How To Crush Body Shaming And Love What You See In The Mirror

Crush body shaming

I watch Victoria Secret show all the time. Because the models are so beautiful.

They had such perfect bodies. Lean, slim, strong. They had wonderful thighs, crazy abs, and amazing curves.

I looked at myself in the mirror. I was so far from that.

In fact, I felt fat and ugly.

My whole life, I was always on the chubby side. No matter how little I ate, my body could never reach the perfection stage. The mean kids at school mocked me about my body. And I believed in them. I believed I was fat and ugly. I became sensitive to anything related to my body type. Whenever they talked about some chubby students, I imagined they were comparing me to them. My face turned red, my ears felt like they were on fire. I sat at the corner of my class, trying to hide from them, hopefully, they would stop mocking.

Thinking back, I was the only one who continued to criticize myself, to compare myself with others and imagined everyone else was doing the same.

Things got worse when I started working.

I had to sit down in front of a laptop all day, I ate pizza at late night when I worked overtime, and my waistline became bigger. I stayed up late to work, and I slept less. I felt stressed and hungry. I gained 10 pounds shortly after it.

I saw slim, skinny bodies all over the internet. And here I was, standing in front of the mirror, with a round stomach and fat thighs.

Sad. Angry. Depressed.

Looking at the mirror, frown and shook my head.

“Look at that! What have you done to make your body that big? If you wear a green shirt, people must think you play freaking Shrek! You should be ashamed of yourself. You are so ugly.”

I heard that voice in my head every time I looked in the mirror. I wanted to change badly. I wanted to punish myself for being fat.

Body shaming became an obsession 

The first option jumped out of my head was dieting. I searched all over internet, forums, what other people told me and literally tried everything I heard of.

In the beginning, I limited my portion, ate half of my normal meals and eliminated all the sweet drinks. I lost couple pounds after the first week.

People started to notice.

“Wow, did you lose weight? You look great.”

I was pumped and encouraged. My joy didn’t last for long as those pounds bounced back on me when I resumed my normal diet.

Instead of finding out the problems with those diets, I thought the problem was on me. Because I was a loser, and I didn’t try hard enough.

I became obsessed with my weight and my scale. I followed many extreme diets. There were weeks I did not eat breakfast or lunch, I depended on honey to keep me through the day.

Each lost pound and every time my clothes became big on me were my victories. That feeling was addictive. All I could think of was how to lose more weight.

I went days without eating. It was a battle. Even if I ate an apple in the whole day, I have lost the game.

My body reacted against me. My skin got darker, I had pimples again. I constantly have headaches and feeling dizzy. I became dependant on pain pills.

Some of my friends concerned about me.

“Hey, you look so pale. You have lost weight again. That was too fast. Are you ok?”

But all I heard was “you have lost weight again”. And it meant I had won again. Every time someone showed their concern about my health, I considered that as an accomplishment.

Learning to love my body

I got the flu one day. But my body resisted all the medicines I drank. The flu became worse and worse and made me lay in bed for 2 weeks. 

As much as I wanted to work out to keep losing weight, I was too weak to stand. Two weeks in bed gave me plenty of times to think. The horrible feeling of sickness opened my eyes, made me realize how bad I had been treating my body, how my body tried to warn me but I ignored her.

All the pimples, hair loss, headaches and mood swing were my body’s signals. But I was too blind to see. Because of my ignorance, I was left with a weak, vulnerable body that simple flu could easily break me.

For the first time in years, I felt bad for myself.

“What have I done?”

This time, I knew I had to change. I need to get my true self back. But not for the sake of a bikini, Victoria Secret body, but for the sake of my own health.

3 ways I crushed my self-judgment and loved what I saw in the mirror

1. I tore up my Victoria Secret pictures and unfollow all the fitness pages 

I didn’t want a Victoria Secret body. I didn’t need to see other people’s transformation.

I thought they would be my motivation. But they weren’t.

Those perfect pictures made me obsessed with a skinny, unhealthy body.

I replaced these with pictures of beautiful oversized models, whom I used to think “fat and ugly”.

Every time I looked at those, it was a reminder that beauty doesn’t equal to how many rib bones you show.

2. I focused on how I feel rather than how I look 

During my sick time in bed, a thought crossed my mind.

“What would I do if I live by myself, on a deserted island? Would I strict my diet or doing crazy workouts?”

No, I wouldn’t. If there is no one to watch me and criticise me, I would only eat what I like, do things I love.

Why am I acting differently? I am living my own life, not theirs.

I had been focusing too much on what other people might think and ignored how I felt. I started to do things that I really enjoy. I no longer strict my diets to lose weight, but I eat good food that is nutritious and tasty. I eat what makes me feel good.

Instead of killing myself with an intense workout, I listened to my body and do what my body desired. It doesn’t matter if it was just 5 minutes simple stretching, as long as I feel happy and relax doing that, I would do it. I no longer workout because I was scared of gaining weight as a consequence, but I work out because it makes me happy.

3. I tell myself that I am healthy and beautiful in every way 

I stood naked in front of the mirror. I looked at myself from head to toes. I was so thankful to be alive, so thankful to have a healthy body.

I whispered: “I am healthy. I am beautiful in every way”. Just enough for me to hear.

It felt silly at first. But things got easier. I could say it smoothly. And the more I said it, the more I believed in it.

I must have said it to myself millions of times before I actually fall in love with the girl in the mirror.

Crush body shaming is hard work.

It didn’t happen overnight. So many people still pay too much attention to the bikini shape body and forget what it really means to be healthy and strong. 

I myself was once lost in it. But now I found the light in the tunnel and I know exactly what direction to go.

I no longer listen to what people might think about my body, no longer consider myself as “fat and ugly”. Because I know I am beautiful. I deserve love, respect, and happiness.

I have every ounce of faith in myself. And in you.

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Mai Pham
 

Mai Pham is the founder of Live a Worthy Life. She believes we can recreate our lives. Her mission is to help you to ditch your stress, anxiety, and worries to enjoy life again.

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