Growing up, I was always the chubby, overweight kid.
I didn’t play sports and could barely keep up with the other kids when we played games on the playground.
All my friends were more petite than I was, but I didn’t care much about my body and how others perceived me.
I never felt bad about my body image and I ate whatever I wanted, unapologetically.
Reaching The Limit
When I reached middle school, I became more conscious about the way I looked. I was rapidly gaining weight, almost 20 pounds a year.
It reached a point where I would have been 200 pounds at the start of high school if I didn’t make changes. At my heaviest, I weighed around 170 pounds when I was only 13 years old in the 7th grade.
At my doctor’s visit, she told me that I was obese and near-diabetic, meaning all kinds of health problems.
My parents began to give me healthier foods and tried to cut out processed foods. They also encouraged me to workout. I was on a healthy weight loss journey and was happy that I was becoming healthier. I would still eat the foods I loved, without regrets, but in moderation.
However, my relationship with food went downhill as I kept losing weight. I would feel so guilty for overindulging on a holiday or eating a snack after dinner.
To compensate, I would over-exercise, doing intense cardio and burning 1,000 calories. Sometimes, I would cut back to 1,000 calories a day and I once lost 5 pounds in a week (in an unhealthy way).
Even though I never hit the point of a full-blown eating disorder, how I looked at food was extremely unhealthy.
How I changed my view about body image and food
Even now I still view food as my best friend and worst enemy. But I realized something, your weight or how you look does not matter.
What matters is that you are healthy and happy with yourself. It took me some time, but slowly, I have begun to eat without guilt and learn to accept my body.
I continue to work out, but I do it because it gives me more energy and makes me feel stronger rather than to shed off extra calories.
Some things I did to start getting over my guilt over food and my terrible view of my body were I started to look at myself in a more positive light.
Instead of focusing on how I gained weight or had hip dips, I would focus on the goods thing like how I completed a workout or ate a healthy, filling meal.
I surrounded myself with people who would be there for me and look out for me when I was started to turn back to my harmful mindset.
This was my story about my ups and downs with food and my body image.
I hope that it conveys a message that small, insignificant things like how much you weigh, how you look, or the food you eat does not matter in the long run.
What remains as you grow up is your health and your happiness.
So eat and do whatever you want and continue a proper lifestyle that doesn’t cause you pain or worry.
Remember, restriction and over-doing things will only hurt you and I wouldn’t want any of you guys getting hurt.
You are loved and every part of you is perfect and different from the person sitting next to you.
You are truly one of a kind.