It's taken a lot of time and obsessing for me to really accept the way I look. Body image has always been something that consumed my thoughts even from a very young age. I have always enjoyed life, and food has been a big part of that. I love eating... who doesn't? But, growing up, I remember wondering why I looked the way I did and others (girls specifically) looked so different.
I've always been athletic and I started playing soccer early in life. The muscles in my thighs developed very quickly and I found myself becoming more and more self conscious of them. I have always had to get a bigger pant size in my waist, simply to accommodate my legs. I would then obsess over the actual size on the label and turned jean shopping into a nightmare experience (sorry, Mum).
As I got older and understood what dieting really was, I tried them all. I dieted to change my appearance, I dieted to get "healthy" and I dieted to ensure I was the best athlete I could be. I put "healthy" in quotations because at the time, even up until a few years ago- I really didn't know what "healthy" was.
I used to associate "health" with the number on the scale. "How do I weigh this much? I must not be healthy."....NO, NO, NO.
I finally realized that WEIGHT IS JUST A NUMBER and labels on clothes are ALSO JUST NUMBERS. They mean absolutely nothing....
Exception: If you are fighting in a boxing match and your weight needs to be within 10 pounds of your opponent's, the number kind of matters. I didn't know that this was as strict a rule as it really is... if we don't meet this requirement, it's simple- we don't fight.
Most members of the fight team have lost weight from their initial weigh-in 6 months ago but I have gained weight. Our weight is too close for comfort and it's my job to lose a few pounds to ensure we're as equal as possible. I'm not going to lie, the thought of this really scared me at first. I hate the emphasis of the number on the scale in this situation because even though I have gained weight, I have never felt stronger or healthier in my life. It is definitely not easy to limit what I am eating, especially with the amount I am training. I constantly require fuel, but with the right foods, I find I am completely satisfied! The more I workout, the more I also fear that I might be gaining more muscle and upping my weight on the scale but I can't focus too much on that. I am eating as healthy as possible and doing all that I can do.
I love the way my body looks right now and despite growing up thinking my legs were ugly and big, I fully embrace them and have never been more proud to have a "voluptuous" lower half! My legs are STRONG and they're providing me with balance and stability and I should also thank them for getting me where I need to be, every second of my life.
My body is exactly the way it is because that is how I was created. I no longer want to change a single thing about myself! I don't know if it's age or boxing that brought me to this epiphany but whatever it was, I wish I had this knowledge and love for myself as far back as I can remember.
I am healthy and strong and beautiful and SO ARE YOU. Believe that. Confidence is the prettiest accessory you can wear.