about to throw my fifteenth birthday party. I visited a nutritionist because I wanted to look spectacular. Little by little I started to obsess over food and exercise. I kept evolving in my diets – trying new nutritionists and methods to look slimmer. I learned to hate carbohydrates and love protein.
Today, I know exactly how many grams are in a carb portion. I am aware, without consciously counting, how many servings of protein I have eaten in a day. The recap of my nutrients is my daily nightmare. I do it in my mind every single night before going to sleep. I start feeling so bad and hating myself so much whenever I accept that I ate an extra almond or indulged myself with some light popcorn at the cinema. I’m still working on a strategy on how to calm myself when I have these thoughts.
The ugly truth is that for all these years, there has not been a day when I have felt good in my body. In my mind I always crave more. I look at pictures of me from two or five years ago and I want to have that exact body shape I had then. But I know that at the time the photo was taken I didn’t like my body.
Being involved in the fashion industry makes accepting myself a bit harder. I look at my Instagram feed and it is full of ‘perfect’ bodies walking down the runway or famous fashion bloggers in bikinis having a blast on a yacht at St. Tropez. Mistakenly, I have thought several times that my life would be so easy if I had a slim and fit body. Sad as it may sound, when I make a wish it is always to be able to eat without getting fat.
For me, the social pressures of having a certain type of body don’t just exist in the world of fashion. I constantly hear comments coming from both men and women, such as “she’s really pretty, but she could look better if she dropped a few pounds”. It makes me think that I will never be pretty or attractive if I am not thin.
So, why am I coming clean about my hidden fear? First, because I am exhausted of feeling this way every single day. Second, I am aware many women will identify with the way I feel. You are not alone. We will fight this and learn to love and take care of ourselves…TOGETHER. No person should be defined by their physical appearance. We must embrace the fact that what makes a person unique is their soul, not their six-pack.
Some of the things I have started doing to overcome my obsession is to stop avoiding the mirror and start staring at my bare body for at least one minute each day. I also give my legs the credit they deserve for running those long distances; tell my arms and shoulders that I am grateful for them for letting me complete so many burpees per day; I acknowledge my butt for resisting so many squats without complaining. I have not yet managed to appreciate my non-six-pack-stomach, but I am certain I will love it if I continue to embrace my self-doubts.
And I encourage you to do it too. Never go a day without thanking your body for letting you achieve your daily goals. Start to realize that your body is amazing and that you do not need a six pack to kick ass out there. Little by little you will love yourself just the way you are. Because the truth is, you are perfect.