1. Let me start out by saying I'm not medically overweight, nor have I ever been, but I'm not skin and bones either.
    I'm 50th percentile in height and 55th percentile in weight. So I'm about average.
  2. In addition, both of my parents were always vocal in telling me that I was beautiful and perfect the way I was.
    Also, the doctors always made a point of showing me my chart and pointing out that I was right on the average line for both height and weight.
  3. I always played multiple sports and spent most of my childhood romping around outdoors, but still I was never really as skinny as I wanted to be.
  4. I realized this around the age of 9.
  5. I think this says a lot about our society. An average sized 9 year old is worried that she is too fat.
    I'm looking at you, Victoria's Secret and Abercrombie & Fitch.
  6. In elementary school, I started tying shoelaces and scarves around my torso while I slept in an attempt to make myself skinnier.
    Thinking about this is simultaneously humorous and horrifying.
  7. Middle school (AKA the most awkward time to exist) only made things worse. I tried starving myself, but it never lasted very long.
    I like food. Like, a lot.
  8. From ages 14-17 I tried many, many diets and exercise regiments, but nothing had the effect that I wanted.
    Obviously my weight fluctuated a lot throughout adolescence, completely unrelated to whether or not I was dieting at the time.
  9. I looked at myself in the mirror and cried. I hated shopping for dresses and shirts because I had to look at my naked stomach.
  10. BUT GUYS this story has a happy ending. Three people helped change my opinion on my body.
  11. 1. My boyfriend
    We started dating two and a half years ago, and he tells me I'm beautiful every day. Yes, he sometimes compliments my body, but often he mentions other parts of my appearance, like my hair, my eyes, how I did my makeup, or the cool shoes I'm wearing. He's helped me to realize that my physical appearance is more than just my stomach and thighs (which he says he loves anyway, even if I don't.)
  12. 2. God
    I am beautifully and wonderfully made. God did not make a mistake when he gave me curves, and it wasn't an accident that I don't have a thigh gap. I am exactly the way He intended me to be.
  13. 3. Myself
    I matured. I realized that I don't need to weigh less to look good. And even if I could ever get my weight down to a number I am satisfied with, it would be miserable to constantly be paranoid about what I'm eating and if I'm gaining weight.
  14. Today, I am proud to be able look at myself in a mirror (without a flat stomach or little thighs) and actually LIKE what I see. It is a very freeing feeling.
  15. I hope and pray the same for all of you wonderful people, too!