06.01.12 Beauty

On Body Image

On Body Image

BY Sharde Hunter

Years ago, I used to think I was fat, obese even. Every night, I would take five One-A-Day Weight Smart pills, do over one thousand crunches and look at myself in the mirror with disgust. “My butt is too big”, “my thighs are huge” and “does my stomach seriously poke that far out?!” were all thoughts I was experiencing on a daily basis. In reality, I was weighing in at 115 lbs, a healthy proportional weight for a 15 year old with a height of 5″5.

After realizing that I had been starving myself to turn into a cold, weight-obsessed monster, I took a serious look at myself in the mirror for the first time in six months. Standing there, naked, I wasn’t fat. My thighs weren’t all that large, my ass really wasn’t colossal and I damn near had a six pack. What the hell had I been thinking, much the less, seeing? Having been perpetually hungry for months, from that moment on I began to eat like a normal human being again.

While I had an epiphany on the self-image front, I still hadn’t figured out why I ever began to think I was so thick, fat and unattractive. As women, we tend to see the Victoria’s Secret models, stick-thin girls and immediately think that “they’re so skinny”, or “why don’t I have a sexy body like that?”. Struggling with body image in this day and age is absolutely normal, whether you’re fifteen or forty, it permeates our brains in some way or another. Honestly, how many of us have flipped through Vogue and secretly thought that we didn’t possess the same qualities as the models inside of those pages? How many times have you seen something cute or sexy at the mall, but denied even trying it on because you fear you would “look fat in something that form fitting”?

Researching why this issue was so prevalent in women of all ages was no easy feat, I had to find women of all kinds and pose the question, “Why are we so insecure with our bodies?” Obviously, at 15 I didn’t travel the world and ask people of all nations this question. Instead, I took a small sample of girls from my school, women from my parent’s church and of course, my mom. After speaking to many females, the common consensus was simply “society”, and that we are told from young ages that “ugly=fat”. When brought about in a group of women, it was comforting to most that there were body issues across the board, and that we weren’t alone in feeling this way. A solution to this common challenge was in order.

Weeks later, I was out shopping with a fashionable friend and she made me try on things I didn’t even like, but were for my type of figure. There it was: a profound realization that all I needed to feel more confident about my outward appearance was to dress for my body type. Finally, an “aha” moment. This basically sent me into a wonderful whirlwind of finding fantastic clothing to compliment my silhouette. All this time was I just dressing so poorly that my waist was never accentuated? Everything finally made some sort of sense. Curvy or tall, skinny and small, there is a way to dress for each and every body type to maximize the fantastic features and minimize the abashed.

Six years later, I still sometimes struggle with body image, knowing that my body weight is a little over what it should be, that I could still lose a couple pounds. However, I still know what can tame the insecure beast – dressing for my body type makes all the difference in the world. Changing what you wear to something that is made for your specific body type can immediately make you look thinner, curvier if wanted, and give you an instant attitude adjustment.

After learning to dress for your silhouette, the battle isn’t over. There is yet another conquest, one for your own personal style. While gaining knowledge on fitting your body type with clothing may be difficult for some, this is sure to be another challenge. For me, it took years upon years to develop what is now my personal style. One day the outfit could be perky professional, sexy sultry or laid-back and lazy. The one thing that I can count on though, is that whatever I will wear will make me feel good – and that is what’s most important!

In the end, your body and attitude towards it is what you make it! While you can buy all the expensive clothes in the stores or travel the world for a few pairs of jeans, nothing can make you feel good if it doesn’t fit you in a complimentary way. Feeling confident in your clothing is a necessity for having great self-image. Self-image and self-worth are created by having a great feeling when you wear your outfits into the world and feel happy doing it.

Featured Image via Will-travel on Flickr

Sharde Hunter is a Texas native living in the Bay Area of California with her sweet boyfriend, Brandon. At the youthful age of 21, she is a skilled hairstylist and a style blogger at TheStyleProjects.com.

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