Weekly Photo Challenge: Up (and Down) – Body Image

This weeks photo challenge was UP

So today while I was lying by the pool enjoying the 80* San Diego weather, I took this photo.

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Then I flipped my camera around and took a “down” photo. This is the photo that I want to talk about.

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For as long as I can remember I have wanted to lose weight. It has been on my mind since High School and continues today. I have never been significantly overweight or obese, but I have also never been “skinny”.

I have never felt comfortable being in a bikini, exposing my flaws the the world and comparing my body to the Victoria Secret models who advertise what my body “should” look like in a bikini.

I recently deleted all of the “fitspiration” facebook and Instagram pages I followed, because I found myself getting depressed by looking at them, rather than inspired. They would post the fruit they ate for lunch and I would feel like a fat cow for eating a bagel. Or they would post photos of the “ideal” body type, and I would find myself looking down at my own perfectly beautiful body and hating it for not looking like what it “ideally” should.

The only page I still follow is This is Not a Diet – it’s your life, because she has such a wonderful way of inspiring people to love their body and strive for being the healthiest version of themselves, not someone else’s version.

She posted a link to an article last week and I was incredibly moved by it. In fact, it was what prompted me to delete all the fitness pages I was following because I realized how negatively it was effecting my self esteem.

“At what point did we find it applaudable to look at pictures of other people and say “instead of looking like me, I want to look like her.” Why don’t we balk at the suggestion in the magazines to cut out those pictures and paste them to our refrigerators? Pictures to remind us that instead of feeding ourselves, we should be punishing ourselves. Instead of eating what we want when we’re hungry, we should instead be perpetuating a cycle of shame, guilt and jealousy. You are not enough as you are, is the message. Or rather, you are too much as you are. Don’t eat again. Have a glass of water. Take a diet pill. Maybe have some carrot sticks. Work out instead. You don’t want to be stuck in that body of yours forever, do you? Who will love you? Certainly not yourself, that’s for sure….

….So the next time you stand in front of a mirror and sneer at your less than flat abs or get angry with yourself for having enjoyed a dessert, ask yourself why. Why is perfection so important? What does it matter and who does it matter to?

I am a size 12 and I am healthy. I do not look like a Victoria Secret model, and I probably never will. My body is not perfect, but I am satisfied with it and my husband loves it. That is all that should matter.

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