The following content may be triggering if you or someone in your life is grappling with body image issues or eating disorders. If that’s the case, please feel free to skip this text or reach out to me if you’d like to talk about it.

The other day, after finishing a class, I found myself engaged in a conversation with one of my students. I deeply admire her openness and vulnerability. She also created a safe space for me to share as well.

Our discussion led me to reflect on my own struggles with body image and weight in the past. These struggles often resulted in unhealthy eating habits, such as extreme dieting, and engaging in physical activities for the “wrong” reasons.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been insecure about my body, particularly its size. Our society promotes unrealistic and detrimental body image “goals.” I used to believe that if I could be thinner or more fit, I would be worthy of love. I thought that by maintaining an unhealthy body size or eating less, I could find happiness. In my distorted mindset, being skinny equated to happiness and self-worth. However, the problem with this way of thinking was that nothing was ever skinny enough. I walked around, starving myself, thinking that “hunger is only a feeling” and suppressing my emotions.

When being skinny became an obsession and an unattainable goal, guilt would overwhelm me if I ate or deviated from my strict eating regimen. I felt compelled to compensate by doing more sports and ensuring that I burned off those calories. It became a vicious and never-ending cycle.

Things began to change for me when I shifted my mindset from pursuing skinniness to prioritizing health and overall well-being. The more I learned about self-love, the less I felt the need to starve myself. I started appreciating nourishing my body with wholesome food, feeling good, and having abundant energy. It brought me joy to have the vitality and strength to do the things I love. I learned to love my body as it is, without yearning to change it. My body is beautiful, strong, and powerful. I cherish every scar and wrinkle, and I embrace the changes that come with aging. Accepting my body as it is and celebrating it empowers me. I take pride in caring for my body, providing it with the proper fuel, exercise, and rest it needs.

I’m cultivating a new relationship with my body—a relationship based on love and care. This body is the only one I’ll have in this lifetime, and I want to celebrate it and express gratitude each morning for carrying me through my adventures.

I’m passionate about raising awareness about body image problems, eating disorders, and the shame that surrounds them. I’ve struggled with these issues throughout my life, expending immense energy in the process. I can only imagine the challenges that others may face. I believe in coming together and sharing our stories. I want to remind all of you that you are not alone in this journey. By sharing my own story, I aim to inspire and remind everyone that things can improve, that you can change your relationship with yourself and your body. You are beautiful just as you are, and your body deserves to be celebrated.

If you’d like to share your own story or if you need support, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I’m here for you, and I want us to build a community that supports and advocates for body positivity.