With the Victoria Secret fashion show coming up, a lot of us are debating whether we should ditch our favorite tv snacks for a dressing-free salad. Watching beautiful women confident enough to walk in front of million of people in lingerie tends to stir up some insecurities.
Growing up I had always had a weird relationship with food. I played around with it when I was 3, I became selective at 10 and I stopped eating at 18. Food simply did not become an integral part of my life, it just belonged in the social aspect. When I went out for brunch with my girlfriends, I would take a picture for Instagram and take 3 bites before politely taking the rest of it to go and tossing it to the back of my fridge. It was also something to do while I watched all the seasons of Pretty Little Liars on Netflix. It didn’t have anything to do with wanting to lose weight, I was just simply never hungry. I would go about my day without realizing that it was 8 pm and I hadn’t had a bite to eat all day. As my friend’s put it, I had a metabolism that was ‘God-sent’. It wasn’t a healthy way to live and you could see it in the way my collarbones protruded from my neck and in the way, my ribs showed in my sides.
So, I decided to gain weight. It couldn’t possibly be that hard, after all, all my girlfriends complained about how they gained 5 pounds from simply looking at food. I started eating anything I could get my hands on and I was eating about 5 times a day. I gained about a pound, I barely even went up a dress size. The frustration was beginning to pile up.
Then I went online and found forums of women complaining about how much weight they had gained while they were on birth control pills. I had hit the gold mine. I called my doctor and set up an appointment to discuss the risk. I walked out of there with a brown paper bag filled with a three-month supply of birth control pills and a grin on my face. After two months of religiously taking the pill everyday at 8 pm, I began to get discouraged. I made an appointment with my doctor again and discussed with her my experience of the pill. She told me that I was one of the few lucky ones that didn’t seem to gain weight on the pill. It was almost funny how ironic that was.
I had been a listening ear for a lot of my friends why they cried on my shoulder about hating the way that they looked but when the tables were turned and I needed someone to listen to me about my self-image issues, I was told to be grateful. After all, I was a size 0.
Being African American, I was aware of physical criteria that I didn’t meet. My hips didn’t sway when I walked and butt didn’t protrude in my jeans. It made me feel like an outsider. I didn’t want to look like a girl, I wanted to look like what society thought a woman should look like. I wanted to be taken seriously.
People often have a ‘target size’. There’s a mentality that if I was a certain size, I’ll be happy. However, it’s important to remember that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. It’s important to love your body regardless of the size, and that’s not to say that if there is something you’re not happy with you shouldn’t change it. It’s your body and you should make it feel like home, so change something if you feel like you need to but always change for you, never for anyone else. Whatever changes you make, make sure it’s good for your body. Know what kind of diets you’re committing too and know the effects it’s having on your body. I am still a size 0, but I’m glad to say I have a much better relationship with food. I don’t deprive myself of anything that I want to eat and I also don’t wait till I’m hungry to eat. My body runs on food so if it’s low, I eat something before it gets on empty. It’s liberating to not spend all my time in front of a mirror and I can actually spend time doing what I love without having second thoughts about how I look.