It was January of 2010 and I had enough. I was tired of avoiding mirrors, hiding my body behind people in photos, and stressing over shopping for clothes. I would use food as a crutch, reaching for it when I was bored, sad, lonely, or angry. It was becoming an awful habit, and a quick fix for any day I was feeling low. I’d pick an outfit to wear and think, “I guess this will have to do.” Six months later, after countless hours at the gym and a complete overhaul in my lifestyle, I stood at IMATS LA confident and comfortable in my own skin for the first time in 25 years. It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it.
There’s no real magic secret to weight loss. In six months I dropped approximately 50 pounds. I didn’t go on a fad diet or specific workout system, I made changes that worked for me. I took Zumba classes because I love to dance, found gym buddies who would motivate and push me to try harder, ate colorful fruits and vegetables, cut back on carbs (because those were the bulk of what I previously ate), and drank loads of water. Then I’d repeat that regimen day after day. I went from hunching over and looking at the ground to standing tall with pride. However, after a month of feeling good about myself, I started coming home from the gym, looking for instant changes as I scrutinized myself in front of the mirror. I began overworking myself to the point where I would almost pass out on the StairMaster. It became an obsession until I started working full-time. I didn’t have as much time for the gym and I started packing on the pounds. It was after gaining a bit of weight that I stopped looking at just physical appearance and really thought about how I felt as a person. I’m a naturally curvy woman—I always have been. My genes have graced me with thick thighs and a generous bust. It wasn’t until about a year ago that I started to feel sexy in my own skin, and there are two things that I can stem this realization to: body image and self-esteem.
My perception changed after I had stopped trying to attain a goal that was unreachable. My mom stopped me one day and said, “you’re getting too thin now Jasmine. Your body is not meant to be shaped like a boy, and you’re looking unhealthy.” By that point I was beginning to lose hair, and my skin was very pale. When I finally stopped obsessing over seeing my hip bones and the amount of food I was eating in a day, I was happier and less stressed out. My realization happened when I met someone who loves my curves. He helps me appreciate my form and makes me feel sexy as I am. My idea of what a healthy body should look like changed, and it helped me gain some much needed self-esteem. I’m in no way, shape or form, the perfect example of a healthy human being. I’m just me, flaws and all. I have one body and one life. I can spend the rest of my years regretting what I see and wishing I looked like someone else, or I can start appreciating and celebrating what makes me Jasmine. No matter how hard we try, some of us will never be a size two; we’re just not built that way, and that’s okay. In comparison, some girls can try to gain weight to no avail. The whole “when did this become hotter than this” trend enforces a need to put a stereotype on the female form. If I could have given myself some advice before I dived into my life change, it would be to appreciate everything that I am, even with a little bit more to love. Not only would I have been less self-conscious, I’d be happier too. By accepting the curves on my body and loving the way I feel, I have such a better outlook on how to treat my body right and live a healthy life.