I used to be obsessed with becoming smaller.
In my mind, every photo that I took was a ‘before’ photo. I couldn’t wait for the day where I could post a transformation photo, and ‘show them all’ how much I’d changed.
One of my friends was taking pictures of me and told me that I didn’t have sex appeal. Other friends would post photos of me, showcasing mainly my double chin. To them, this was a joke, they likely had no malicious intent. To me, this was just another unwelcome reminder that my body would never be good enough.
I tried to avoid photos. When I was in them, I tried to make a silly face, or hide myself behind others. I figured, if I made myself out to be silly, then no one could make fun of me for being anything else.
Hundreds of photos of me exist where my face is only half in them. Looking at that now, hurts.
In 2018, I began a weightloss journey. I was miserable and uncomfortable. I was drinking too much, sleeping too little, and never taking care of myself. My body showed it. I was bloated all the time, I looked tired constantly, I was insecure, and it reflected in everything I did.
I convinced myself that if I lost weight, the rest would fix itself.
I began to lose weight. I began to see those transformation photos I had desperately wanted. I still have them saved on my phone, and they were my pride and joy.
Yet, I wasn’t losing the weight like I wanted to. I was still binge drinking every week, I was still eating fast food, I was still miserable.
Dieting eventually consumed my every thought. I needed to become smaller. I needed that transformation and I needed it to be drastic.
You see, the crazy thing about dieting is, it doesn’t work. The diet industry is a multi-million dollar industry that preys on our insecurities. It draws us in, time and time again, tells us we need to be smaller, and that we’re failures if we don’t make that happen.
The diet industry offers us the promise of a transformative experience, but, at what cost?
I sacrificed my mental health many times, in order to make myself smaller. For myself and many others, constant dieting, led to a binge and restrict cycle.
I was actually dieting in this photo and barely eating, but you couldn’t tell. This was on vacation in Thailand with a friend, a vacation where I was too scared to eat carbs and ruin my ‘progress’. The bloating, digestive issues, and insecurity still remained.
For another year I kept up with this same lifestyle. Binge, restrict. Binge, restrict.
Some major life events occurred for me in the middle to end of 2019 that sent me on the search for true wellness. I knew what I was doing wasn’t working. I knew I couldn’t stand dieting, and I knew I just wanted to feel a little bit more free.
I went to therapy. I unfollowed negative influences on instagram, and instead filled my feed with people who looked more like me.
Little by little, things started to transform.
By 2020, I was ready to say goodbye to diet culture. I realized I could eat good and whole foods, and still enjoy myself.
I stopped letting myself believe that all my problems could be solved by a drink, or a McDonald’s order and I faced them head on.
Finally, the transformation I had wanted all this time, began to occur.
I began to eat intuitively and gave my body what it needed, when it needed it. Much to my surprise, everything was okay. Unlike what I had previously believed, I did not fall apart without a diet. Working out became a celebration of me, not a desperate ploy to shrink my body, eating was fun again.
You are so much more than a ‘before’ photo and your value does not lie in your ability to transform into a smaller version of you. Transformation comes from more than just weight; it is spiritual, physical, emotional, and more. It is beautiful and ugly at the same time, and it will teach you invaluable life lessons.