About the interview: Kitty and I have been friends forever, and over the years, she’s learned a lot when it comes to caring for her body. In our interview, she talks honestly about her journey to finding a healthy balance in life, including food, fitness, and mental health. Read on for my interview with Kitty to learn more about her journey!
CC: What’s YOUR body image story?
K: I feel like having a positive body image is almost completely dependent on where one is mentally. When one is trying to deal with overwhelming stress or anxiety your body gets thrown to the wayside because you just don’t have the energy to care.
It took me about 23 years to finally begin to care about both my body and my mind. Growing up as a shy and timid Catholic school girl, I was constantly comparing myself to others and wishing I could change so many things about the way I looked, as many adolescent girls do. I would have periods of working out multiple times a day and thinking eating one “big” meal was sufficient. Then once I started to get mentally and physically burnt out, I would eat everything I was depriving myself of before. These irrational thoughts and also lack of knowledge continued into college, which brought along with it the stress and anxiety of trying to make something of yourself while also trying to maintain a social life. For some, this was easy, and it was truly “the best four years of their life.” For me, I felt like I was slowly losing control. I wasn’t taking proper care of either my mind or my body and then I would feel bad about myself, and it would turn into a viscous cycle. The sad thing is, I know if I had eaten healthier or exercised regularly I would have been so much happier.
Towards my senior year, I began realizing what it meant to work out and feel strong rather than to feel skinny. I began to view food as fuel rather than as calories. I started doing yoga to calm my racing thoughts by focusing on breathing or nailing a pose. I can truly say that starting to live a healthy lifestyle changed my life. Endorphins are a real thing. Exercising (in moderation) has sooo many benefits for not only your physical health, but overall mental well-being. It helps with mood, relieving anxiety, and will give you a sense of accomplishment and appreciation for your body that you might never have felt before. You actually CAN run farther than you thought or you actually ARE able to hold a difficult yoga posture, things you maybe once thought were impossible. Appreciating your body and what it can do will cause you to want to take care of it and I believe a healthy cycle will result.
CC: If you haven’t always loved your body, how have you worked to get there?
K: I exercise not only for the endorphins, but also for the satisfaction and appreciation it brings along with it. Honestly, the older I get, the more important my health has become. You’re only given one body so you might as well take care of it.
CC: What’s one thing you’d say to your younger, middle school aged self if you could go back? Or to younger girls today?
K: Be accepting of who you are, but strive for good health. As cliché as it sounds, get active! Not only is exercise chemically and biologically good for your brain, but it can also help form friendships and character, which are so important at that age. I’ve met some of my best friends through playing soccer. Even though it might not have been my favorite sport, it got me to be active and social rather than obsessing over stupid middle school stuff.
CC: What has been your biggest body image victory?
K: Learning that everything in moderation is okay. It’s been the hardest thing for me to learn to enjoy indulging and not feel bad about it. But if you deprive your body of things you love, how are you supposed to live a happy life?
This interview is a part of The Curve Confessionals, a new content series on the Curve Confessions featuring other’s body image stories. Want to be interviewed, or know someone who might? Email email@example.com for more details.