By Nathalie Pye
Weight is a very sensitive issue for a lot of people. And as much as I try to believe that my appearance isn’t everything, and that I’m not influenced by the media, I am.
Last week I was getting ready to go to a show at my old high school, and no matter what I wore I absolutely hated myself. No amount of makeup or covering up could hide the fact that my thighs were too fat, my hips too wide and my stomach too big. It also didn’t help that I had to go shopping earlier and I didn’t think that anything looked good on me.
On my way to the show that night, here’s what was going through my head: I’m going to my high school and going to see people I haven’t seen in five years. Will they notice? Will they care? Does that say something bad about me? Why do I care so much? My. Size. Doesn’t. Mean. Anything.
This doesn’t happen all the time – most of the time I’m pretty okay with how I look, but when it hits me, it hits me hard.
I probably have gained weight since graduating high school five years ago. I used to be pretty thin and now I’m not. Which is fine. I’m still in relatively good health and I’m definitely not overweight. In high school, I danced almost everyday and regardless of how much you consider that a workout, it was at least some physical activity. Now that I’m living on my own and going back to school, my stress levels are way higher than they’ve ever been, and that’s not helping with the weight situation. It’s hard to find time to exercise and eat right when you’re starting a bunch of new things.
I try to be a critical media consumer and not be easily influenced by the images I see. But it is hard when there’s a misrepresentation in body type. Although you know different shapes and sizes exist, you start to think that yours isn’t desirable because you never see it.
And although people’s opinions shouldn’t matter, we’re still taught that they do. You have to dress a certain way for job interviews and social events and there’s a heavy focus on first impressions.
I started to get over this by slowly incorporating healthier foods into my diet and doing a little bit of exercise. It’s amazing how much physical activity can improve your mood. I downloaded a yoga app on my phone and I’ve been trying to do a class everyday. Power body poses are also a great way to improve your mood. And if you don’t believe it, fake it until you do.
Coincidentally enough, a few days later, one of my teachers had a class on motivation and gave us 10 ways to improve your self-concept so I’m going to share them with you:
- See yourself as a success.
- Spend time with positive people.
- Eat right.
- Break a task down into smaller steps.
- Get enough sleep.
- Reward your successes.
- Practice positive self-talk.
- Do something nice for someone else.
- Learn something new.
So if you’re having a bad day, and you don’t like the way you look, you’re not alone. Everything takes time so don’t be discouraged if you don’t see results right away, and remember, it’s okay to have a bad day every now and then.
Nathalie Pye is currently studying event planning at George Brown. When not studying, working or running off to a foreign country she likes to read, spend time with her friends, and sit on the internet for longer than she should. Nathalie has suffered from anxiety and depression and has recently become interested in feminism. You can find more of her writing at nattypye.wordpress.com.