Growing up, I was never really big, but entering high school, going through some depression, and developing an unhealthy eating habit made me gradually gain weight. Even until my college days, I still gradually gained weight. School was stressful and so fast-paced that I did not really prioritize my health and I just learned to accept my body for what it was. Despite this, I learned to be confident and I was able to do things that anybody could do. I decided that my weight would not be a hindrance for me to accomplish my goals in life. To me, this was accepting my body and myself for what I was. For me, this was self-love. Or so I thought.
By writing this post, I just wanna talk a little about self-love in terms of body positivity, which I have misunderstood my entire life. First of all, yes, body positivity is loving your body for what it is and being confident in your own skin and being empowered to do what you normally know you couldn’t do, regardless if you fit today’s social norms of beauty. However, body positivity goes beyond this. Body positivity is not just being beautiful whether you are fat or skinny. Body positivity is taking care of your body, by eating healthy, by exercising, by getting enough sleep, by avoiding smoking, or avoiding drinking too much. Body positivity is loving your body enough that you are not willing to feed it junk every single day of your life. Body positivity is not changing your lifestyle overnight just to become a healthier, more beautiful version of yourself. Body positivity is slowly but surely making small sacrifices everyday to reach your goal--a goal that you want for yourself and a goal that you know you will be happy achieving. Body positivity is NOT just accepting your body and deciding to love it for what it is just because you’ve given up to get your dream body or because you think it’s too difficult or hopeless. If you truly love your body and what it is now, or if you are truly content with how you look and feel great about it, then that is wonderful! <3 Isn’t that what we all want anyway? However, if you have decided to just accept your body for what it is just because you know deep inside that you’ve just kinda given up, DON’T.
I will tell you this. I have been larger than most girls for almost my entire high school and college years. I did decide to accept myself and just be confident despite my body because I knew there was no turning back for me. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve attempted so many diets and I tried exercising a few minutes and hours here and there but I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t give up my lifestyle. I couldn’t give up my favorite food (PIZZA), I was not willing to sacrifice temporary pleasures for a lifelong gain. For this reason, I just decided to live my life by eating what I liked eating, even if it meant still being the bigger girl and even if it meant that I was gonna be this big my entire life. For those who have seen me as someone who was so confident despite of my body, thank you. However, I’m also sorry because I was not living out true body positivity. I lived an unhealthy lifestyle and I just tried to cover it up. That’s what I did for so many years. I did not love my body and I was not 100% content with how I looked, so I just kept covering and covering it up.
Fast forward to January 31, 2017. I was randomly messaged by a trainer who talked about living a healthier lifestyle so I decided to take the program and see how far I'd make it because there was no harm in trying. Best decision of my life! All I can say is, it changed me a whole lot in terms of learning to make healthier choices in the long-run. I tried out the three-week program which was NOT the easiest for me because I couldn’t eat the foods I wanted in the amounts I wanted, but that’s the thing. Life isn’t easy and if you want something, you have to work hard for it. If you’re not happy with your body, don’t complain, cry over it, or be ashamed of it. Acknowledge that you’re not happy with you body and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. WORK HARD FOR IT. Nobody else can do it for you but yourself. You have to decide that you really want it. You have to be willing to make sacrifices. I mean, really, think about it. What is a few months or even a year of making gradual changes to your diet and lifestyle in order to reach your goal versus living the rest of your life with a body that does not make you happy just because you cannot sacrifice temporary and unhealthy pleasures?
Fast forward to today, I am able to share this story because I acknowledged that I was not happy with my body and because I decided to commit to changes I had to make with my lifestyle. The three-week program I took was only the beginning and was only an introduction to living a healthier lifestyle.
Before, I weighed 187.6 lbs (my heaviest ever). Now, I weigh 144.8 lbs. In a span of a little over four months, I lost a total of 42.8 lbs. I did not lose that weight through a crazy and unsustainable crash diet. I did not even lose that weight due to exercising everyday, which I have to admit. I lost that weight by deciding to eat healthier and make sacrifices everyday to reach my goal, because you can NEVER out-exercise the junk that you eat.
Now, I am 17.2 lbs away from my goal weight and I have a long way to go, but I am happy where I am, knowing that I am eating right, inserting exercises here and there, getting enough sleep, and avoiding the bad stuff. Now, I can say that I am not perfect, but I can say that I love myself more than I ever did and that I am now genuinely body positive.
If you feel that you are unhappy with your body, NOT because of social norms or even just because your peers tell you that you have to look a certain way, but because you feel like it is not the best for YOU and feel that you can be a better version of yourself, then don’t be ashamed. I did not write this to say that being fat or skinny is ugly or beautiful. Everyone is different and beauty is transcendent. If you are someone who truly believes that you can still become a better version of yourself instead of taking the easier route of accepting that nothing will ever change, I am writing this to encourage you or anyone else out there to make the first step of acknowledging what you need for your body and truly deciding that you want to change and make sacrifices. Remember, this journey will not be the easiest AT FIRST, but when you get to fit clothes again that you’ve outgrown at some point, when you’re able to fit in your 13 year old cousin’s clothes, when you’re able to buy new clothes in sizes you never imagined buying for yourself, then it will all be worth it because you know that you worked hard for it.
Old H&M size: L
New H&M size: S-M