I became self critical of my body when I was 7 or 8 years old because I felt I was too fat. I dealt with these feelings all through middle and high school and for a few years after. I felt that the fat on my body was something to be ashamed of and that it made me undesirable both as a lover and as an individual. My concern for my weight and eating habits seemed to consume me at times. I eventually began binge eating and then forcing myself to vomit around the age of 15. I did this fairly consistently for about 3 years. My body image issues overlapped confusingly with my sexual attraction for women.
I was about 12 by the time I noticed the scale rising. I'd always been under 100 pounds, then suddenly, puberty made me stack on weight steadily and my clothes weren't fitting correctly anymore. I was homeschooled, so I wasn't sure what other girls my age were supposed to look like, or what to expect. My younger sisters ate as much as they wanted and never seemed phased by it, all the while I started eating less. Before anyone knew it, I wasn't eating enough and hid the food my parents required I eat. Whenever I bathed, I would poke my stomach and pinch my thighs. How could I let myself get this way?
I was out of shape and weak growing up after having beat Cervical Cancer. I never felt strong or sure of myself after I found out I was sick and then even after I was in remission. I lost so much confidence being that sick. But once I was recovering I met a nice man and we married, but then divorced when he cheated on me. I went back to feeling sorry for myself. But one morning, I woke up, watched the sun coming up, and understood how lucky I was to have beaten a deadly disease and to be alive.
I've had issues with weight my entire life. I remember kids chanting "cow man" to the theme of Batman. My parents would ask me if I "really wanted to eat that? I know your weight bothers you." Growing up, I didnt really watch what I ate at but it appared to be fairly close to what my skinny friends ate. Regardless, my weight slowly creeped up until college when I realized I had hypothyroidism, and I was up to 220 lbs at 22. My legs were chafing so badly it hurt to walk, and I couldn't take it any more.
I have been overweight most of my life and have been active on and off throughout as well. I began seeing the effects of my weight in high school, and got my father to sign me up for a gym membership, which I kept for about 3 years until dropping it to change gyms. I went from 197 down to 160 in a matter of about 3 to 4 months. BUT my right knee continued to give me problems. Lo and behold, when I had my ACL strained back in 2008, no one knew I had torn my meniscus. By December 2012 I had only a few strands of my ACL intact. December 13, 2012, I received knee surgery. My weight of 160 was buried in its grave, and I quickly gained weight until I was nearly 250 pounds. January 2014 I recommitted to fitness and continued my workouts through the gym on a military base. I have lost roughly 50 pounds. My Navy friends keep me motivated, and I have also decided to eventually pursue a career in the Navy. So I had a deadline to make - to be military fit in 4 years if I am able to get my BS degree.
As I'm reading all of these entries, I have tears streaming down my face...at the age of 25, I've struggled with my weight since middle school. Throughout my childhood I was stick thin and could eat anything without thinking twice. Fast forward to middle school and my first experience with being called fat, and that was when I realized I hated my body. I've never been naturally athletic. I've struggled to run for more than a few minutes at a time for as long as I can remember--even at my lowest weight I wasn't in shape.
I'm a 5' 3.5'', 29-year-old, mixed Vietnamese/German-Irish woman. When I was a little kid, I was a stick, but then sometime around fourth grade I was labeled and called fat by my peers once puberty hit. My parents didn't really help me much in this department as they'd chide me that if I ate too much I could be overweight or comment that I was gaining weight during these years. This caused me to compare my thicker body-type to my thin Asian cousins whereas my Caucasian cousins were always a little thicker. It just set me down this downward spiral of low self-esteem.
This morning I decided to write myself a letter, then when I got started writing I thought maybe I wanted to write everyone a letter. This itch may have started when a guy I had been seeing told me he could no longer see me in a romantic manner because I was too chubby for him. Well, for those of you who love the victory karma, haha, in-yo-face moment, here it is. I am poor. I’m a full time college student without a job. I can’t afford to wear clothes that show off my figure. However, yesterday the guy who broke it off with me saw me walk out of the gym. He stopped in his tracks and did a double. He walked up to me and told me I looked amazing. He saw me two weeks ago, not wearing my gym attire, and I was too chubby for him. I just looked at him, wondered what I ever saw in him, and walked away.
The My Body Gallery project needs real Women! We need your help to develop the project and build a collection of photos that will help more women see themselves more clearly. Upload a picture of your full body. Our photo submission process also allows you to block out part of the image to protect your identity, if you wish. Please note that you must be 18 to upload a photo.