Life coach, body acceptance advocate, feminist, writer.
I chose this photo because it was one of the final moments I felt worthy in my body. I look happy and carefree, unaware of the looming long-term battle with negative body image and an eating disorder. Puberty wasn’t unkind to me, but it brought with it some fairly noticeable changes to my body. My hips grew wider, my breasts started to develop and my butt and thighs got a bit bigger. Like many other teenagers, I was a little self-conscious of these changes but it wasn’t until the bullying started and then the entire relationship with my body changed.
My body became the topic of choice for some of the boys in my year level who very creatively gave me the nickname ‘Thunder Thighs’. This name-calling, along with society’s expectations of the ideal female body, played a huge part in the way I felt about myself for a long time. Being bullied about my appearance was the start of my belief that bodies had to look a certain way to be accepted. From that moment, I truly believed that my worthiness was based on my weight and I constantly felt the pressure to look a certain way. For many years after, I engaged in disordered eating habits and countless failed diets – it was a vicious cycle and only continued to negatively affect my body image. Reflecting back on that time is hard for me. To go back and see how much time and energy I wasted on trying to achieve the “perfect” body for external validation is heartbreaking. The moment I stopped seeking the approval of others was the moment I started to feel at peace within my body. Today and every day, my worth is no longer defined by what the numbers on the scale say.