“Wow, have you lost weight?”
“Wow, Megan, you look so skinny! Have you been working out?”
“Wow, you look amazing! What did you do to lose so much weight?”
I thought that these questions would make me feel good. Feel beautiful.
I thought these questions would make me feel accomplished, like all of my hard work had paid off. Like the early mornings spent exercising, and hungry evenings spent without dinner, had all been worth it.
But rather, these questions made me aware.
Painfully aware of how much value is placed on a woman and her body. Painfully aware of how much praise is given to a woman when she becomes a smaller version of herself. Painfully aware that the attention I was receiving from my male counterparts was contingent upon being smaller than I was before.
When I first sought out to lose weight, it was simply because I wanted to become a healthier version of myself. I wanted to take care of myself and treat my body with compassion.
But something inside of me has changed. It is no longer about my health anymore. It is no longer about treating my body with kindness.
It is about being smaller. Taking up less space. Being as skinny as possible.
So I can be desirable? So boys will like me? So I can finally be happy? I couldn’t even answer that question anymore if I tried.
So, I lost more weight. In hopes that I would finally beat the battle against my own body.
Just ten more pounds, I told myself. Just ten more pounds and you’ll be happy with how you look. Just ten more pounds and you will conquer this demon that’s taken over your life without warning.
And now, here I am, more weight lost, even more insecure than before.
It is my mind vs. my body.
My mind, knowing, logically, that my practices of trying to lose weight are unnecessary. Impractical. Damaging.
My mind, knowing, logically, that I am beautiful the way that I am.
But my body? I cannot outrun it. I cannot outrun the body I have been chasing for years. I cannot outrun the feeling of not being good enough.
So, I wanted to write this for whoever is struggling with their body image right now. I wanted to write this for women who feel like their body is not their own. Who feel controlled by it. Diminished by it.
Take it from someone who lost the weight; it did not fix me. It did quite the opposite actually. It broke me entirely.
I can’t tell you how to fix it. I can’t tell you how to take control of your mind and feel more comfortable and confident in your own body because quite frankly, I haven’t figured it out either.
But you are not alone.
I hear you.
I see you.
I stand with you.
You are not alone.