I have around 70 progress pictures of my body from 2018 till now on my phone.
So everything I'm about to say in this blog is equally for me as well as for you.
Do you remember the first time you became conscious of your body?
I was around 9 years old when I started taking my baby brother's jokes about my weight seriously and there was one night my grandma passively said: "When a person is big, their belly has 3 rolls." or something along those lines. Around the same time, my best friend at school was getting attention from older guys & bus drivers wouldn't believe she was just in primary school all because she was a little tall and her boobs had come in early.
My thing became my belly. I actively avoided tight tops as much as I possibly could. I opted for a bigger blazer in secondary school. And I envied the girls with flat stomachs. I started skipping breakfast and it made me feel good when I could survive till lunch without eating anything because that was how I was working towards getting a flatter stomach.
You can say my obsession with my belly was crazy but everything around me affirmed it. Tv Ads for healthy products always had models with the smallest waist and hard abs. The music videos only had girls in crop tops with washboard abs and when I complained about my weight, adults would tell me it’s just ‘baby fat’ that will go soon. I watched Tv shows about models that always had women with flat stomachs.
Whether you fit the ‘ideal’ body type or your body is different from society’s norm; you shouldn’t feel shame for the insecurities that you have.
Everything was subconsciously telling me that the beautiful people looked a certain way and I would automatically compare myself to what I saw to see how beautiful I was.
It’s only in the last 5 years or so, that it’s not as shocking to see different looks, skin tones, ethnicities, body shapes and sizes on billboards, Tv ads, campaigns etc.
And I hope things continue to move in that direction because if not, girls (and boys) are going to keep on being reminded (explicitly and inexplicitly) that there’s something about them that needs changing. That how you were born and your natural body composition isn’t good enough. More and more of us will struggle to accept ourselves and accept others. We’ll lose many years worrying about how we looked or weighed and miss out from wearing crop tops, tight jeans, short skirts or a figure-hugging dress😂 But more seriously, mental health problems like Depression, Anxiety disorder, Body Dysmorphic disorder and more may become more common and make it harder for us to live our lives.
Being body conscious is so normal, especially as a girl because our bodies are ALWAYS CHANGING. Even after puberty does a number, our bodies change with our cycles too. And on sites like Instagram, we like to post the best versions of ourselves and there is nothing wrong with that. We just forget that sometimes our favourite version of ourselves or of the people we follow isn’t them all the time either so we can’t expect or work towards that because, in a lot of cases, that’s unrealistic.
If you a moment watch this video just to see how our bodies perform magic tricks
It’s important that our goals are healthy and the process to attaining those goals is not a detriment to your health. I have a friend who LOVES Magnum ice cream. As in, has them every week. But her weight & diet wasn’t healthy so she started her weight loss journey saying she doesn’t care about how long it’ll take her but she is still going to enjoy that Magnum ice cream! And she did. She still exercised daily, ate healthier and enjoyed her magnum ice cream.
Our bodies change all the time and will continue to. Sometimes we have health issues that make it hard for us to control those changes so I want you to enjoy your body for where it is now. I look back at my progress pics and wonder why I was so conscious of the body especially when I was closer to my goal then than I am now. If I knew, I would've worn more crop tops and wouldn't have skipped meals.
But it's hard to just ignore my insecurities about my body
I agree. And I can't say I've always got it mastered but what I do whenever I feel like I’m too body-conscious; I throw away (or just hide) my weighing scales, avoid staring in the mirror in the morning/after I've eaten & follow more people on Instagram with my body composition or people who encourage body positivity.
Last week, we had Dr Adanna, a specialist doctor on female health, on our Instagram and here are just a few important points she made in the Live that I thought would be good to share:
The Vagina is self-cleaning - meaning products that say they're for cleaning that area is not necessary.
Your vagina being too clean risks you getting an infection, more than your vagina being 'dirty' (too clean = using soaps/products excessively / too much water when you wash your vagina)
It is not bad for you to have hair on your vagina
Irregular periods are really normal for the first few years when you start your period
If you're ever worried about your period cycle or your health you can book with your GP for free and you don't need to have your parent/carer there with you
So much more was said on the Live so check it out on our Instagram @animayouth