The considered healthy BMI for a woman of 5”6 is 18.5 to 24.9. That’s the weight of 117 to 143 pounds. They teach you this in a basic high school health class.
While it takes height into consideration, it does not account for factors such as: waist or hip measurements, proportion, or distribution of fat and proportion of muscle mass.
Fifteen out of 20 women I surveyed have been called fat in their life.
Twelve out of 20 women starved themselves to lose weight.
Three out of 20 women suffer from bulimia to lose weight.
Seven out of the 20 women struggle with weight.
Thirteen out of 20 women struggle with appearance.
I have struggled with my weight for as long as I can remember; it’s my biggest insecurity. I’m obsessed with calorie counting, getting my daily steps in, what kind of foods I eat, and I frequently diet.
Most women and men face this same problem. The stigma behind the perfect body is a toxic reminder of body image issues everyone faces. It’s that nagging voice that whispers in your ear when getting dressed.
“You’re too fat to wear that. Just cover up.”
It’s also that loud scream that shouts, “you’re hideous; time to diet.”
When I was 12, I was obsessed with my body.
I was on the cross country, track, and female hockey team. I frequently would sit in my room and force myself to do hundreds of sit ups; because I wanted a six-pack. I thought that it made me skinny. Despite how in shape I was, and how active, there was this nagging voice at the back of my head telling me I was not skinny.
I specifically remember having a reminder set on my iPod for 8am: do not eat.
When I was 14, I still had this morbid obsession with my weight. I remember a boy younger than me from a different school used to call me thunder thighs, despite me being in shape. Six years later, it’s still a major insecurity of mine. I was often called thicker than other girls or told I had the body of a woman; which I did not take as a compliment.
When I got my first boyfriend, he would force me to eat because I was starving myself. He made me feel confident and so, I ate whatever I wanted. My parents warned me, but I simply told them “I’m going to use my metabolism while it lasts.” For the first time in my life I was confident.
It went downhill when I turned 17 and started receiving comments from my loved ones, friends, and family. They didn’t know any better. They would say small things like, “you’ve put on weight,” and “you used to be so skinny.” They didn’t know I was skinny because I was starving myself; nobody knew.
I heard rumours of what people thought of me.
“Does her boyfriend like bigger girls?”
“She used to be so much hotter”
It drove me into a vicious cycle of starving myself for two days and then binge eating for three.
I would weigh myself every morning and cry about how much I hated myself; how worthless I felt. I wore sweats and hoodies everyday because I didn’t want anybody to see my body. I avoided the beach in the summer; and I would refuse to wear a bathing suit in front of my friends and family because of the way they would look at me.
People I loved made me feel so insecure, because of the toxic culture behind body image. If you don’t look like a size six model, you’re fat. But if you are plus-sized and own it, you’re confident.
Today I’m 20 years old, with the average body type, and I still wake up in the morning to see how skinny I am. I compare myself to my friends, I avoid going shopping for jeans, and I never wear tight tops or jeans. I weigh myself in the morning only to be disappointed no matter what I look like or how confident I felt the day before. And I stare in the mirror for hours sucking in, measuring my waist, checking my jaw line, squeezing my hips.
There are so many things I want to change about myself, but I know those around me don’t love me for how I look but for who I am. I’m opiniated, a feminist, a jokester. A loving and caring friend, a strong and independent friend. There are so many other things to love about yourself.
Despite how I feel about myself, my advice to you is:
Be kind to yourself.
Dress comfortably and confidently.
True beauty is not about your looks, but who you are on the inside.