I was 17 years old when I became infatuated with the models from The Victoria Secret Fashion Show. And that infatuation grew into an intense desire to look like them.
I tried diet after diet, supplemented with diet pills, and exercised for almost two hours, every single day—I literally did anything I possibly could to achieve that aesthetic.
That was the beginning to years full of debilitating behavior and an unhealthy relationship with food, fitness and my body. And while the Victoria Secret Fashion show certainly triggered it, there were a myriad of other factors that played into it as well.
I grew up listening to my step mom shame her body and her the solution was to change her appearance. She was always dieting, binging and then ending back in rebound—repeatedly.
I was unconsciously bombarded with subliminal messaging that told me I wasn’t good enough. That I needed to shrink and be small. No marks, no dimples, no rolls. Flawless skin and a flat stomach. I’d see it in every ad, every magazine, and that same look on every model.
And so I become obsessed with this image.
The crazy thing was I reached my goal of getting down to 100lbs only to discover that I still felt like I wasn’t enough.
For years I was conditioned to believe being small meant happiness, worthiness and confidence—and yet I still lacked every single one of those feelings.
This is part of the reason so many of us struggle with body image. We’ve latched on to this notion that you need to fit into arbitrary standards to be beautiful, that looking a certain way equates to happiness, and that having cellulite on your body deems you as unworthy. As a result, you spend time hustling for your worth only to end up feeling empty, helpless and in complete despair.
This system isn’t serving you and it’s time to reject it because it’s stopping you from showing up powerfully in your skin, just as it is.
The truth is, body confidence does not come from changing your body, it comes from changing the relationship you have with your body.
And I can tell you this because I am now the heaviest I’ve ever been without having an attachment to it. I have cellulite, I have stretch marks, my body creates rolls and folds—and I have never felt happier, more empowered and at home in my body than I do now, despite being 40lbs heavier.
You see, I didn’t gain weight because I let go of myself. I gained weight because I let go of unimportant things—the obsessive behavior around food, fitness and my body. I realized that the narrative I was telling myself was not my own—it was inherited by a societal expectation and behavior I learned as a child. I finally redefined what holds significance for my life and quite frankly being smaller isn’t one of them.
Darling, you have so much more to offer the world than your body. You’re a majestic, magical and unique individual and no one can offer the things that you can, in the way that you can.
So go out into the world. Use your voice. Be heard. Be seen. Play big. Take up space, authentically. And remember, that you’re already enough exactly as you are—you don’t need to change a single thing about you.
Love your trainer and your friend,
Prior to all of this she suffered from an eating disorder and severely struggled with her body image. During her recovery process, she realized that body confidence does not actually come from changing your body – it comes from changing the relationship you have with your body. Now it’s her mission to spread that message, and help teach other women how to feel empowered in their bodies through self love and self care.