Teenage Body Image- My battle.

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The female body. We all have a love/hate relationship with ours, right?

For me, it's been almost a lifelong issue. No, I've never had an "eating disorder" so to speak, but as I've grown older and have learnt more about teenage body issues, I have seriously considered the fact that I may have suffered from body dysmorphia. Now, I'm not about to sit here and self diagnose, wallowing in pity. But I want to try and prevent other young teens going through what I have gone through and share with you all what I have learnt.

Since I was about 7 years old, I was always aware that I was much larger than all of my friends...or so I wrongly believed anyway. We couldn't clothes swap at sleepovers because I was afraid their clothes wouldn't fit me...so I'd sit and do make up, or watch instead. As I reached 10, 11, 12 and started to care about boys and the school discos, I was acutely aware of the fact that not only did my tummy stick out way more than everyone else's, I had a rounder face and a horrible nose and was just...ugly.

God, I want to shake myself!

Here is a picture of me, aged someone between 7 and 11 at a primary school disco, where I felt fat and unattractive. (Excuse the awful outfit!)


As you can see from the picture, I'm not fat. I don't have podgy arms, a sticking out tummy or a double chin. I look like a normal, healthy child. Yet how sad is it that I felt so strongly otherwise? I was so young yet my body image already affected me so much! 

As you can imagine, it got worse when I got older. Again, excuse the awful outfits (I can't believe I was allowed out like this!) but here are a few examples of photos I found on Facebook from 2009-2013 which were all commented on by myself complaining about my facial features and- most importantly- how "fat" and "disgusting" I look. Here goes...

In this image, I hated my legs.

In this picture, just thought I looked fat.




In this image, I referred to myself as a "fat lion"...I would KILL to look like this now.


In this image, there was actually an argument in the comments where people told me I was attention seeking because I thought I looked fat. I can understand now why they felt this way, but at the time, I genuinely thought I looked disgusting.




So, as you can see, I am not fat at all in any of these photos. In fact, I would shave all of my hair off and go blind if I could have this figure back again (slight exaggeration, but you get my point!). Not only do these images make me feel incredibly self conscious about how I look now, but they also make me feel incredibly sad. That poor, teenage version of myself who spent so many years of her life feeling "gross", hating how she looked, comparing herself to friends and feeling like an elephant next to their model like figures, and all along, there was nothing wrong with how she looked. 

From 2013- present, there isn't many full length photos of me, as I became acutely aware of how chubby I was (and this time, I really am). Here are some more photos...






Over the last two years, my weight and body shape has fluctuated a lot, uncomfortably so. When I compare the first group of photos with the second, I want to break down and cry. But like I said, this is not a pity party. This is for me to share my learning experience with countless of teenage girls who I see complaining about how they look every single damn day. So many slim, gorgeous girls that I envy complain they have bulging bellies, no thigh gaps, chubby cheeks...no. 

Of course, it's not that easy to forget and change your own perception of yourself. So to help others, I've tried to understand my own journey, and why it is that my weight changed so drastically. 

  • I got a boyfriend. They say people who get into relationships gain weight and I can tell you, it's true. Between ordering take aways for "date nights" and having him cook me horse sized meals that he, an energetic, six foot tall boy would eat that constantly consisted of pizza, pasta, cheese and pizza, my calorie intake became a lot higher. 
  • I exercised less. P.E stopped being a compulsory subject for me at A Level, so any exercise I did was down to me...and there wasn't much, other than walking to and from school/town/my boyfriends house.
  • Puberty. I started puberty aged 12 but it really kicked off about 15/16 years old. Suddenly, my boobs jumped from a B to a D then an E and landed at an F. Hips burst out of nowhere, my bum became bigger...and whilst all of this sounds great, along with the previous two factors, my belly grew with them and so it wasn't all good. 
  • I grew up. This meant I was in control of what I ate, with my mum no longer telling me what I could and couldn't eat. Of course, this meant less vegetables and more crisps. Big no no. 
If there's one thing I could tell my teenage, slimmer self, and all other teens who hate their near perfect bodies, it's this. Even if you feel that you look hideous, don't change what you're doing. Unless you know that you are unhealthy because a responsible adult or doctor/health professional has told you so I can guarantee you look beautiful and wonderful and fine. Don't change your diet, don't change your fitness routine, keep going just as you are...because one day, you will do what I and so many of my friends have done, and look back at photos of yourself. Except, rather than hating yourself and feeling regret, you'll feel happy when you realised you looked great then and still look great now. 

To lead a healthy lifestyle it is so important to maintain a healthy, balanced diet and to exercise too. Even if it's just once or twice a week, exercise is so important and I wish I had done more. 

If you get into a relationship, don't make the mistakes that I did and let your diet go down the drain. My boyfriend constantly tells me I'm still as perfect as the day he met me- but I don't feel I am and would like to look how I used to.

So please, please treat your body like the glorious temple it is. You are gorgeous! You are, you are, you are! You won't believe it until it's too late, and if I can even prevent that happening to one person, I will feel satisfied. 

These images are the end of it for me now. This is the start of a new journey. I am no longer going to look at these photos and feel guilt, sadness and regret. I will no longer look at them until I have finished my new journey- my healthier journey. 

My aim is to slim down- not to as slim as I was then, I know that isn't attainable...I'm a child there! But as a woman, I want to slim down, from a 12 to at least a 10. From 11 stone to somewhere between 9 and 10 stone. I am going to cut out my sugar levels, eat more vegetables and move more. I will love myself because I deserve to.

So often, we hate ourselves for completely no reason. This has been the story of my life for about 12 years. I am going to suffer at the hands of my own twisted mind no more. I will love myself, I will love my body. When my boyfriend and friends and family tell me I'm beautiful, I will listen. I will love myself.

This is it. A new chapter. A new start. 

Love from,
Florence Grace

Disclaimer: This is a very personal post to me. I am not saying anyone else feels the way I do, has been through what I have been through and am in no way suggesting that anyone needs to change how they look to be happy. It's all very personal to me. If you have any issues, please email me at florencegrace13@gmail.com

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4 comments

  1. what a fabulous post Flo,it does seem to be an ongoing thing that all girls are not happy with their weight and if it's not that,it is something else,especially amongst teens. We all want to look like someone else and we all feel insecure about something. Recently i met a guy whom i know from work and i had mo makeup on and i felt so concious and uncomfortabel after he said he didn't recognise me. Anyway,your pics are all gorgeous and you are gorgeous hunni! I would imagine this post will be a great help to any teens out there who read it,well done lovely Flo xx

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    1. Thank you so much Hollie, I really appreciate that! I really hope it helps someone. Thanks again lovely xxx

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  2. Well done on writing such an honest and personal post, Florence. I felt fat when I was in my late teens but I was in truth a slim size 10-12. Like you, I'd kill to have back that body that I then couldn't appreciate.

    I struggle with my weight a lot, which hasn't been helped by insulin resistance and PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome). This time last year, I was a size 18 and I've slimmed down to a size 16 now. To drop that dress size, I punished my body, starved it on low calorie diets, skipped meals. But that only works for a short time before the weight plateaus so I'm trying something new now. I went to the doctor and started on medication to reduce my insulin resistance and control my PCOS, which should in turn help my changes to a healthier diet and active lifestyle (swimming every day) have an impact on my weight.

    Although the scales haven't changed yet, which is tough, my clothes are getting baggier and I'm getting compliments on looking slimmer and 'well'. I still have the urge to skip meals and try diets but I know that eating regular, portion controlled meals and keeping up my daily exercise will make me healthier and that eventually, my weight will fall in line.

    Sometimes, you have to stop listening to what others think and stop listening to your inner bully. Put on some bright lipstick, where whatever the hell you want to wear and go enjoy life. :)

    Michelle -x-

    PS. I nominated you for the Liebster award.

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    1. Thanks for your lovely comment Michelle, I'm sorry you've been through this struggle too! Crash dieting will never work, it's genuinely just about eating less bad foods, more good foods and exercising the right amount!! Exercise is key!

      However, in regards to your final comment...I like your thinking! Thanks for the nomination lovely! xxx

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