Category Archives: Self-image & Self-esteem

On Loving Your Body

Yesterday I went shopping (which I usually do once in a year) and bought three colourful floral blouses and a nice pair of blue skinny denims. I picked them with the same sizes I used to wear last year. When I went home and tried them on, nothing was fitting. Yes, not a single item out of the four was my size! I gained weight, that I know. But I guess I was in denial.

I gained about 5 kilos (11 lbs) since last year. It was a slow and subtle process. I would gain a kilo and notice it, then I’d quickly lose it again. I was in control of my weight until four months ago. During that period there was a gradual weight gain and no effort for losing it. Although most people didn’t seem to notice the change in my weight, it showed in clothes size.

I was pretty upset yesterday after trying the clothes on, I even cried. But after the feelings of sadness, anger, and disappointment faded away, I was happy to learn that these emotions weren’t out of hate towards my body. I was rather angry at myself that I don’t take care of my body and my health the way I used to. I was disappointed that I let myself go back to the old unhealthy habits. But, I didn’t feel like I hate my body although it’s not as thin as it used to be.

That’s the kind of mentality that I was trying to develop in my weight loss journey. Our bodies aren’t our enemies, they are ours. We have to stop bashing our bodies in front of the mirror. We have to love them and nourish them in order to become healthy and happy.

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Smile

Last week I went to the orthodontist to remove my braces.  After almost four years, I am finally not a metal mouth. Now I can smile and laugh with confidence without covering my teeth with my hands (yes, I used to do that).

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I was 9 years old when my permanent teeth set was complete. I have a small jaw and that’s why my teeth were overcrowded. When I used to smile in photos and then see my crooked teeth I’d become so self-conscious about it. When I was 11 I stopped smiling in all my photos. I went to the orthodontist when I was 17 to get my braces. It took almost four years to be finished. It was a long painful process. I am lucky my orthodontists were great friendly people.

After I got my braces I still wouldn’t show my teeth in photos. After eleven years of hiding my smile I am finally able to smile to the camera. To be honest, I am still trying to get used to it; I find it hard to smile a full smile when my photo is being taken.

I am not writing this post to show off or anything. I just want to say that I regret not smiling confidently for ten years just because my teeth were crooked or because I had a metal device inside my mouth. Who cares if your teeth aren’t as perfect as Hollywood celebrities’?? You’re not hurting anyone if you smiled with a set of imperfect teeth. Be confident and show the world your smile. It doesn’t matter if your teeth are overcrowded, gapped, or you have and under bite.  All that matters is you smile, because your smile is always beautiful.

Stay Away From Dorian Gray

My favorite book is Oscar Wilde’s novel The Picture of Dorian Gray (I highly recommend this book). You might’ve heard about this character before or even seen the latest movie adaptation starring Ben Barnes and Colin Firth. Basically, this Gothic Fiction book narrates the story of a young man, named Dorian Gray, who was blessed with striking good looks. An artist, Basil Hallward, was fascinated with his beauty and decided to draw a portrait of him, and this is how it all started. Lord Henry Wotton, a friend of Basil, had a talk with Dorian about youth and beauty right before he saw his portrait. This talk definitely corrupted Dorian to some degree so that when he saw his graceful painted face he said:

“How sad it is! I shall grow old, and horrible, and dreadful. But this picture will remain always young. It will never be older than this particular day of June. . . . If it were only the other way! If it were I who was to be always young, and the picture that was to grow old! For that — for that — I would give everything! Yes, there is nothing in the whole world I would not give! I would give my soul for that!”

And yes, Mr. Gray’s wish came true. He continued to be young and handsome while the painting became old and hideous with his sinful deeds. Without going into further details, I just want to take Dorian Gray as an example of a person who was a victim of vanity. He thought of superficial beauty as the most important thing in a human being (thanks to Lord Henry of course!). So what I want to discuss is the outer and inner beauty and how we perceive each.

You can’t help but be overwhelmed by the amount of emphasis on outer beauty in the media and among your friends and people you know. They seem to concentrate too much on this and forget that what really defines us is who we are from the inside rather than how we look on the outside. The truth is your looks are something out of your control; it’s the way you were created. On the other hand, your personality is how you choose it to be. I am not saying that you should throw your mirror from the window and forget your grooming routine. No, I am saying that you should pay more attention to your personality, attitude, and values.

People were created different. You are beautiful on your own way. And as they say “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder”. There are no fixed beauty standards. Only society and media wants you to believe that. That’s pretty shallow, don’t you agree? The only reason why you should go out everyday wearing nice clothes, with a decent haircut, and looking great is to feel good about yourself. It doesn’t matter what look you choose, just be yourself. Being yourself isn’t just about the outside, but also, and more importantly, about the inside. As human beings, we should aim to become better people. We should try to find different ways to become a better version of ourselves. This could be in the form of helping others, being a good listener, participating in community work…etc.

I’d like to give you a tip for developing your character in a constructive way. It’s simple: identify your positive qualities and feed them, detect your negative traits and suppress them. I bet you’ll find that you have a lot of fine traits which will make you motivated to change the bad ones. This way you can become a better person without the harsh negative self-criticism. The key is to know that you are special in your own way. You just have to find what you are good at and enhance it. As for the things you don’t like about yourself, you need to find a way to turn it into something positive.

Trust me, taking care of your inner beauty will be rewarding. People will respect you and see the true you. You will feel good about yourself because people will like you for who you really are. When you achieve that, you will stand out between others. When you have a pure heart and good intentions it does show on the outside. Finally, always remember that “True beauty is not outer appearance, it’s located in the heart and soul, reflected in one’s eyes.”

Why I Am NOT Against Fat Acceptance

I know you are probably thinking “She talks about being healthy, she said that she lost weight, she wrote about how wonderful it is to be fit, and now she says she’s with the Fat Acceptance Movement?”

Why not?

At the beginning I was surprised that such a movement exists and was against the whole thing. Still, I decided to learn more about it and understand the reasons behind why people would support and accept being overweight or obese.

First, I want to give you my earlier point of view. I was obese as I mentioned before in my posts and I hated it. All I could think of was that ‘fat’ equals ‘bad’, and by bad I mean everything in your life. I thought that everyone who’s fat is miserable. When I started to change my lifestyle I also, gradually, started to become judgmental of fat people. I’d say to myself “these people are lazy” “why don’t they get up and exercise” “I lost weight, they can do it too, there’s no excuse!”. But the truth is, there are many reasons why someone can become overweight/obese. Maybe it’s a thyroid issue, or they’re on a medication that causes weight gain, or they have faced an emotional trauma and are using food as comfort…etc. It’s not just about laziness, it’s much deeper than that. We don’t know the stories of the people we meet whether they’re strangers or friends. It’s mean and shallow to think that just because this person is fat he or she is a slob.

So what made me change my mind? I watched videos and debates about fat acceptance. I also read many blog posts about the matter. The point was to hear the opinions of the people who support the movement. I am lucky to be short with small body frame, which made me only look just overweight when in fact I was obese. Because of that half of the problems that fat people face weren’t in my everyday life. I wasn’t aware of how they really feel so I had to listen to their stories. Overweight/obese people go through a lot. Being fat is hard in many ways. Think about it, having to walk everyday in the streets knowing that people will be staring, going shopping with your much lighter friends, buying two seats in a plane because you can’t fit into one, and many other things. These people are brave to go through all this every day. But why do they have to? Why can’t we just treat them like everyone else? Acceptance is all what these people need, it’s all what this is about.

Some people might say “It’s unhealthy! You’re promoting obesity!”. Well, all what I want to promote is equality. I know that being overweight/obese can cause many diseases and health problems, but if they’re really concerned about “health” then why are they just picking on fat people when thin people can have eating disorders too? This is not about health as some might claim, this is about some image formed by the media and shoved down society’s throat. They’re only concerned about how they look. If you’re fat, you’re unhealthy. But if you’re thin, that automatically makes you a healthy person regardless of your diet and lifestyle. I’ve seen plenty of skinny people who eat crap everyday and don’t move at all. I’ve also seen fat people who take care of their bodies. If you really care about people’s health then you better start bashing skinny people about their anorexia as you do with obese people about their overeating! We should not judge others based on their weight, whether they’re skinny or fat.

What I want to say is that we have to accept people the way they are. Fat shaming is a form of discrimination. The only difference is that it is an ok-kind of discrimination. Besides, it does not help spreading health awareness, it only spreads hate. We should stop it. Fat, skinny, curvy, built, slim..etc are all human at the end.