I suck in, flex my abs, and envision myself with a “perfect” body.
Hey there, I'm Beth. I run, lift, and own more workout tops than I can count. I nourish my body with superfoods and make a conscious effort to work out at least five times a week.
In the middle of my sprint workout at the track I'll glance down at my pink Polar heart rate monitor, watching the calorie burn number increase which pushes me to make it to that "magic" 500 mark that I always set for myself. The beads of sweat that drip down my face may burn, but I keep pushing.
"Ugh just come to the beach, you can miss ONE day at the gym," my friends tell me. "Want to get ice cream?" they'll ask. No. No, I can't. I can't go to the beach, I can't get ice cream. Why? Because I don't like my body.
Perfection. Society has engraved into our minds an image of a "perfect woman" being someone with a size 0 waistline and a flawless face.
I, on the other hand, I have always struggled with my body image. I was never the "skinny" one. Always just average.
I was never blessed with the convenience of a fast metabolism, so eating whatever I wanted was never an option if I didn't want to pack on the pounds. I've spent my life comparing my body to others, wishing that one day I'll wake up and be that "perfect woman." I want to be happy with the way I look, and I want to be able to be naked in front of a mirror and think, "Damn, you're hot." But, I don't.
I am the girl who weighs herself multiple times a week, hoping for a pound to shed off the scale. I've cried when I look in the mirror, unhappy with the way I look despite the conscious effort I put into a healthy lifestyle.
People tell us that beauty comes in all different shapes and sizes but sometimes it's hard to think in that mindset when you're constantly striving for a goal that seems so out of reach.
When I look the mirror, sometimes I see a monster. It's like every insecurity that I have about my body is circled in red Sharpie. I suck in, flex my abs, and envision myself with a “perfect” body. I then wonder why I don't have that body.
"Was it the margarita I had last week? Or maybe it was the piece of pizza I had two days ago." I promise myself I will be skinny someday. I promise myself I will be "perfect."
Body image has always been an issue for me. I wish I could somehow pack the insecurity in a box and never face it again. I wish I could just unfollow all of the fitness Instagram accounts. I wish I could just understand that most often those bodies are unattainable for those who don't dedicate their entire lives to fitness.
It's not every day. There are good and bad days, definitely more good than bad. The bad days usually come after a night of drunk eating or just a day when I feel gross. I lift my shirt up in the mirror angling my body and stomach in a way to make me look thinner, in a way to make me relax and remind myself that I look just fine the way I am. It's an insecurity that I don't like admitting, but does anyone like to admit it?
Confidence is sexy, insecurities aren't. It's these insecurities that lead people to go to extreme measures in order to feel satisfied — counting calories, crash diets, or just not eating at all. We send our bodies into exhaustion mode. Spending countless hours at the gym and eating the bare minimum, wondering why we aren't happy yet. It's messed up.
I'm not writing this for pity. I'm not looking for people to comment and say, "You look great!" That's not the point. The point is to remind myself and hopefully others that I'm not alone. I am a 22-year-old girl who attempts to live a life of happiness, but I still have my flaws. I don't like being so obsessed with how I look, but it just happens.
I know I don't speak for all girls. I know there are plenty of young women out there who are perfect in the skin they're in, and those are the type of women I strive to be like someday. I wish I didn't obsess over it; it's probably my biggest flaw. I wish I didn't hate myself for eating a cheeseburger every once in awhile, and I wish I wasn't constantly comparing myself to other girls.
But for all the girls who can relate to this post in some type of way, I offer you this advice: There is no such thing as perfection. Perfection is perceived differently depending on who you talk to, so using that word to define your life is just a waste of time.
As for beauty? You are beautiful. Beauty is happiness. Beauty is confidence. Beauty is your ability to make other people laugh. Beauty is what motivates you to get up every day and live your life. Beauty is from the inside out, not from the outside in.
We all struggle with our body image at some point in our lives. It's inevitable. We're our own worst critics and we let it get the best of us. Just don't let it define you. Because when you let it define you, you let it take over your life.
Be happy with what DO have and maybe, just maybe, you'll be able to look in the mirror tomorrow and say to yourself, "Damn, I am hot." Because you are.
Originally published on Unwritten, the number one lifestyle destination for millennial women.
This article was originally published at Read Unwritten. Reprinted with permission from the author.