Dear younger self,
Go ahead and eat that cupcake that you’ve been eyeing. Seriously, do it. Despite what you may think, treating yourself to dessert every once in awhile is not going to make you get fat. I promise.
I know it’s hard being 16, but constantly stressing about how you look and what you weigh is not going to make it any easier. One day, you’ll look back and regret spending so much time counting every single calorie, and not enough time enjoying your careless high school days. One day, you’ll wish you hadn’t gotten so angry at the friends who noticed that you no longer ate during lunch. You’ll realize they were just trying to help you. One day, you’ll be looking at your sophomore year prom pictures and cringe at the outlines of your ribs, so clearly visibly next to your bony arms. One day, you’ll realize that being healthy and happy is so much more important than being thin.
I know it’s hard to love yourself, and it’s not something that happens overnight. But, trust me, that low-carb, low-calorie diet is not helping you one bit. Soon you’ll realize that living a healthy lifestyle is possible, and that killing your workout at the gym is way more satisfying than limiting yourself to 1,000 calories a day.
Eventually, attaining your dream body will be possible, but not if you keep starving and punishing yourself every time you eat an extra calorie. Eating in moderation and making healthy choices is so much better than denying yourself the food and nutrition your body needs. Above all, building a healthy body in the gym is going to benefit you so much more than any crazy diet ever could.
It might seem like the end of the world every time you discover a new stretch mark, or every time you’re bloated from eating a little bit too much for dinner, but it’s not. The number on the scale is not going to be what matters ten years from now. What will matter is your mental health and your happiness. If I could give you one piece of advice, it would just be to care a little less. Care a little less about what you look like, and care a little more about how you feel.
And, seriously, eat the cupcake, or the brownie, or whatever your heart desires. It’s going to be okay.
Your 19-year-old self
By Madison Paddock