Do you believe that once upon a time I dated a boy who told me he preferred blondes to brunettes...? It's true. This same boy later told me that he had a weight category for his future wife. 107lbs - 114lbs. The worst part is I didn't even realize at the time just how cruel that was for him to say. Does he plan on his wife giving him children??... Seriously. It makes me cringe. It is truly disgusting.. and I am so happy I am no longer involved with that boy even the slightest, and I am sorry for whatever girl thinks that she has to live her entire life falling into his "weight category". Another boy I dated even earlier in life continuously teased me because about my "squishy" stomach. He said he loved that it was squishy, and I honestly think he truly believed he was making me more confident by telling me that he liked my flaws, but a girl hearing that she is "squishy" isn't exactly endearing.....?
I just want to quickly point out that I am not blaming boys for being the cause of eating disorders or poor self-esteem. It has been scientifically proven that girls with eating disorders don't logically understand the concept of food and calories even if it is explained to them a million times. They truly have a distorted image of themselves. It is a disease. It can't be cured with a few positive comments of how beautiful they are; however, boys can certainly influence for the better or the worse. I find that never talking about the size of a girl in general is the best way to avoid that. Even if you are talking about a different girl, or a random person in passing... the girls you are with will hear. She will analyze, and she will compare.. Am I right girls?
Lucky for me, I have been strong thus far in life, and I haven't given in to the media and magazines and believed what is portrayed as a "perfect" body... but I have certainly been close. How could I not? Everyone girl in the world has seen a picture of Megan Fox and witnessed how the guys literally drool over her. And yes boys, hearing how beautiful the air-brushed movie stars are affects us. That gives us something to compare ourselves to, and do you know how hard it is to compare yourself to a photoshopped/airbrushed photo? Yes, media does this to males as well. Try it sometime... Go into Abercrombie and Fitch and compare your body to the models you see on the walls. It's hard to live up to something that isn't real, isn't it.
Of course this sort of thing affects me. Yes.. I have gone through phases where my scale is my best friend. I have been involved in some severe calorie counting, and certainly had my share of negative thoughts about my body. I have had close friends who have struggled with eating disorders and self-confidence issues when it comes to their weight or body shape. I have had at least three close friends personally confide in me about an eating disorder, and I know there are even more. This isn't just something that is heard on TV or read about in books. These issues are honestly right under your nose.
I guess I just want to tell everyone how I have come to peace with myself. First of all, I have been active my entire life. Exercise is truly so important. Not just to be strong, or to have a perfect body, or because everyone else exercises, but because it keeps your body going. It revitalizes you. It strengthens you. It makes you feel good about yourself. I will admit, I struggle with this whole exercising business. Doesn't curling up on the couch with a box of Lindors and The Notebook sound so much more appealing than running on a treadmill?.... Sure, when I was little I ran around 90% of the day, and through Junior High and High School I was either dancing or playing sports. I have found that now I am not exercising as much, I have seen my body change. I do need to make a conscious effort to exercise more and here it is in writing.. I am going to be better from now on.
I have come awfully close to hating my body. It truly isn't how it used to be. Yes, I am only 19 and I'm sure when I am 45 and have six kids I will read this and laugh, but honestly it has changed. I just can't fit into size zero pants folks. Even if I was just skin and bone, it wouldn't work. I have hips. I have a soft stomach that you can even squeeze. It is just the way I am. That's how girls are made.
What has helped me be at peace with my body, is the fact that it is a gift from God. My body was given to me to maintain. It was given to me so at the appropriate time, I can be the home for a developing child. God has trusted me to be able to bear His children, and I think I owe it to Him to at least love myself. Being strong and healthy is just one way I can make sure I am capable of being able to have children someday. I truly can't imagine being so selfish today and starving my body of essential vitamins and minerals just to be skinny. I am not saying this so insult girls with this issue. Trust me. I am just saying that with myself, that has been the thing that has helped me accept who I am and love myself. Girls, can you please just imagine someday, having to look your husband in the eye, and tell him you aren't able to have children and knowing exactly why? Can you imagine thinking back to the day you sat kneeling in front of the toilet and purging the food that you had consumed? Can you think back to the aching teeth and trembling hands and the self-hating as you convinced yourself you could maintain your body without food? The results are truly this dramatic. The thought of my body being constantly prepared to give birth to a child someday is truly the one thing that helps me love myself. What a privilege it will be to one day be able to have a beautiful child of my own. I know that by eating what I am supposed to, and by exercising and keeping myself strong and healthy, I am showing God that I am grateful for his gift to me.
For those girls, and boys, out there who are struggling.. you really can get help. Ask someone you trust or someone who loves you. I promise there is someone who will support you.
Your body is a gift. Please remember that. =)
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