My friends and I talk about which body part we’d like to change all the time. Sometimes, we’d agree that our noses look bulbous; other times, we’d lament about our muffin tops, which get in the way of us totally rocking a cropped top.
Though I would love to say that I’m not concerned with how I look on the outside, my daily 30-minute grooming routine suggests otherwise.
It’s sometimes difficult to like what you see in the mirror – I’d be the first to admit that. Besides the occasional body hang-ups, though, I’m perfectly fine with the way I look.
Mind you, it took me a long time to get to this point. All through my teenage years, I was on the large side of the spectrum.
And I don’t mean pleasantly plump or big-boned. I was obese – all 80kg of me, to be exact (I’m only 160cm tall).
But I never had an issue with my size until people started pointing it out to me. Hurtful comments like “Why do you still eat so much when you’re already fat?” and occasional disapproving stares were thrown my way.
Being a mopey teenager, I started to have a problem with my size. I wore oversized clothing so no one could tell exactly how big I was, and I hated stepping out of the house because my self esteem was so low.
I also avoided mirrors. Everytime I got a mean comment, I would hide in the toilet and cry.
My health suffered too, obviously. I was so unfit that I couldn’t walk up a flight of stairs without panting as if I had just run a marathon.
And since my legs were naturally leaner than the rest of my body, my weight put such a strain on my ankles that it was impossible to walk long distances without them hurting.
My wake-up call? When my doctor warned me that I was at risk of having high blood pressure and diabetes because of my unhealthy diet and expanding waistline.
It was then that I made an effort to lose weight. I started running 30 minutes every alternate day and reduced portion sizes; it took me three years to shed 25kg.
I thought I’d instantly feel better about myself after I slimmed down, but that wasn’t the case. Instead, whenever people pointed out how much weight I had lost, I felt self conscious.
Mentally and emotionally, I couldn’t catch up with my weight loss; I still felt like the girl I was before but with new flaws. I would poke my flabby tummy and agonise over the multiple stretch marks, which resulted from the weight loss.
Finally, I realised that a positive body image wasn’t something that automatically came with a slimmer body; it was something I had to cultivate.
Now, I feel healthier and more confident. Although I’m still less than happy about certain parts of my body, and will occasionally complain about these “flaws”, I have no desire to change them; I like to think of them as battle scars.
I may not have the face or body of a Victoria’s Secret model, but I’m OK with that. The good news is, so is the rest of the world.
There has been a change in the perception of beauty in recent years, a noticeable shift towards rejecting one-size-fits-all standards of beauty and embracing interesting and “imperfect” features instead.
Think actress-model Cara Delevingne’s thick brows, model Georgia May Jagger’s gap teeth and model Tess Holliday’s UK size 22 body.
The lesson here: What we think of as flaws are what make us beautiful too.
And accepting and celebrating our “flaws” could help pave the way for a new standard of beauty – one that includes but does not only subscribe to traditional standards such as a sharp nose and a tiny waist.
Find how how to can stay healthy with these 4 natural, easy ways to detox your body.
- how to eat clean
- how to eat healthy
- how to embrace your own body
- how to exercise to lose weight
- how to get rid of extra fats
- how to lose weight
- how to lose weight fast
- how to lose weight without exercising
- how to love yourself
- how to overcome obesity
- is it healthy to be overweight
- struggles with obesity
- weight loss programmes
- what should you eat if you are on a diet