There are parts of my body that I don’t mind. My legs aren’t so bad, neither is my face or hair. I wish my fingernails grew different so my index nail wouldn’t look so stubby. I have cute hands, even though they are the size of your average toddler. Guys seem to like my butt (tysm squats), and I don’t mind having a chest on the smaller side.
I hate my stomach. My midsection is something I constantly struggle with. I wake up every morning, lift up my shirt, observing my stomach in the mirror for several minutes at a time. There are 2 bathrooms at work, one that makes me look thinner, and the other makes me feel ashamed.
I have gained about 5 pounds in the past couple of months. *OMG BETH THAT’S NOTHING* Well, it is for me. As someone who has had serious body image issues her entire life, any pound increase on the scale is a source of anxiety. I’m scarred from my 15 pound overnight weight gain, and hardly a day that goes by where I don’t think about that brief period where I fit into a size zero. I wasn’t healthy, but my body image issues subsided.
My body was no longer something I thought about. It just was what it was. Guys liked it, social media liked it, everyone did. Including myself. Anyways, I won’t dwell too much on the past.
I have been “dieting” for as long as I can remember. It started freshman year of college. My ex-boyfriend body shamed me. As I result, I worked out 7x a week for an hour, eating one large meal at 4pm probably totaling to roughly 800 calories. The pounds fell off. It was never good enough for him. As soon as I broke it off, I began to research more on nutrition and fitness. My habits developed into healthy ones. I was eating whole foods, exercising, and was more conscious about the weight loss circle that I had unhealthily entered into. I lose more weight, slowly.
Then I met a guy. A nice guy. My first real love. He made me feel beautiful, and complimented my body whenever he had at he had the chance. My healthy life continued as the weight slowly dropped off as well. However, the obsession with it continued.
I constantly found myself researching calorie counts, new diet fads, exercises to incorporate into my routine. I went through a “1500 calorie” phase. I was consistently exercising at a vigorous rate, averaging a 400-500 calorie burn per work out. I never allowed myself to get above the 1500 calorie limit. The weight fell off, but again, it wasn’t enough.
I kept adjusting my goals, and when I would reach them, I would go lower. “Ok. Beth, you NEED to get below 135 pounds. That means you can’t have eat SINGLE bad thing. Not a bite of a cookie, not an ounce of sugar. Nothing.” This was something I dead seriously told myself, and I followed it for about 3 weeks. The weight fell off, but as the weight fell, my relationship began to fall apart with it. Enter: stress eating.
The weight slowly crept back on my first semester of junior year. Not by much, but then I went abroad to Cape Town, and well, we all know how that goes. I came back and slowly worked some of the weight off, but it was never good enough. I was never good enough.
The obsession continued, as did the Google searches about weight loss, nutrition, calorie deficits, etc. I was obsessed.
I am obsessed.
Fast forward senior year. My body pretty much plateaued. I walked into the gym everyday, and perform my daily ritual since freshman year (ew), and step on the scale. I watched it teeter from pound to pound, imagining a time in my life were it would be at the number I wanted to to be. The actual number? I didn’t know. I still don’t know. “20 pounds” is something that lingers in my mind, but I’d be a fool to say I would actually be satisfied if I hit that 20 pound weight loss. I always want more.
Then I moved to DC. And this was what really f*cked me over. I won’t re-hash a previous blog post, but the attention from other people when I lost all that weight was astronomical. Like, legit. I physically felt like shit, but mentally, I was stronger than ever. I was confident and felt sexy. It was something that I had never truly felt before. I could wear crop tops and jeans without feeling self-conscious. I could zipper a size 2 or 0 with ease.
Then, diabetes happened. Well, it had always been happening, but it became a reality. As did the weight gain.
The past year with diabetes has been a struggle. Not medically, but mentally. Still. Stress eating habits developed, and the fear of waking up in the middle of the night with low blood sugar got me in the habit of eating late at night for no reason. Anxiety about my has been on a steady incline, and recently I started seeing a therapist for it.
Body image consumes my life.
In every other aspect, I’m happy. I have great friends, family, and although career-wise I don’t really know what the hell I’m doing (hence why I have 4 jobs), I’m happy. I love DC. I love my life. I love many aspects of myself. Photography, an amazing roommate, and my ability to write a blog post like this. I’m hard-working, loyal, and driven. I look at other women and assure them that they are beautiful and awesome when they are having self-doubt, however, I can’t seem to do that for myself.
I don’t love my body.
You’re never going to be good enough if you don’t allow yourself to be.
I received an email from a blog reader this morning. We have chatted before, she is a lovely 25 year old from Italy. She has asked for me not to reveal her name, but she reached out about body image/confidence and how I cope with it because I seem “so sure of myself.” I read it and smiled, but also thought to myself, “Wow, it’s crazy what social media can portray.”
I have been pretty open about this with my readers, but the shame I feel on a daily basis is something I don’t dive into all that much. Because who wants to hear a girl whine about her weight? Just do something about it.
Well, what happens when you do do something about it and it’s still not enough? What happens when the self-hate, the obsession with ‘being better,’ continues? Where does that leave you?
We G-chatted (I’m so adult and use G-chat now) for about an hour and decided to each compile a list of what brings us long-term self-satisifaction and what brings us joy in the short term.
What was number 1 on the list of our short-term? Alcohol.
We are both “social drinkers.” Sure, there are nights I go bit overboard (lolz), but for the most part, I just enjoy a vodka-soda after work and I’m good. However, it doesn’t really do much for me mentally. In fact, it’s more of a negative than a positive in my life.
She then asked, “Have you ever thought about going 3o days sober?” I told her yes, but I never thought I could do it. I’m a bartender, I can’t do that. Well actually, I could. It would just be more difficult, I guess.
I pondered the thought of a “dry month” for a few minutes. And then, thought, why the hell not? My friendships don’t rely on alcohol (I made that mistake in the past, never again), and a booze-free month would probably bring nothing but positive results.
I will be honest, I don’t know how long this will last, but I just got news that I have to work tonight instead of attending a holiday party, and yesterday I was told I had to work NYE. So, maybe it’s a sign? I’m not sure. I guess the point of this isn’t to just rid of alcohol from my life, but to see the mental impact it has. I (hope) it will aid in weight loss, but that won’t be the sole purpose. What’s the goal? Self-acceptance. Self-love. Peace of mind.
Would love to hear stories about your “dry month” if you have ever done it.
As always, thanks for listening to my life. I’ll let you know how my first weekend booze-free goes. Follow me on Instagram for the cliche ~progress pics~. This isn’t a “promise post” or an attempt to keep my accountable (ok, it sort of is), but I hope to spread awareness on an issue that hit close to home for many.
*Katie and I can’t wait to share our journey with you!
Xoxo, happy holidays y’all