Body Image Series: Part 2



This was a topic that a lot of people really felt they connected with. It is so important that I had to enlist the help of someone else to continue this series! This weeks guest writer is someone very special to me. We met 9 years ago when I was in my second year at VCU. We didn't know each other at all, but decided to become roommates! Thank god she was (mostly) normal! hehe, just kidding, love her dearly. I used to watch her get up every morning and go to the gym, sometimes twice a day. She was very smart about what she would eat and stuck to a plan. I really admired her. One day she had a very real conversation with me where she talked about how she had been struggling with her body image and her size for a long time. She felt like her size determined whether she was pretty because people would say stupid and insensitive shit. Getting to know Katie and watching her grow over the years has been an honor for me. I have watched this girl go from struggling with her body image and in a toxic relationship to getting engaged to the love of her life, and then having a miscarriage and learning to navigate that pain AND love her body all over again. She allowed me to ask her personal questions in hopes the bring awareness and help all women love themselves completely. So here is my conversation about learning to love yourself with Katie! (find her on instagram here)



1. Explain your relationship with your body and how its evolved over the years

My relationship with my body has been a struggle my whole life. The first time I ever remember being aware of my weight was when I was 8 years old. At the time, all my friends were thinner than me and we were playing “models”. I remember saying “Well, I can be a plus size model!” For the next 15 years, I spent every single day worrying about food, what I ate, what I weighed, etc. I have been on countless diets, had multiple personal trainers, and have signed up for every weight loss app you can think of. It wasn’t until this past August that I felt so overwhelmed and exhausted by these thoughts, the apps, the diets. I was just over it. When I stopped worrying about those things, started listening to my body- I started a new journey of embracing and loving my body for what it was in the moment. I started eating foods I actually like. I started wearing clothes that showed off my body. I started to not be afraid to try new things. Once I stopped hating my body, I felt like i was able to start loving the world around me.


2. Do you have any rituals, or routines, that you follow when you’re having a day when you are struggling with your body?

I would say the main thing I try to do when I am struggling with my body image is just let myself feel whatever emotion I may be feeling in that moment. It’s ok to have days where you don’t feel the best. It’s ok to have days where you just don’t like what you see. But how you respond to those feelings are important. Allow yourself to feel it, but be kind to yourself. Say kind things about yourself and try your best to move forward with the day. Your body doesn’t define who you are. The inside is what defines you.


3. Do you think the media plays a huge part in women's self esteem?

YES. Absolutely. It’s so hard not to look at these women in media and think “Why can’t I look like that?” It used to mess with my head so much. As I’ve gotten older though, I’ve learned majority of these women have these same feelings of insecurities. They want the “perfect” face, and the “perfect” body. The only difference is they can pay trainers, nutritionists, private chefs. They can get plastic surgery if they don’t like something or want to change apart of them that makes them self conscious. At the end of the day, we ALL are human and ALL have insecurities. It doesn’t make it any less hard to deal with, but I just remind myself I am not alone in any insecurities that I might have.


4. What do you think the meaning of a healthy body image is?

I think the meaning of a healthy body image is unconditionally loving yourself. Loving your body even on days that are hard. It’s not always easy, but I try to remember that this body keeps me alive and safe and I am grateful for that.


5. How do you think your journey with your body image has shaped who you are today?

I felt like “losing weight” was my identity. I have spent 15 years thinking about my weight every single day. But, one day I started thinking about this- what will I be thinking about on my death bed? Will I look back and say “Wow, I wish I was skinner when I was 25.” Probably not. But will I look back and smile at all of the experiences I’ve had and about the people I’ve loved? Absolutely. That is what is important to me at the end of the day. The moment I stopped caring about what my body looked like, is when I felt free and when I finally started living my life.


6. What advice do you have for young women who are struggling with their own body image?

Talk to yourself kindly. Give yourself grace. Try not to compare yourself to the next person because I can guarantee they are looking at you wishing they have something that you have.


7. Do you believe in diets? If so, why; if not, why not?

I think for myself personally, diets contributed to my binge eating disorder. It would cause me to restrict all day and by the end of the night, I would eat everything in sight to the point of almost getting sick. It was a miserable feeling. It caused me to have a very unhealthy relationship with food. I do think for some circumstances diets work for people, and that’s ok. But it just doesn’t work for me. The restriction doesn’t work for me. Now I try to practice intuitive eating where I do not restrict any food and I listen to my body and what it wants/needs.


8. If your body could talk, what do you think it would say to you?

I think my body would say…

“I’ve carried you through so much in your life. Wonderful experiences and laughter, Heartbreak and death- you are still here and happy and thriving. You are alive and breathing. I have kept you safe and healthy. I love you so much.”


9. Since your recent miscarriage, have you noticed any difference in your body and your honest thoughts about it?

During the two months that I was pregnant and then after my miscarriage, I gained about 15 lbs. The weight gain wasn’t that much of a big of deal at the time. I didn’t notice many changes with my body, except with my breasts. They became very full and heavy while being pregnant, and because of that, now they don’t sit the same they used to. Their shape has changed and they sag more than they did before. It bothered me at first, but now I’ve just accepted it. It’s hard to see changes within your body after a miscarriage because you feel like you have nothing to show for those changes. You baby is gone. But like I said, this body got me through one of the hardest things I’ve ever experienced and I am so grateful for that.


10. How do you work through feeling like your body betrayed you?

So at first, I remember saying this to myself. I felt so mad at my body for not being able to carry my own child. It was a sense of betrayal. After some therapy and reflection, I’ve learned that sometimes this just happens and it’s not my fault. Still hard to understand and process, but I try to remind myself there isn’t really much I could have done to prevent it from happening.



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