What is the Perfect Weight?
Society is a fickle queen that places too much emphasis on outside appearances rather than what's on the inside. We can't open a magazine or browse online without an ad that tells us what clothes to buy to look slimmer or what pills to purchase to finally lose that stubborn ten pounds so we can at last be happy. While both men and women can and do deal with weight issues, it seems that women get the short end of the stick when it comes to having extra weight. A man can be ten, twenty, even thirty pounds overweight and he will still be considered handsome and be able to go on dates and it's just not that big of a deal. It's not likely that he'll have to restrict his diet too much or give up that after work beer or pizza. Women, on the other hand, have it much tougher in my opinion. When you're young and thin, you're considered beautiful. There's not really a whole lot you have to do to attract the attention of a man. But things certainly change when you grow older and the pounds add up. It's almost like society is disgusted with you. It tells you to go on a diet, lose the weight, because only then will you be worthy of its love. Not fair I agree, but very much the narrative these days.
I feel that I can speak honestly on both sides of this topic because I have lived it. Growing up, I was short and skinny, but I was not happy about it. I was either bullied for being short and skinny, or I was bullied because other girls were jealous that I was skinny and they were not and tell me as much, so either way I was still the butt of the joke. I couldn't do much about the short part because I was still growing, but I did want to gain weight because I thought it would make me feel more confident and finally stop the teasing. I started high school at the height of 5'0 and 100 pounds and graduated at 5'2 and about 115 pounds.
Looking back, I was the normal weight for my height. I should've been happy, I should've been confident about my body, but I never was. I regret not wearing the short shorts back then or the bikini that showed my belly. I was walking or running about 10 miles or more per week in gym class plus exercising at home. I was probably in the best shape of my life at that point. I didn't have an ounce of extra fat, stretch marks, or anything that can make a person have such low self-esteem. I actually had abs because I did over 100 sit-ups a day. I could wear any clothes that I wanted without having to worry about hiding any so called imperfections. I had the world at my feet but I never realized it back then. I should've been out there proud of my body and living my best life but I wasn't, because deep down inside I was still that short and skinny kid that got tormented.
At about age 18, I started taking birth control pills for obvious reasons and continued to do so for almost three years. When I stopped the birth control pills I weighted about 110 pounds. Fast forward two months and I was up to 130 pounds. It is common knowledge that hormonal birth control pills can mess with your weight when you start or stop them. For me, it happened when I stopped them, making me gain twenty pounds in a matter of months. This was new for me. I had never weighted this much and honestly I didn't really know how to feel about it at first. I wasn't eating any differently at this point, but I wasn't exercising as much as I did when I was in high school. I enjoyed some aspects of gaining weight like having a bigger chest with a bra size that went from a B cup to a D cup. I was filling out and becoming a woman before my very eyes. In a twisted sort of way, wasn't this what I had always wanted when I was younger? To be more than a toothpick like I was so often called. I had grown in height too, at this point I was about 5'4. I was everything I had ever wanted to be but I still wasn't happy. With this new weight came new issues I had never dealt with before.
For about a year after I stopped taking the birth control pills, I kept steadily gaining more weight. At my highest weight, I was about 145. This was about 25 more than I had ever been in my life. Ever. I need to point out that I am a woman with a small frame. I am not big boned by any means. I have very small hands and wrists and very small feet ( about a size 6). I don't think my body was made to weigh more than maybe 130 pounds at the most. When I reached my peak weigh of 145 pounds my skin started to stretch beyond its capacity and I got a few stretch marks. Mentally, I was still that skinny kid so in my mind it was almost comical that little old me was becoming so big. I noticed that my clothes didn't fit me the same anymore either. They were too tight in all the wrong places and I had to buy bigger clothes to accommodate my growing body. Inside my head I called them my "fat clothes." I would cut the labels out just in case so no one would see the sizes. I was starting to get comments from people like "you shouldn't gain any more weight" which weren't doing any favors to my already low self-esteem. Would I ever be happy with my body? I wasn't sure at this point. When I was thin I thought being bigger would make me happy, but now that I was heavier, all I wanted was to be slim again.
This would be the time many other women would get an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia, but don't worry that wasn't for me. I could never starve myself nor could I make myself throw up. I'm one of those people who actually enjoy food and would never want to restrict myself entirely from it. I decided I would lose the extra pounds the old fashioned way; exercise. So I started exercising at home three to five times a week and within about six months I was down ten pounds, and a year later, I was back to 130 pounds at which I felt the most comfortable at that point in time. I had gone through hell and back for this body and this time I was going to appreciate it.
Exercise that consisted of lifting light weights and cardio not only made my body stronger but it made me more confident. This time around, having known both sides of the coin, I knew I had to feel good on the inside before I would like the way I looked. I worked hard to make my body into what I wanted and finally it was mine. I'm not saying it happened overnight, but with some work on myself internally I was able to feel better than I had ever before in my life. I started reading self help books and actually learning to love myself and appreciate myself probably for the first time ever. Over the years, my weight has fluctuated anywhere from 105 pounds to 145. But now that weight is nothing more than a number on the scale. It doesn't define me or make me any better or worse than anyone else. In fact, weight is such a personal issue that I feel you shouldn't ever compare it to any other person. They could look good at a certain weight but that doesn't mean that is right for you. You look good at the weight that makes you feel good, no matter what that number may be. The world can be superficial and make you feel ugly and unwanted. It can make you feel like you can only be happy if you weigh a certain amount or look a certain way. That is the biggest lie of all. The truth is that you will only look good if you feel good on the inside. Heal yourself from the inside while you are transforming your body on the outside. That is the only way to true happiness. Good luck on your journey.
Scars To Your Beautiful by Alessia Cara
Are you happy with your weight?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
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