A Happy Medium - Part 1: A healthy mentality towards your body
As a hormonal and confused teenager it is often hard to feel completely content.
From personal experience coming to terms with my 'fuller' figure has been a constant struggle, resulting in numerous attempts to diet. This has included daily calorie counters in which every piece of food I ate would be scanned and branded 'diet food' which just tasted like sawdust. Admittedly they worked, but on reflection, I was never truly happy. Why?
It became the only thing I thought about, because of course you're getting results. I started one of these diets during study leave (one of THE WORST times to EVER consider dieting) "DON'T DO IT!" I cried. I starved myself and I cried some more. The time I could have been revising, working towards good grades (with the occasional chocolate bar to keep me going), became one so exhausting, where I was constantly tired and moaning. I'm hardly an advert for a healthy body image, but I guess I can just reflect on how I've achieved a healthier mindset about my body.
Firstly I came off tumblr and unfollowed 'inspo body' accounts after realising just how toxic they are. Of course, fitness isn't a bad thing. In fact, I envy the girls with toned stomachs and muscley thighs. Only when you delve into the the world of tumblr and it's extremities you see just how twisted and extreme the 'ideal body' is represented as being. In the media it is advertised that thigh gaps and tiny waists are healthy when the majority of the time this is just unachievable. I have stopped looking at pictures of girls as a form of motivation, instead I simply look at my BMI. Why? It is an understanding about what is healthy for YOU.
It's silly to talk about clothes sizes as a way of understanding what is healthy, when every body shape is completely different. For a long time I told myself that a size 8 was all I was allowed to buy for my lower half. Naturally I have wide hips and a bum, but as a means of fitting in with what I thought was 'normal' I desperately tried to maintain my smallest weight, refusing to buy new clothes when they became that little bit too tight. I now can't fit into a large majority of my clothes because I have embraced my curves, but I am still trying to overcome the mindset that I'm just that bit too big in the wrong places considering I'm now a clothes size bigger.
My body shape is always going to be my biggest insecurity. I have my bad days and I have my good days. I have phases where I go to the gym 2 or 3 times a week to simply not going at all. I love healthy food - (shoutout to Juliet's in Tunbridge Wells for their AMAZING salads) but I also love cake, cookies and chocolate. When I talk to people who I regard as healthy with great figures, I am often surprised to hear that they themselves struggle with coming to terms with their body shape...every single day.
The media definitely has a huge part to play with its mass publication of edited and extreme images that are regarded as 'healthy', giving so many young people (boys and girls) a confused mentality of what is 'OK'. What is beautiful? What is ok? What is normal? As a society we have created some answers that are so unachievable, or require a whole new lifestyle completely. How often do instagrammers advertising protein shakes or the Kardashians advertising waist trainers tell you just how much this type of lifestyle affects their day to day life?
What I find attractive you might not find attractive, and the negative things you think of yourself are unlikely to be shared by the people around you. I want to look back at myself and think I was happy, not completely focused on something so unrealistic that made me become so self obsessed. You're likely to be insecure about something. You're probably thinking about that one thing right now. Is it worth spending time dwelling on? Someone I'm sure has told you something that they like about you. What's more important?