I blame us –all of us- for the media’s sickening manipulation of women’s photographs. We find comfort in blaming society for most of our problems, yet we have an uncanny ability to forget that we are society. Each and every one of us plays a role, which means it’s up to us to change it. Individually, it’s a hard battle; I get it. However, true change does begin when you and I, as individuals, decide to make a change for ourselves, no matter how small.
Being called “fat” has never been a problem for me; quite the opposite: I’m called “skinny” way too many times for my liking. Seriously, call me skinny one more time and see how I react; I will not be held responsible, since I’m warning you ahead of time. Some would consider this a “happy problem” to have, especially with the growing obesity rate in this country. However, I must insist on putting my foot down with this topic, because it’s too important not to.
Ready? I don’t care if you’re a man or a woman, pay attention: it’s not about being skinny or fat. It’s about being HEALTHY.
Do you understand the significant difference between one and the other? Because this is huge people, mind-blowing even. Healthy means different weights for each and every different human being currently in existance on the face of planet Earth, and we not only need to learn to accept that, but also, learn to respect and love ourselves for it.
If I look at myself in the mirror, I see a 119 lbs, 5’3” woman who is happy, healthy, and probably should get a bit more sleep than she does, but still loves and enjoys life. I go to the gym because not only do I want to stay in shape, but I also need to use it as my energy-outlet. I’m confident in myself, although I go through the natural ups and downs, but all in all, I absolutely love being me. I love what I see in that reflection.
Has it always been this way? No. Have I had to work very hard to get to where I am now? Like you would not believe. No amount of blog posts could ever, for the life of them, truly convey the amount of physical, emotional, and mental work I’ve had to, and still have to, put in to get me here, but I wouldn’t trade any of the experiences for a second.
I’ve been chubby, and I’ve been close to anorexic. I’ve hated almost every part of my body at some point in time. I’ve watched the men in my family battle obesity for as long as I can remember. I’ve seen my own father have to use pills to control his high blood pressure when he was at his heaviest, and them simply toss them away the minute he lost the excess. And, most importantly, I’ve witnessed my brother go through one of the most phenomenal transformations I’ve seen in my young life: from weighing 255 lbs and never knowing what being fit entailed, down to a whopping 180 lbs and a kick-ass lifestyle. Needless to say, the first time my mom, sister, and I ever saw him that thin, we were picking him up from the airport and we actually looked past him; none of us recognized him!
My brother’s success is what has primarily motivated me in the last few years to get healthy. By no means is it easy, but then again, nothing that is worth fighting for ever is. And I’ll be damned if the example I’m giving to those around me is one and the same with what the media portrays nowadays.
Sorry I’m not sorry for my language.
You are beautiful; I do not care in the slightest how corny or cliché that sounds. Stare at yourself in the mirror, accept yourself for whatever you look like and however much you weigh, then make a promise to yourself –to you, for you, by you—that in this coming year you will find the very best way for your body, personality, and emotional type to become healthy and stay there. Endure whatever obstacles come your way; enjoy the endless benefits you’ll find. The point is to take baby steps every day until you can finally run at your own natural, healthy pace.
Trust me, your future self will thank you for it.
Photo: Gabriela Alemán / Isla Verde, San Juan, Puerto Rico