Some days I look in the mirror and I like what I see.
Other days I look in the mirror and I hate what I see.
Rarely, if ever, do I look in the mirror and love what I see.
It’s always been this way and I fear it always will be. Feeling good about my body has never been my strong suit.
I grew up overweight and self-conscious, and I’ve just kind of stayed that way ever since. Always feeling awkward and out of place. Always feeling like people are judging me for the way I look.
I wish I didn’t feel that way but I do.
The only time in my life I’ve ever actually felt remotely happy with how I looked was when I was struggling with an eating disorder. I wouldn’t eat anything. Or, I’d eat a tiny bit of food and then take laxatives to get rid of it. I went from a size 10 to a size 0/2 very quickly and in an extremely unhealthy manner.
I thought I was happy because I was finally skinny and getting noticed by men. I felt wanted and desired and like people finally thought I was attractive. But I was lying to myself. Even when I was at my smallest, I still saw so many imperfections when I looked in the mirror.
My boyfriend at the time (now my husband) saw what was happening. He helped me believe in myself and encouraged me to get healthy. But that meant eating again and possibly gaining weight. On purpose. And it was not easy.
Since we’ve been married, I’ve had two children. As you can imagine, my weight has gone up and down from pregnancy. I’ve dieted more times than I’d like to count. My weight has continued to go up and down for years. So. Many. Years.
Sometimes I get to a point where while I may not be the weight I’d like to be, I feel satisfied with where I am. But that’s usually very short-lived.
A few months ago my husband and I decided to take a new class together at our local YMCA, where we are members. It’s similar to a Cross Fit class. Within a month I started to see areas of my body looking more toned, and I was hopeful.
However, I wasn’t losing any weight. But I thought that if I could burn fat and tone my body more that maybe it wouldn’t matter that I didn’t lose weight. I could stay the same weight but have a stronger and fit looking body. Maybe I could finally let that number on the scale go. Maybe.
But then I saw my husband start to lose weight and look more trim and fit. And I still wasn’t. I was back to square one and feeling sorry for myself again. And wishing. Always wishing I could lose more weight and look better. And, even wishing it wouldn’t bother me so much.
But it’s never that easy. Not for me.
I wish I wasn’t so obsessed with the number I see on the scale. I wish I could just once look in the mirror and be completely satisfied with what I see. I wish I could really and truly love what I see.
I’m envious of women I know and see around me who exude confidence and who are so proud of who they are and what they look like. All those women who love their bodies and don’t care what anyone else thinks. I’m jealous because I don’t know how to do that. And I’m not sure I ever will.
I wish I didn’t scrutinize my appearance in the mirror every single day. I wish I didn’t step on the scale every single day and feel upset over what I see. I also wish I didn’t analyze every single piece of food that goes into my mouth. But I do. I do all of that each and every day.
Maybe you’re reading this and thinking, “This woman needs to see a counselor and get help.” Or, maybe you’re reading this and thinking, “I feel the exact same way.”
I’m not sure which you are but if you’re the latter, you can relate to all I’m saying. I wish I had encouraging words to offer to help you through. But the truth is, I’m a 39-year-old woman who is pretty much never happy with her body no matter how much she weighs. So, I’m not the best person to offer advice. After all, this is my body image confession.
But, I will say this: When you do have these days where you look in the mirror and like what you see, enjoy it. Revel in it because those are the days you need to hang onto. Remember those good moments on the bad days when you hate what you see. Even if yours and my views of our bodies never permanently change, at least we will have those few glimmering moments to enjoy.
And maybe, just maybe, even feel confident in our bodies.