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Home Blogs Categories Sports & Health Learning to Love Every Pound…

Learning to Love Every Pound…

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Sports & Health

ChocoladeEaster has passed and while I did not go to Church or anything of the like, I still ate all those evil but deliciously caramel, mocha, crispy filled chocolate eggs. I now face the menace of pimples and a few extra kilos. Okay, dramatic as I might sound, I believe that more than one woman has regrets over what she eats. Culturally, I learned to feel guilty towards this. There are the "bad" foods, such as fries with mayo, pizza, bread, sweets, chocolate, cake… The list can go on forever, because apparently there are a lot of bad foods out there threatening to ruin our image. There is also the food that lands on the "good" food category, such as lettuce, more lettuce, any kind of green vegetable for that matter, and fruits. Although fruits in large amounts have too much sugar, so watch yourself before you bite on that strawberry.

The real issue here is not food. As much as I’d like to say that the chocolate bunny made me eat it, I can’t have it arrested. On what charge? No, the issue is that while I want to eat all the chocolate in the world, I can’t because I might not fit my skinny jeans ever again. Do you have them? In my case they are jeans that I used to fit into when I was in my teens and when I weighed 15 kilo less. Unrealistic as it might be, I want to fit in those jeans and the sole idea that I have sabotaged myself into making that happen, brings me to tears.

Can you raise your hand if you have body issues? My hand is way up high. If somebody asked me what my favorite body part is, it would take me a while to decide which part I hate the least. It is not that I hate everything about me. And yes, I like being a bit dramatic, it’s part of who I am. Nonetheless, I’m not lying here when I say that I have body issues. I feel fat most of the time even though deep down I know that I’m not. I feel very uncomfortable in my own skin, and that is a horrible feeling to feel. This is my body, and I cannot exchange it. I will live with it for as long as I walk this earth, and I should be able to love it, and be grateful to have legs that allow me to walk, to have arms that allow me to hug. I should just be thankful to be alive, shouldn’t I?

Where does this dislike come from? There are different experiences that have contributed to feeling negatively about myself. I grew up listening to the smart, professional, capable and loving women of my family complain about their appearance. It did not matter how much they had accomplished in other areas of their lives, because how they looked, was as important, if not more. Kids made fun of me at school, because I was on the curvier and fuller side. Some people always managed to say the right thing to damage my self-confidence. Compliments ran short, and I was most likely to remember when somebody said "Did you put on weight?", or "Are you going to eat that? It has a lot of calories you know?" Do not misunderstand me, I do not want to blame others for the way I feel about myself, I am responsible for it. Nevertheless, the way the world expects us to look, affects us deeply, especially when it comes from people you are close to.

AndreaYou might be wondering if I thought about exercise. Well, I have done all sorts of physical activities, from classical and modern dance, to basketball, tennis, swimming, running, to yoga and pilates. The result is that I have not been out of shape, but I don’t look like a model either. When I stopped eating almost altogether, that is when results started to show. Added to the sports I was doing, I was ridiculously skinny. I checked myself in the mirror all the time, and weighed myself two or three times a day. I was unhappy and hated myself even more. I wanted to eat, yet I was afraid. When I ate, I found a way to get rid of that food, so food wouldn’t harm me.

Interestingly enough, thirsty for knowledge, I did a lot of research on eating disorders, and I knew what could happen to me if I continued playing with my life the way I was. There are many different psychological explanations to why women have eating disorders and not to insinuate that they are wrong, but each case is different, and each experience is unique. Why did I want to lose weight? For the first time I wanted to be the prettiest woman, the one all guys looked at, the one girls envied. The same way in which people had made fun of me before, I wanted to show them that I was better. Still, this happiness was short lived. My life revolved around food and how I looked. Somehow I still managed to do well at school and work, but I was killing myself, softly and painfully. I stopped doing fun things with other people. I felt very alone, and I still felt fat even when my bones were sticking out.

The point here is not the eating disorder in itself, but what triggered me to be at war with my own body. As women we are taught to be in constant discomfort with ourselves, with what we think, with what we are. We are not taught that our intelligence and talents are of value. We are supposed to fit into this mold of beauty, we are supposed to dream of being something we are not.

It took me a long time to learn to eat again and enjoy what I put in my mouth. It took me a long time to accept that this is who I am. No one else on this planet looks like me, and this makes me, ME. Now, from acceptance to love there is still a long journey. I’m trying to carry myself with confidence, and am learning to say that I’m beautiful, just as I am. Regardless of the scars, the stretch marks, the cellulite, the big boobs. I do think it is important to eat healthy and exercise, but only if that is what you want for yourself.

I have been learning to love myself, little by little. Last but not least, we should learn that our value does not reside on how we look, but in the way we live our lives and the things we are passionate about. Appearance and weight are forever changing. If we are fortunate enough, we will get older, and we will get bigger, it is part of nature. Why not embrace who we are and love every minute and pound of it?

Photos © Andrea Huls

 

Andrea

AndreaAndrea loves photography, filmmaking and writing. She dreams about travelling the world and learning new things. Inspired by strong driven people, she aims to be one too.

The fastest way to pass your own expectations is to add passion to your labor.

De snelste manier om je eigen verwachtingen te overtreffen, is passie aan je werk toevoegen.

Mike Litman