College is a period in people’s lives where bodies tend to change. Hormones are flying, residence hall food choices are limited, and for the first time for many, alcohol is affecting your body.
During freshman year of college, I met six women who quickly became my best friends. We spent every waking moment together. It wasn’t long before we were wearing each other’s clothes and sharing secrets.
All of our bodies were changing, so naturally weight and body image was a common topic of conversation.
One conversation that sticks out for me centered around how we wished we had each other’s bodies. It was weird to hear my friends, who I see as having amazing bodies, talk about their own insecurities. It broke my heart that my friends would think those things of themselves. This conversation may have not fixed our insecurities, but it showed each of us that we were not alone.
So, how are we going to start loving our bodies?
First, let’s remind ourselves that the “perfect body” does NOT exist! Everyone has a different idea of “perfect” in their head. Even so, “beauty standards” and women’s “body trends” are always changing, and it is not possible for someone to match all these societal ideals. Hip dips, stretch marks, rolls, weight fluctuation, hair and cellulite are all NORMAL. We must put an end to women’s body trends and unrealistic beauty standards, because they are objectification. Trends are for TikTok, not for women’s real and unique bodies.
Second, you are so much more than your body! You are not your weight, and your weight is not your worth. When someone asks you about your friend do you ever mention anything about their body? No! You probably talk about their amazing personality. Remember that at the end of the day, you will be remembered for your personality and the way you make people feel when they are with you.
Third, you must stop all negative talk. Your brain is your biggest enemy and critic. Once you start speaking kinder to yourself, your thought process will change, and eventually you will start to believe these things. You have one body; do not waste your life beating yourself up over it.
Fourth, start implementing healthy habits. Throughout my own journey, I have made changes to not only my mindset, but also to my social media, exercise, and food habits, along with my wardrobe choices. On social media, I only follow accounts that make me feel empowered. I set a maximum amount of screen time each day to ensure I’m using my days to their fullest potential. I started buying and wearing outfits that made me feel comfortable and confident. Exercise has looked different for me throughout my entire life. I tend to stay away from intense exercise every day because that is not sustainable for me. I usually switch between going on walks, yoga, and playing basketball. When I don’t feel like doing anything at all, I go to the mall and window shop to get my body moving. With food, I simply eat foods that make me feel good. Fad diets and super restrictive diets are not sustainable. That’s why I choose to eat what I want to enjoy each day. Personally, I’ve realized that certain foods make my stomach hurt, and so I stay away from those. Do not put pressure on yourself. Life is too short to not enjoy yummy food.
This is your body confidence journey, and it’s you that is your biggest enemy. However, you are not alone. I am going through this too. The most important thing is that you feel good and you’re treating yourself with kindness and compassion.
If you need someone to talk to, send us a message. Megan, the intern and writer of this blog post will be more than happy to have a chat.