Growing up, I never really struggled with body image. I was a very skinny child, preteen, and teen. Looking back at pictures, it is shocking how skinny I was. Never having to worry about my figure, I ate whatever I wanted. For years and years I rarely thought about if the food I was eating was fattening or high in calories.
That changed after I turned 21. Hormone changes, stress, and growing out of puberty changed my body figure and left me confused. I started gaining weight that I couldn’t get off; something that had never happened to me before.
At first, gaining this weight was fine. Actually it was more than just fine: it was great. I had always been teetering between being a “underweight” and “normal” BMI. Slowly I started to naturally fill out my figure and become curvy instead of stick-skinny. When I reached an ideal weight and body shape, I was happy. However, problems arose when I kept gaining weight past my “ideal”.
Right now I am healthy and well within my normal BMI range. However I still struggle with my body image. There are times where I think I look just fine, and times where I feel like I should be exercising and eating much better. Like many other women, I have days where I am happy with my body and days where I am just not.
Today, I decided to feel great about my body. The sun was out today in San Francisco and I got one of my favorite magazines in the mail. The beach was calling my name, so I decided to walk the 4 blocks to the ocean to lay out on the sand and read. I slipped on my new navy maxi dress, put a cute flower clip in my hair, and loaded up my beach bag with a blanket. It was such a lovely day; I laid out in the sun and watched the waves crash into the beach. I was surrounded by kite flyers, surfers, sun bathers, people walking their dogs in the surf and many other happy people.
Something amazing happened when I was laying on the beach: I felt glamorous. My maxi dress and curly hair swayed in wind, my pink toenails dug into the sand and I was so incredibly happy. I felt like someone right out of the magazine I was reading: well put together, stylish and beautiful.
It was such an amazing experience to sit on the beach and feel glamorous. I believe that every woman needs to have that same experience every day. So often, women are cruel to themselves. They criticize every part of their bodies; pointing out every perceived flaw in the mirror.
My advice to anyone out there who feels down about themselves: find what makes you feel glamorous. It doesn’t matter who you are, there is something that makes you feel like a million dollars. If it happens to be something material-a skirt, top, or necklace- then wear it! If it is a feature of your body, then play it up!
For me, glamour comes from embracing my curly hair and wearing clothes that I feel look great on me. Take it from someone who struggles with body image like any other women: find your own glamour and celebrate it.