I always cringe when I realize that my goal weight today is actually the same weight I was as a teenager. Maybe you’re thinking that’s a completely predictable thing to say — that everyone wants to get back to their teen weight. For me, it’s a little different.
I was a fat teenager. I was the teen girl who was looked down on by her doctor as she hopped off the scale. I was the teen girl who sifted through sequined mother-of-the-bride dresses in the “large women’s” section during prom season, trying to find something that was age-appropriate. I have old diaries where, in the top right-hand corner, I’d written down my weight, circled the number, and drew a line over it. So, if I was a fat teen, why is that my goal weight now?
Well, I developed a lot of body-image issues as a plus-size teen. I became obsessed with wanting to make my 5’10” solidly curvy body look like the 5’2″ petite girls I went to school with. Focusing on being thin sent me down a very long path of yo-yo dieting that, at the end, left me larger than when I decided I needed to lose weight in the first place.
Today, I understand that I will probably will never be skinny, but I can absolutely be healthy. So today, I’m giving a little advice to my younger self about her body.
All Bodies Are Beautiful — Including Yours
When I was younger, it was really easy to fixate on one look, one person — and make that my standard of beauty. Maybe it was the girl who got the part in the school play, or the girl who had all the boyfriends, but it was never my body. Now that I can see beauty in all bodies, I can appreciate my own more — no matter what size I am or how much my weight fluctuates.
Love The Body You Have Right Now
Looking back, I may have been a plus-size teen, but my body was in amazing shape. I was in dance classes five days a week and eating home-cooked meals from my mom. My skin was flawless and I didn’t need Spanx. I was living my best life, and I didn’t even know it.
I spent a lot of time loathing my body and trying to make it into something it wasn’t. If I could go back, I would’ve been grateful for my strong dancer’s body, not worried about being a certain dress size.
You’re Not As Fat As You Think You Are
If you had asked me to draw a photo of myself back then, it probably would have been 50 pounds heavier than I actually was. I think, sometimes, we have a warped image of ourselves in our heads. If only I’d been confident enough to see myself as others saw me, maybe I wouldn’t have gotten so caught up in how fat I thought I looked.
Of course, hindsight is 20/20, and while I wish I could have been more accepting of myself as a self-conscious teenager, I’m happy that I’ve reached a point in my life where I’m able to embrace my body and who I am without that constant, criticizing voice going off in my head.
Maybe my little pearls of learned wisdom will help some teenage girls struggling with body-image issues. Take it from me: It’s a waste of time to obsess about the way your body looks.
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