Stop Body Shaming

Real Talk: Body Image

Cute picture of Joe and I above, huh? I know, I remember my heart melting when he went in for a kiss on the cheek. I excitedly ran over to Sara [our photog] to see how it came out. Ew, is that me? Why do I look so wide? I have no shape. I look like a linebacker. Is that really my hair from the back? Not the way I pictured it. God, ew. Just delete it.

Instead of enjoying such a precious moment, I critiqued every ounce of me. Instead of being grateful for having such an amazing guy in my life and enjoying such a beautiful moment with him, I obsessed over how the camera captured me. I was robbed of any positive emotion. If you’re ready for some real talk (and hopefully some inspiration), read on. I’m Bianca, and I have struggled (and sometimes still do) with body image.

I guess it started as a kid, when I was the tallest one in class. Also, the only one with boobs (in which I desperately tried to hide under baggy shirts). In just 5th grade, I had SHAPE, man. I was a little lady among a ton of children. I felt out of place and uncomfortable until Jr. High, when those other bitties finally caught up with me. It wasn’t really until seventh grade that I started to dress for my body, and sort of appreciate it. Sort of. I wasn’t a fat kid, but I’ve always had an image in my head of what I wanted to look like… what I felt I needed to look like. I tried diet fads, exercising in my bedroom, weight watchers… just about anything.

My problem? God, I loved to eat sweets. Cupcakes, cake, chocolate, sugary cereal. You name it, I was eating it before bed. I would go up and down on the scale, criticizing every pound and scrutinizing my every mistake that lead me to whatever weight gain was happening that week. I was my own worst critic and man, I was HARSH. So so harsh!! I’d make myself sick while trying on jeans in the dressing room with my skinnier friends. Don’t even get me started on Homecoming and Prom dress shopping. My diet gradually got better… no more fast food, no more soda… you know. I grew up, and eating better just came along with it. However, it wasn’t until I became a vegan that I truly felt like my diet is as close to healthy as possible [but never perfect!]

Funny thing is, as a vegan (where I currently eat mostly fruits, veggies, and grains), I gained weight. I gained weight?! How?! I feel thinner, I feel healthier, lighter, happier, confident… but why the number on the scale? Ugh, just thinking about it makes me nervous. I’ve always been such a slave to this fucking scale. Why?! Why!! It’s just a number, right? I feel so much thinner than before and am eating better than I have in my entire life… it shouldn’t matter, right? I still struggle with this some days. I’m really not sure how this negative view of my weight and body even began (magazines? pressure? all of the above?) Joe always gets mad when I start to critique myself or if I announce that I gained a lb or 5… and I thank God he does. He helps bring me back down to reality. Who cares?! Honestly… who fucking cares.

I didn’t go vegan to lose weight; I went vegan to stop adding to the suffering in the world. I have four working limbs. I have two eyes that don’t require help from glasses or contacts. I have lips that put Angelina Jolie’s to shame (or I like to think so hehe). I have all 10 fingers that are currently typing away. I have a functioning brain that is allowing my fingers to do the typing. A beautiful, beautiful brain that holds the best of memories, and an abundance of knowledge that continues to grow. I have literally everything. EVERYTHING.

You may be wondering why I am even writing this post (I don’t like to typically treat my blog like a journal, but I promise there is a reason!) Part of the reason is because I had “one of those days” recently and this is helping me to cope a bit. Another reason? To remind anyone else who suffers from these “bad days” that this is such a stupid thing to freak out about. Unless you are utterly unhealthy and putting yourself at risk for disease/illness, it is important to stop and look at the grand scheme of things. Is the person sitting next to you going to notice your extra 5 lbs? No, unless they are your fitness instructor and they are weighing you in. Nope, no one notices. Nope, no one cares. So, you gained 5 lbs. Big deal, right? Just watch your serving sizes and add some cardio. [Oh and p.s. I hate exercising. I hate it so so much. I need some help in this department, cause I know how important it is! Any and all motivation is welcome!] Chances are, it’s water weight and you are freaking out about nothing. Hear that, B? You are freaking out about nothing.

I’m human – I have my bad days. But I promise you, I am trying sooo hard to overcome this. Everyday, I become a little more comfortable with who I am, and I have to say…. veganism had a lot to do with this. It’s just one of the many reasons why I choose to live the way I do. For the bad days that do happen? Here are just a few things I do to settle my mind and bring myself back down to Earth:

  • Browse pinterest for inspiration, and no, not unattainable inspiration. Real bodies! Real bodies with real curves. The bodies with the creases and folds. The bodies with the touching thighs. I hate the term “plus size” so much, and I know it is something that will trigger me, so instead of searching “plus size,” just type in “real bodies.” Because that is an actual representation of what you are looking at.
  • Dress for your body type. I may try on this crop top and start crying because of how bad I look in it. Oh B, relax. Just because a crop top doesn’t look great, doesn’t mean the world is ending. You KNOW that it isn’t a flattering piece for your body, so why even do it to yourself? Someone give me a v-neck and my confidence will soar. ALWAYS DRESS FOR YOUR BODY!
  • Give yourself the “I have working legs” speech (like what I did above).

This piece isn’t here to tell you not to care. If you are not confident in the skin you are in, there are always healthy ways to improve. Just don’t get crazy about it, especially if you know deep down that it really isn’t that bad. We’re all going to have our days, and there is no stopping it. Just don’t let it consume you. I let it do that one too many times. When I see pictures of myself from high school, I say “oh wow, I wish I looked like that still.” Guess what? I probably despised my body back then. I look back at pictures a year ago and say the same thing. Do you think I was happy with my body then? Nope. Something tells me that I will never be satisfied, and that makes me feel like shit. It makes me feel like shit because I realize just how mean I am to myself – no matter what size. So it’s time to stop judging ourselves. It’s time to stop wishing for a different body. Take care of your body and it will take care of you. Remember everything that you have and realize that you are much more than just a body. You are much more than the unflattering photo from the holidays. You are much more than a number on the scale.

If you don’t learn to love and accept yourself and all those crazy/beautiful flaws, you’ll never fully realize just how wonderful you really are.

Thanks for letting me rant, and thanks for inspiring me every day. xx bianca

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23 thoughts on “Real Talk: Body Image

  1. I’m glad you shared this lady – so many of us share these struggles, and from the outside, there would be no way to tell you did, too! A very honest and important message from a very beautiful girl. <3

    • You’re the best, Kate! It’s kinda scary to throw it all out there, but I felt like it was necessary. Thanks for always being there to listen when I am feeling down on myself – you’ve definitely heard it all from me before! <3

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this! I struggle in a really similar way and its so calming to know I’m not alone! Thank you for being so honest and open. You have made my day(:

    Imii xox // nettleandblackberry.com

    • You’re so welcome – I know there are so many posts like this, but I really wanted to share my two cents. My goal was to make someone’s day and make them feel better, so I did my job! Thank you for reading :-D xx

  3. Great post, Bianca! Beautiful is how you feel, not an arbitrary number on a scale. I used to weigh myself every day when I was in college and it made me miserable. I haven’t weighed myself in over five years and I can’t tell you how liberating it has been. Now when I look at a scale it sends shivers down my spine.

    • Hi Olivia! I think I need to give up the scale, too. I just always makes me unhappy… even when I am feeling pretty great. I think I’ll follow suit – so happy to hear that it worked for you! Thanks for reading :) xx

  4. Fantastic post, Bianca. Your personal story captures a universal element that I think all women can relate to (or could have at some point in their life); thank you so much for sharing. We are all so much more than how we look in a crop top, and to be able to appreciate ourselves for more than our physical appearance and to accept what we are and how we look is invaluable. I also love that you mentioned that you FEEL better as a vegan regardless of the number on the scale because that’s such a great thing to focus on and can be a source of strength and energy for when it’s one of those days. So inspiring!

    • Thank you so much for reading it, Meghan! I felt pretty nervous but it actually was liberating to share my own personal story. And it’s true about going vegan – I just feel so much healthier… so who cares about the scale?! I constantly remind myself of this :) xx

  5. Thank you! Most, maybe all, the women I know struggle in some way with this, including me. Such a waste of energy. It’s good to have a reminder. Lovely photo. 😊

  6. Thank you for sharing this. You are so right. No one notices those 5 lbs. I actually read somewhere that you have to lose/gain 20 lbs before anyone in your day to day life (work and such) will even notice. When I was younger and even when I met my husband, I was so concerned about my weight that I didn’t eat. It wasn’t until I had his support and started gaining weight because he wouldn’t let me NOT eat that I came to realize how unimportant it is. My thing now is dressing for my size instead of spending money on “skinny” clothes but overall it’s good to know I’m not the only one feeling this way, and that we can overcome the bs we put ourselves through!

    • Thank you so much for sharing some of your tips and story with me! I agree with you – I would starve myself for no reason! When I became vegan, I worried less about what I ate cause it’s natural, fruits, veggies, etc. I do my best to dress for my size now, too. It’s just more flattering! And I don’t end up feeling bad about myself later. So glad to hear that you are doing the same :-D xx

  7. Exercise used to be so hard for me. I hated it all, and I never stuck with something longer than a month (or usually a week lol). Since I found crossfit, I find myself actually wanting to go, because I can see measurable results that I’m getting stronger. Now, I don’t think crossfit is for everyone, but the key is to find an exercise that you don’t *hate.* When I started, that’s as much as I could muster up. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t like it either. But it’s been months now and I actually look forward to it! I left my class tonight smiling, which has never happened before. The second key is to do some sort of exercise that has measurable goals – if you can’t track your progress, you might assume there hasn’t been any and give up.

    Since I started exercising, I’ve gained 5 pounds. That really bothered me for a while, until I stopped looking at the scale number and started looking at how my clothing fit. Self love is about being healthy, not about being skinny. I love your post because it’s so, so true.

    Choosingraw.com and superstrengthhealth.com deal with this body image issue a lot, and their posts have really helped me see myself in a new and more positive light.

    • Hi Hannah! Thanks so much for sharing your personal experience and tips with me. I struggle so much with exercising! I really like yoga, but the classes around here are pretty expensive, and then I try to do at-home with youtube videos and I don’t feel as motivated. I also have a weighted hula hoop which can be fun, but I gotta try to stick with a daily routine (or even every other day!) I’ve heard great things about Crossfit… maybe I should look into it.

      I also love how you mentioned your happiness OFF the scale. I think I am going to try to do that! I wanna try to go a year without weighing myself and just see how I feel. I think it will help, because even on days where I feel great mentally, I’ll jump on scale and it knocks me down. It’s terrible!! But I am ready to conquer it ;) Thanks so much for reading <3

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