When I was approaching my high school graduation, there were many things I was worried about: friendships, independence, future plans, you name it. But one of the things that I was most worried about was the daunting “freshmen fifteen.” I had heard about it, I had witnessed it, and I was totally terrified of it.
Have you ever been hanging out with friends, scrolling through social media feeds, and someone says something like, “OMG so and so has gained so much weight!” or “Woah, so and so used to be so attractive, what happened?” These conversations haunted me.
My mind would spiral into dialogue like, “will my friends still think I’m pretty if I gain weight? Will people talk about me like that? No no no, not me. I cannot gain weight. I do not want to be ‘that’ person.”
I was so afraid of gaining weight that I swore to myself that I would never be “that” person. However, the reality was that my freshmen year of college was not easy. I struggled with anxiety, loneliness, balancing a new schedule, and guess what? I gained weight.
I’m not going to lie, it was hard at first. I felt like a failure. It took me time to adjust to a new body type and to deal with some deep, deep insecurities I had. But at the end of the day, I was still the same Sydney. I was just a version of Sydney that no longer fit into a size 4. I learned that my weight does not define me. My ability to squeeze into beauty standards does not give me value. My worth did not come from my lack of stretch marks and cellulite. And the same goes for you.
You look great and you will still look great if you gain weight. You are absolutely not a failure if you gain weight. And ultimately, you deserve to love yourself more than your pant size.
First of all, you look great, whether you’re the smallest you have ever been or the biggest. I encourage you to look at yourself and really appreciate your own awesomeness. Know that your body may change, and it is totally normal if it does. Different does not mean bad. Embrace change and a new version of yourself, because you are worthy of feeling appreciated, confident, and attractive.
Secondly, gaining weight does not make you a failure. Weight fluctuation is normal, and it does not even necessarily mean that you are unhealthy. College is hard sometimes. Finding a new balance in life is difficult. You are not obligated to feel disappointed in yourself for gaining weight. People ought to love you and see beauty in you, regardless of your weight, just like you ought to love yourself, regardless of your weight.
This leads to my third point; Regardless of your weight, regardless of if you fit into society’s ideal beauty standards, you deserve to love yourself. Love yourself more than your pant size. Do not eat, sleep, and exercise with the goal to fit unrealistic appearance standards. Eat, sleep, and exercise with the goal to love yourself the best you can. Take care of yourself and be kind to your body. Weight gain and the fear of it can be so overwhelming. When you feel the pressure to be disappointed in yourself, take a deep breath. Don’t work against your body, work with it.