I Reached My "Ideal Weight" and I Still Struggled with Body Image

I have so much to say on this popular subject and I have no idea how to start or end this post, so I’m just gonna start writing and I guess we’ll see what comes up! Previously, I have never felt like I was ready to talk about this, nor was I in a place comfortable enough to understand my own journey. But recently I was going through old photos and I was shocked to see how much my body has changed over the last few years. Let me start by saying, as you probably already know, I am from Colombia. It is part of my heritage to be curvy and thick. Yet, I have always felt self-conscious about my body. I felt I was too thick, and like a lot of people, I just wanted to be skinnier. I thought if I could just be thinner, then I would have a perfect body. 

Before I started doing yoga I weighed 140 lbs. As much as I enjoyed the practice, in the beginning it didn’t really change the way I treated my body or the way I ate. Within a year I lost thirty pounds and all signs of my Latin body. The rapid weight loss was due to lots of exercise (I went to yoga every day, sometimes twice a day) and a poor diet. I was broke at the time, and most of my meals consisted of turkey sandwiches with mayonnaise and cheese. Aside from being poor, I also didn’t really know how to cook (still true!). Around this same time my sister came back from Colombia with an entire suitcase full of chocolates, candy, and chips. I would have sandwiches for lunch and one or two chocolate bars for dinner. After a few months of this “diet” and intense exercise schedule, I had gotten really skinny and finally reached what I thought was my “ideal weight.”I kept the same weight for the following year. 

Obviously, I was not living a sustainable, healthy lifestyle. So for the last year or so, I have changed some of my eating habits and gained some of that weight back. Though they are still regular parts of my diet, I could no longer sustain myself on sandwiches and sweets alone. Dieting, though good for some people, has never worked for me. There are just too many yummy foods out there that just simply need to be eaten (for example: doughnuts!). Even though I have learned to accept my thicker body and today I feel sexier than ever, I still struggle with body image. I freak out when I don’t work out, even while down with the flu, and my roommate has to stop me from going to spinning classes when I barely have the energy to get out of bed. Also, I am sure a lot of people can relate to this other thing: I guilt myself for everything I eat, I tell myself I shouldn’t eat something and I give myself a lecture about it to always end up eating it anyway. The story of my life! At this point I enjoy having sweets too much to give them up, so I make sure to eat healthy meals and exercise on the regular. Through the years I have found that it is better and also more sustainable to try and find balance in our lives. Because if you can’t eat a doughnut sometimes, why live?

To fully love our bodies and feel comfortable within our own skin is serious business, and it takes the practice of a daily conscious act of love. In LA there are plenty of people who think that beauty comes when you are skinny, no matter how you got there. We all seem to have very specific ideas of what a “perfect body” should look like. From my personal perspective, I think it was hard for me to feel sexy and empowered by my proportions. And though I still struggle some days I have learned to love my body knowing that is beautiful because it is healthy and not because the scale says so.