Outer Beauty: Learning To Love Myself At Every Size

When I was younger, I loved being called a tomboy. I’m pretty sure I had a six-pack in 4th grade. I played sports constantly and my body was always in shape. I felt like I could eat anything and not gain a pound, because for a while, my metabolism allowed me the ability to do so. So I ate terribly and fluctuated gracefully between 110 and 115 pounds for all of high school and throughout my first two years of college. I loved it. My friends looked at me with puppy dog eyes as I sauntered around in a sports bra and underwear while they hunkered down in their over sized t-shirts and Snuggies. I felt invincible. I felt model-esque. I felt in short, amazing.

I would never make them feel bad because of their eating habits just because I happened to have the metabolism of a fucking race horse. I joined them in ordering Chinese food, eating left-over pizza and baking cakes. I ate just as much as they did, but my body never seemed to change. They gawked and I just shrugged my shoulders, never realizing how good I had it.

Soon though, the inevitable happened. I hit my peak weight recently at 120 pounds. (Note: I am in no way, shape, or form saying that 120 pounds is fat, but I’m 5’1” and I have never been anywhere near 120 pounds so it was a big deal for me, okay?) I have an incredibly loving boyfriend, who was probably the cause of my weight gain. But for arguments sake, we’ll say it was my fault, even though his stomach is somewhat of a Sarlacc Pit when it comes to junk food. The introduction of a ridiculously healthy relationship into my life and sitting around eating in bed was new, but the unhealthy diet of fruit snacks and frosting covered sugar cookies was not. Softball season had ended and most of my time was now spent eating junk food and laying around naked. The most exercise I got was well, you know. I’ll leave that to your imagination in case my mother decides to read this (HI MOM!)

Suddenly, every so often, I found myself looking in the mirror, pinching my skin, and scrunching my face at the faded tone of my now slightly soft stomach. I have never hated my body before then. Not once had the thought that I looked ugly naked crossed my mind. Okay, maybe sometimes, but I was probably just being a baby. And I realized that gaining weight was no reason to suddenly start disliking it.

So I decided that even with the weight, gain, I still love my body. I love my muscular legs from years of soccer and softball, to the crease of my butt cheeks on my upper thigh that my boyfriend loves, to the few pounds I gained while not caring about what I looked like and enjoying the experience of eating in bed with someone I care about.

And all girls should love their bodies, and allow the person they’re with to love it as well. Love every gained or lost pound, every stretch mark and scar, every awkward dark hair on your chin and hangnail. My beau doesn’t judge me for wanting to eat as much shitty food as my stomach can handle, and will not hesitate to tell me how beautiful I look with Oreo residue between my teeth. Yeah, so maybe my ass has gotten a bit rounder, and my thighs a bit meatier, but he will never say that it’s a bad thing. He has helped me realize that regardless of whatever the number below me feet reads on the scale I now religiously stand on after a shower, that I am beautiful.

No, I don’t have my ideal body type right now (being 5’10 and 100 pounds would be pretty nice) but that’s neither here nor there. I do have a brain, and a pretty nice one at that. It may have taken me a little while to convince my brain that I always look good, but I can now proudly say that I love my body and I will love it 10 pounds heavier or 25 pounds lighter. And by the way, I still look great in a sports bra.

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    • Kerry

      I’m going to go ahead and assume that it was an extremely brain dead joke when the author said that being 5 10 and 100 pounds would be ‘pretty nice’. But overall the impression is of someone who’s saying one thing and meaning another.

      • Sam

        I think she might have a typo, especially since she said she was 5’1″ earlier in the article.

    • kathleen

      this article is just plain stupid.

    • MM

      I find this article kind of insulting to all the women who have written about their real body issues. It’s not about body image or weight issues so much as “Look at me, my life rocks and I’ve never really dealt with any serious problems!!”

    • Jessica

      Wow, you put on a whole 5 pounds and you’re still under 9 stone. Sucks to be you, eh?

      Seriously guys, this ‘article’ is offensive to people who *actually have* weight problems to worry about.

      • Brandie

        I hear what you’re saying. In high school I was the beginning of this story 5′ and 120lb. Now I’m in my mid twenties 5’3 and 200 lbs.

        That being said, I think her point (although poorly made) was that beautiful at every size isn’t limited to women who are plus size. This isn’t a ‘whose fatter’ contest or who has suffered more with their weight or body image.

        Beauty trend has gone from one extreme to the other, thin is in to curves are beautiful. I think the point is you’re, whoever you are, beautiful.

    • Marina

      Wow. Congratufreakinglations. You weigh 120 pounds and still love your body.

    • Eileen

      Okay, so she’s still pretty thin (although 5 pounds on 5’1″ makes a much bigger difference than 5 pounds on 5’6″ or so). Whatever. She recognizes that. But for her, personally, it WAS a big deal. “Fat” is a very relative term, after all, and body issues come up for women at all different weights. A woman might freak out about hitting, say, 200 pounds – does that mean the women who are struggling to get back down to 200 should dismiss her problems?

      She never had to worry about her weight, and now she does. This happens to everyone – just usually when we’re considerably younger than 20. A lot of girls get really upset, start to hate their bodies, develop severe food or exercise hang-ups or eating disorders. This girl didn’t, and she’s proud of that. You don’t have to like her or even sympathize with her, but it’s not very nice to mock her for taking in stride something that could have been very upsetting.

      • Steph

        Thank you! I was just going to say something to this effect. No matter what size we are, being something higher than what we are used to can be upsetting.

      • Brandie

        I’m going to copy a comment I made below because it fits and I don’t want to retype it lol. I think she just made her point a little poorly. I think what she meant was and what you’re saying is:

        I think her point (although poorly made) was that beautiful at every size isn’t limited to women who are plus size. This isn’t a ‘whose fatter’ contest or who has suffered more with their weight or body image.

        Beauty trend has gone from one extreme to the other, thin is in to curves are beautiful. I think the point is you’re, whoever you are, beautiful.

    • Chrissy

      Being 5″1 and 100 lbs would be right at the bottom of your BMI. And as someone who is 5″1, 150 lbs with a goal weight of 120 (a dead center BMI) all I can say is bite me.

    • Katie

      You know what? Good for her. Seriously. Why is it normal for women to bitch about their bodies and weight gain, but we are meant to feel bad for being ok with it and loving our bodies no matter what? I would love to lose 10-20 pounds, but I’m also learning to love my imperfections and weight gain for what they are. That was the point of the article, not to brag and make anyone feel bad.

    • Jinx

      I feel like this article could be written about me. I’ve always been athletic and hovered around 110lbs until recently going up to 120 while being in a long-term relationship. AT 5’3, I’m on the short side too but honestly, this is nothing to get so worked up about. You should be able to shed those extra couple of pounds easily if you go kick around a ball occasionally or lay off that third cookie. If you really “loved your body” that much you wouldn’t obsess over it or religiously weigh yourself every day. Chill out.

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