Hi guys! Today’s post is going to be a little more serious and I just want to continue being transparent with you guys. You all know I have an eating disorder and have been dealing with it and on my way to recovery. I just wanted to open up about my journey with body image, how I got to this point and the steps I’m taking to have a more positive feeling toward my body. I know so many people (not even just girls) have body image issues and I think it’s so helpful to talk about them. I’m going to be very real and tell you all about my journey and it’s gonna be a long one so let’s get started.
My body image issues have been part of me since I was young. I remember when I was about 10 years old, I did rec cheerleading and went to a cheerleading camp one summer. I remember comparing myself to all the other girls there. I wanted to be a flyer in a stunt so badly but I never was. I thought I was a lot bigger than the other girls so that must be the reason I wasn’t made a flyer. Looking back at photos from those days, I can clearly see I was an average little girl. I was healthy and there were just younger girls that weighed less (obviously) and that a bunch of other little girls could lift easier. Obviously, logic did not win out in my head as a 10 year old girl. I just thought I was chubby.
Fast forward to middle and high school. I had yet to have my second growth spurt and I was very thin because I had grown up but had not gained my curves yet. Going into my first year of high school, I was really small. I was eating enough and perfectly healthy, I just hadn’t filled out yet. I had been told NUMEROUS times that I was anorexic and that I ate like a bird and I needed to eat more. If there was a comment about how thin a person was, I heard it. It’s just how my body was at the time. Even though everyone was telling me how thin I was, I still thought I was bigger than other girls.
I got to my second year of high school and I finally filled out. I got boobs, I got curves and you could definitely tell I had gained weight. Not in an unhealthy way though. I had finally hit that growth spurt. I remember all my clothes getting smaller and freaking out in my head. I liked that I was getting curves but I didn’t like how my face had filled out out. I also got my first boyfriend that year. He never made me feel bad about my body and I think that really helped my self esteem. I remember for the rest of high school being a little insecure here and there but nothing like I had before in my life.
Enter the college years. This is where it all went bad. I ended my high school relationship and started a new one within 2 months of starting college. That second boyfriend never made me feel badly about my body but I just always felt like I couldn’t be completely myself and that I needed to lose weight. Now, this second boyfriend had a much different build than my previous boyfriend. That had a lot to do with it. He was a smaller guy so it made me feel a lot bigger. I was more active after meeting him but never made any huge changes to my body.
The summer after my freshman year of college, I was dumped by boyfriend number 2 and it hit me hard. I was SUPER blindsided, I couldn’t eat for weeks and I lost 20 pounds. Now I was pretty average to begin with, weighing about 125 pounds so you can imagine what losing 20 of those pounds did to my physique. I looked frail and thin. I didn’t realize it at all at the time. I was at my lightest I have ever been. That fall I met Joey.
I did obviously gain weight back after that break up but I didn’t gain it all back. I kind of hovered around 115 and I was fine with that. I thought about my body and I was self conscious sometimes but nothing like I am now.
I think since getting into blogging and following other bloggers, my body image issues have escalated so much. I look at how tan and thin and gorgeous these girls are and I just compare myself into an anxiety attack. I am currently working on my eating disorder and I really do think I am making a lot of progress. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like it. I do have nights where I feel like I have taken a lot of steps back and I’ll have an all out panic attack about how I think I look. But those are much fewer and farther between than the weekly fits I used to have.
Since starting my blog, I have put so much pressure on myself to look a certain way. A lot of times I think I need to have the long, lean legs, the tan skin and the perfectly toned abs. I think If I gain any weight everyone will notice and think “wow she got fat”. I am terrified of what people will think of me and gaining any weight. Some days I feel amazing and I’m like who cares what anyone thinks, I’m me and I’m happy. Other days I fall back into that negative self talk that I’m not skinny, tall, or pretty enough to compete with these girls. Then I think, wow am I really so vain to think that people actually care if I gain weight? Nobody cares, Gabriella. You’re not JLo. *insert eye roll*
I have unfollowed A LOT of bloggers and really only follow a few select bloggers who I have followed for a long time. That has helped tremendously! I also have to keep in mind that most of what people post isn’t reality. They don’t always look perfect and the photos are staged (obviously). It is their job to post clean, cute content and have the time to take perfect photos and edit them to be even more perfect. I can’t beat myself up about it.
I was listening to a podcast recently that featured 2 girls who had recovered from eating disorders and they were sharing their stories. There was something that one of the girls said that stuck with me and I have been trying to keep in my head for whenever I have those negative thoughts creep in. She said something along the lines of “Why should it matter to anyone else what I look like? Being healthy is my priority and if I gain a few pounds to find that equilibrium, so be it”. I just thought wow she’s so right. She also made the point that your friends don’t like you for your size (or they shouldn’t), they like you for you. Nobody is going to just stop being friends with you if you fill out a little. That was such a good point that I had never heard and I just felt so enlightened after hearing that.
I’m sure when most people look at other people’s photos they aren’t worrying about how much weight that person gained. They’re just scrolling to the next photo. Nobody will scrutinize a photo of you like you do. It’s just the truth. Sometimes, I’ll look at a photo and I’m like wow I can’t post that, what will people think and it just can’t be that way. Lately, I have been posting photos that I think show some of my problem areas not in the best light and I do it because it’s ok. It’s ok to not be perfect and airbrushed. I am working on telling myself that it’s ok if my jeans feel a little more snug, it means I’m getting healthier. It means I’m in a better headspace and I’m not obsessively counting calories.
People have told me “well you just need to find your identity in Christ and then you won’t be so concerned with how you look”. K thanks. All my problems are immediately fixed now. *mega eye roll* It’s not that easy. I do find my identity in Christ but guess what, I’m human. It’s not a piece of cake to just say well Jesus loves me and I don’t care what anyone else thinks of me. It’s human nature. All I can do is try my best to know that God made me how I am supposed to be, know that my worth is not found in my jean size and take each day as it comes.
All of this is to say, I think I have made big strides in overcoming my body image issues but still have a long road ahead. Nobody is concerned if I put on a few pounds or if I’m not tan enough. I am my own worst critic and I hope to give myself rave reviews regardless of what I see in the mirror 🙂
P.S. I didn’t realize how many photos I had of my sister and me in this post until now haha