For the first 15 years of my life, I never really showed concern for my body or shape - I was always happy being curvy and squishy, feeling fly like Beyoncé and didn't questioned my size. I remember hearing girls saying they'd 'rather die than be a size 12' which made me angry as people of all sizes were beautiful in my eyes, and there was nothing wrong being that size or an 8 or 18.
Turning 16, I'd made changes to my diet (only simple, no more slabs of Dairy Milk for dessert, less pizza and crisps - thanks school break hunger) and lost some of my so-called 'puppy fat', but it was also the first time I felt my previous beliefs shattered. I'd read about how girls believed they had to be thin and fit to be beautiful, but it never ever crossed my mind I would become one of those girls.
Aged 16, I was basically told I was fat by someone I thought I could trust. It wasn't straight out 'you are fat' but the underlying message was there, and was then told it was my fault for taking the comment too seriously. It's a strange feeling when something in your brain switches, a seed of doubt is planted and everything you ever knew changes. In the mirror I started to see someone chubby who could be slimmer, that I had to be different to be wanted. What spiralled from that was 6 months of diet shakes, bad eating habits and excessive crunches to fit the ideals of someone who really didn't matter in my life, but also what I was now aware of the media and internet also wanting from women.
|Love Ring c/o Jewellery Box | Swimwear (Top Bottom) - Pour Moi via ASOS | Shirt* - Gant|
My whole ordeal caused me to lose friends, to eat pizza and burgers to prove I was eating normally which led to weight gain, and also 3 years of worry, blame and self-loathing. Luckily, I was able to channel my frustration into photography as self-healing and therapy to highlight my own struggles and that which I saw around me, but I remember panicking when diet shakes no longer worked on my weight, that the routines I was doing to lose weight showed no effect, and the belly I still had would cause me to photoshop my figure.
It took one very emotional session to finally make me see it wasn't my fault, it was not me who made me hate my body, it was not me who was putting the wrong energy behind my health, and it was in my power to love myself. It sounds silly, but as soon as I finally explained how I felt and realised all of this, I found it easier to eat healthy, feel full, exercise and see happiness in myself and body.
3 years wasted on trying to please people who didn't matter, on feeling negative towards myself and constantly struggling with being over a size 8. It makes me sad to think of me then, but that is the point of this - this story is old, it is the past and it is no longer a reflection of me now. I cannot stomach the thought of living like I did, and I can finally feel a whole sense of self in the body I have now.
Sharing these images feels quite a big deal; a few shots still caused that part of my brain to think 'oh no you look too big there' or 'you haven't really slimmed down much since your PT session have you?' but I know it doesn't rule me and that I feel healthier and stronger, and know I have lost weight healthily and built a strength I never had before. I dress myself in clothes I love and feel good; I can wear swimwear with confidence, feel beautiful on beach and accessorise myself with pieces that make me feel good in my body including this Gant shirt and on-topic Jewellery Box 'Love' ring to reflect my happiness.
The way I see my body now is it getting stronger, toned, nourished with foods I love and enjoy and loved. It can be so hard to love your body, especially when you've had an experience like that at a young age, but it does heal and you do begin to love again. Finally at 22, I can look in the mirror and see some of the confidence 15 year old me was proud of, and that learning to love your body is the most important love you can feel.
Lots of Love,
Post in Collaboration with Jewellery Box. All positive vibes my own.
Some products in this post may have been sent for review or gifted, and will be marked with a * or c/o. All opinions are mine are not influenced by brands or companies. Please see my full disclaimer for more.
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