Body Image...Every Woman's Struggle


Original photo from DearKates.com
I stood in the mirror for at least 5 minutes deciding if I was going to cry, call my husband to tell him that I wanted liposuction, or both. My last resort was to just walk away and brush it off, but that seemed almost impossible. How could I ignore the fact that my love handles seems to have acquired some new friends? Not to mention these pounds not wanting to find their way to oblivion. I'd make progress only for the next day the scale to say, "Sike! Just playing. We're back!" After looking in the mirror, I felt convicted about being excited for the night's dinner. By the looks of things, I didn't need to eat one more bite of food, because it all seemed to hide away in my love handles and hips.

How could this be?

I literally gave up meat and have been on the journey to becoming vegan* to lose weight for the last two months! Furthermore, I have been running at least 1.5 miles (2.41 km) four days a week and doing yoga once a week. This does not add up! Why is my body betraying me?? Is it the last attempt to make me quit or is this supposed to be motivation to go harder? I am utterly confused and, honestly, upset.

This feeling that I have right now is the same feeling that spurred me to lose over 30lbs five years ago. Ironically, it was at the same point that I tried a vegan diet the first time. It was that painful look in the mirror accompanied by feelings of disgust and disappointment that motivated me to fight for the body that I wanted. Only, that time it worked.

Not wanting to believe what I saw, I decided to take to a tape measurer. Maybe, just maybe, this was all an illusion and I'd actually lost some inches. You know what they say about seeing yourself in the mirror everyday. You can't really see the change. I go for my waist, since I'm convinced my hips won't budge. I lost barely a half an inch, maybe less. I can't confirm if I held the tape measurer tighter just to show some improvement. Regardless of the exact number, it wasn't where I wanted it to be and neither was the scale. How could I have given up the majority of my caloric intake and increase my activity and still come up short?

At this point, I could break the mirror, crawl into bed, and just go to sleep. But, I'm hungry and would rather binge on carbs to ease the pain.

I can't possibly be the only woman dealing with this. Behind the Instagram selfies and well put together outfits, there lies a woman struggling to accept her body. The body without the makeup, Spanx, waist trainer, fake nails, or any other enhancement that we've deemed necessary. Today it was love handles, yesterday it was my bulging belly in a candid photo, the day before that it was the dark circles under my eyes, and who knows what tomorrow will bring. Will we ever be content with our bodies?

I know that the life coaches and psychologists out there want us to love ourselves the way that we are. I get that. We need self love before anyone else can love us. I love being the 5'5 black girl with curves and natural hair that I am. I love my wittiness, sense of humor, ability to express my thoughts through writing...all that jazz. What I don't love is the excess weight that's a direct result of things that I've done...like eating poorly. Being discontent with this isn't a sign of self hate, but a realization that you aren't at your best and that better can be attained. So why not go for it?

I struggle with body image just like the next woman. I look in the mirror on days like today and don't like what I see. I go through pictures and make mental notes of all the things that I don't like. I take 30 selfies before I post the one that's most flattering and I suck in when the photographer says, "Say cheese!" It doesn't make me less confident or take away my ability to command an audience. It just makes me a woman. And, for a woman, body image can be a struggle.

I'll never reach perfection. You'll never reach perfection. But I'll be doggone if I'll stay where I'm at. So, tomorrow, I'll be right back at the gym, working harder than before. I'll look at this week's menu and make some tweaks on my carb intake. And then, I'll look in the mirror and tell myself that I'm beautiful, flaws and all.

*In the future, I'll refer to it as plants based diet.

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