I think it's important that I start off by saying that I love LA, it’s home… but like everything, it does come with its caveats, one of which being the completely toxic and unrealistic culture surrounding body image (along with traffic). I also want to say that my experiences might be very different from yours but it is my only intention to share my own struggle with body image, as it might relate to your own struggle in some capacity.
Maybe it’s because juice cleanses and keto diets are new or maybe I was just too young to notice. Growing up here, none of that significantly affected my life and way of thinking until I first entered the world of social media and soon after, high school. I can’t name a street in this city that isn’t lined with boutique workout studios and multiple overpriced vegan, dairy-free smoothie stops. Of course on the corners of every street, there are the aspiring actresses and models and sightings of insta baddies always posing. Whether or not you live in LA, pretty much everyone knows that maintaining the dream figure isn’t an aspiration for Angelinos, it's a lifestyle…
This mentality is then passed down to us teens (or ‘followers’) who make it our mission to keep up with fashion trends, get the perfect photo, and sustain a bikini-ready body for LA’s year-round single season… 12 months of summer. There was a point last year where a good 30 girls in my grade attempted this sugar-free, diary-free diet. Someone got them going on it and then a couple of months ago, a therapist came in to lecture everyone on eating disorders.
For a long time, I didn’t give in to the craziness of calorie counting or diets, but now I feel like I’ve been brainwashed into constantly criticizing myself. I try so hard to be self confident and love who I am but the second I see some insanely beautiful, perfect looking model or even a flawless girl in my grade post, I go straight to beating myself up. Something that really bothers me about my body is that my swimsuit top is the complete opposite size of my bottoms, which makes me feel like my body is super disproportionate and that makes me insecure.
Anyway, here are some things I try to do/tell myself that help:
My mindset: balance
Yes, I love dessert and junk food, I mean who doesn’t. I do have a high metabolism but for some reason, I feel like I have to be careful about what I eat nonetheless. I used to eat lunch from the school cafeteria every day in middle school, but this year I’ve been bringing a salad every day. Knowing that I eat very healthy lunches and dinners allow me to be less hard on myself when I have a yummy dessert each night or some carb-heavy snacks.
What is perfect? And for who?
I’ve been thinking about this one recently… who the heck made up the standard, the definition of ‘perfect’. What even is this standard? If working yourself up about physical appearance is just to satisfy or impress any guy/girl/other, and trust me I totally feel that, then they’re just not worth it. Don’t settle for someone who isn’t fully into you but should be solely because of your amazing personality, glowing confidence, and some curves as a bonus.
She’s not perfect.
You might think the girl with all the comments and likes is the one you want to be but she gets her heart broken, fights with her parents, has her own insecurities… she is normal and has flaws too.
Ask yourself… Why are you posting/wearing this? Does it make you happy?
Really all I’m saying is, if you’re posting a photo for someone else to see, to prove a point (do it, I would too) but only if it makes you feel confident and happy! Rock what you got, but never ever ever sell yourself short because whoever it's for… they don’t actually care about you. Sorry to be the mom but your reckless decisions will always come back to torture you.
Needed Reminder: You ARE beautiful, you DO matter, you will ALWAYS be enough, always.
You got this,