10 years ago, I was at the height of my disordered eating. I was always seen as “the skinny one”. When I gained a little weight in 11 th grade, it didn’t go unnoticed. I felt like I had disappointed everyone. I had to lose weight. I cut back on eating and started working out. I lost all the weight that I gained and people stopped commenting about my weight. By then, I was obsessed with the
results. I had to keep going. I started eating less and less until eventually, I was eating about 900 calories a day. I counted every single calorie that I consumed. I ate the same thing every day because those were my “safe” foods. I binged all the time and would run excessively to counteract the calories that I consumed. It got worse when I went to college. My lowest moment was when I broke down in the dining hall because I didn’t know how many calories were in a vegetable dish. I hated myself. I hated that I couldn’t just sit down and eat like my friends could.
I hated that I wasn’t allowed to have a cookie without going to the gym to work it off. I hated my body. I avoided mirrors. I couldn’t even look at myself without seeing my imperfections. I hated everything. I wasn’t happy. I was miserable.
Fast forward to the present. I wouldn’t say that I’ve fully recovered. I will say that I’m living a more balanced life. I don’t count calories anymore. I try to make healthy choices as much as I can and allow myself a treat once in a while. I still workout but instead of doing just cardio, I lift weights, do Pop Pilates, and yoga. Slowly, I’m getting my life back. There’s still one thing that I am working on that is taking more time than I thought it would. I’m still learning how to love myself. This isn’t coming easy. In fact, it’s hard work. Slowly, very slowly, I’m learning. It’s a
process. It takes time. I’ve found some helpful tips along the way.
1. Finding Inspiration
I will admit that it was hard to start my self-love journey. In fact, I felt ridiculous
for even starting it. I’ve hated myself for so long, I couldn’t even fathom liking
myself, let alone loving myself. Then, BTS came out with their Love Yourself
concept. Their album is about finding yourself through self-love. It’s been repeat
for months. But it wasn’t until I saw them in concert that I truly began my
journey. I was touched by their performance and realized that we, the fans, the
ARMY, helped paved the way for the members to love themselves. I want them to
be the ones to pave the way for me as well.
2. Following Inspiration
a. When I first started my Instagram, I followed accounts that posted pictures of
tiny, thin girls. I used to scroll through my feed and think to myself about how
much I wanted to look like them. I found myself in the vicious cycle of self-
hatred. Recently, I did a massive unfollowing of these types of accounts. My feed
is now filled with girls on their own self-love journeys. To me, it’s inspiring to
know I’m not alone on my journey.
3. Focusing on How Your Workouts Make You Feel, Not How They Make You Look
Most days, I feel as though I’m no longer tied down by my workouts. I find solace
in working out. I love the way working out makes me feel, both physically and
mentally. Once I stopped focusing on the vanity side of working out, I truly began
to enjoy exercising.
4. Reminding Yourself That You Are Worthy of Self-Love
For me, the hardest part of my self-love journey is thinking about myself in a
positive way. My brain has been hardwired to point out my imperfections.
Thinking positively has been a challenge. I have to remind myself that self-love is
possible. I do this by wearing self-love jewelry every day. I have a necklace and
bracelet that are engraved with self-love messages. Every morning, I read them to myself. I also have a vision board. I placed my vision board on my dresser mirror and look at it in the morning and before I go to sleep.
Learning to love yourself is a long and tiring journey. Some days, I feel like it’s easier to put myself down than it is to find one positive thing about myself. Even though it’s hard, it’s a journey that has changed me life. As I continue on this journey, I hope that I can truly find myself.