My Struggle with Body Image: Spilling the Tea #4

First and foremost, I do my best thinking in the shower. It's 10pm and normally by this time I would honestly be fast asleep, but I didn't want to lose my thought, so here we are.

When I was on vacation several weeks ago, I did a lot of thinking about why I write this blog. I came to the conclusion that, while writing is a creative outlet for me and I enjoy playing around with social media, the bottom line is: I've felt really out of place for most of my life and I want whoever reads my blog to know that they're not alone, whether that is 2 people or 2,000. Documenting my life on social media has really allowed me to be my most authentic self and authenticity has always been my #1 value. In striving to be my 100% authentic self, I felt compelled to share something in my life that is not a sunshine-y topic worthy of a pretty @balanced_baig Instagram post and that is: my struggle with food anxiety and my relationship with food. I felt that it would be kind of fake to wait years from now to write a post about this topic and be like "oh yep I'm cured here's the story!", so I'm choosing to share my journey from the beginning.

I don't need to give my whole life story, but I would say my senior year of high school was the first time I remember feeling negatively towards food, exercise, and my body. I (full disclosure) started taking birth control and it made me super hungry all the time. I gained ~15 pounds and, as soon as I realized it, I started counting calories and just being super nuts about working out and My Fitness Pal. Now I realize that, birth control or not, everyone's body changes as they get older and I was really just coming into my body, but, at the time, no matter how few calories I ate or how much I exercised, I always looked at myself as being chubbier than I was the day before. 

As I got to college, I stopped taking the pill and started learning more about health and wellness and got super interested in it, so I was focused on just being healthy and balanced, but I still felt soooo negatively about my body. I was around all these "perfect" sorority girls that had amazing bodies on their perfectly themed Instagrams and I got really down on myself about it for a long time. With the combination of so many new things on my plate and beating myself up about my body, I began feeling super anxious all the time where I couldn't sleep and didn't want to go out and be social and felt like that until right around May of this year. I had become super obsessed with health and wellness and just figuring out how to be the best version of myself and, with that new passion, I realized I was standing in my own way and holding myself back in literally every way possible.

In June, I started seeing a therapist every week and taking an anxiety medication. I'm figuring out how to work through my anxiety and how the overwhelming feelings I have really aren't about the food I'm eating or the way my body looks. Sometimes there are good days where I feel like I'm totally fine and other days I have to just take a few minutes to turn on my Headspace app and just take some deep breaths or cry. I have days where I think I could be a Victoria's Secret model and days where I get upset because I feel like a beached whale. But honestly, what inspired me to write this post was looking at a picture from the 4th of July today. At the time, I was like "my arms look fat" and "I just look chunky", but I looked at it today and thought "why don't I look like that now??". The thought that came to me (in the shower after looking at the picture hours before) is that, for the record, I weigh the same, my clothes fit the same, NOTHING is different about me. It's ALL a mind game that I play with myself. Before taking the steps to help heal myself this summer, I never realized I was just playing mean tricks on myself.

I'm getting rambly, but like I said, this is only the beginning of my journey. This isn't a post where I'm giving you "tips" on how to stop having food anxiety or negative feelings about your body. It's okay to ask your doctor or your mom or your boyfriend for help. It's okay to take medication for whatever you're struggling with (if you're prescribed it of course). It's okay to cry because you feel so stressed out and you can't figure out why. I've done all of these things (in the last month I might add) and I just want you to know, you're not alone or weird or out of place if you feel this way too. Bad habits and thought patterns take a long time to develop and I'm learning along that way that it's not something that is fixed overnight, but that's okay too.

I've never shared this piece of my life before because I've made this image and my Instagram off of being "balanced" and "healthy", so I felt like a fraud almost because deep down I struggle too. But I guess, at the end of the day, I can try the best I can to be my healthiest self, but nobody's perfect and my social media is the best photo of my best looking food. I post to inspire you guys to be healthy and also enjoy your treats because health and nutrition truly is what I'm really interested in and passionate about, but I also love cookies and ice cream and pizza. So, in conclusion, just know: behind the Instagram photo and "thought provoking" caption, I'm also encouraging myself to be a little better and a little more balanced every day. If you made this far, thanks for listening :) Until next time...

Thanks for reading xx

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