It was during my most vulnerable years that I felt best about my body. Ironic isn’t it? When I flip through the pages of old yearbooks, I see a smiling face and someone who was too busy worrying about being a teen to obsess over flabby arms or thick thighs. I was neither big nor small, but just right. My legs were not slim, but they helped me play tennis for three hours a day and hike on the weekends. And I was as much in love with a big bowl of fresh greens as I was with a generous helping of ice-cream. It was surprisingly a good time for me body image-wise.
It was in my twenties that things began to change. I was appalled when I saw a girl who looked to be about 10 years old say, “I’m so fat” to her girlfriend. Friends of mine began pinching non-existent fat on their thighs. One girl wanted to buy fat burning skin cream to use on her cheeks-her face, not her behind. A few people commented on my “big legs” and I too started obsessing over movie stars in magazines. Looking back, it was a friend telling me to stop reading “that trash” that I began to see how far I had come from where I had been.
Recently, I was watching The Rosie Show on OWN when I caught this:
Rosie: “You were saying your mom put you on Weight Watchers when you were 10?”
Actress Sara Ramirez: “Yeah I was pretty young. It’s generation to generation. A lot of these body image issues get passed down. I was trained pretty early to see food as either an obsession or just a very negative, horrible thing that I had to feel guilty about.”
Although I never reached a point where I was obsessed or felt guilty about food or my body, I have empathy for those who do. I was probably just a hop, skip and a jump away from getting there myself.
As a teenager I already knew my body was good enough. Being immersed in a fat-hating culture made me forget. One of our posts this week reminded me of that. Diet isn’t just about losing weight. Diet is the fuel we give ourselves to live healthier lives. Scroll down to see what I mean.