This is Kate
Body Image is made of two parts, the mental and the physical. Creating a healthy body image in young women is goal that I hold close to my heart, and I am so honored that I was asked to join the roster campaign to share my story.
I think every girl has her ups and downs with body image, and mine was a wild ride to say the least. When I was younger I had a lot of self doubt, and was self conscious of my body. On my 14th birthday I was scouted by a modelling agency, and in that moment I was validated that I was good enough. I felt chosen, I felt really special.
Throughout high school I struggled with my weight, I was underweight for sure, but my excuse was “I was a model”. People would comment on how thin I was, but in all honesty I loved hearing those words. In my senior year of high school, my doctor required I gain some weight, as my low BMI was starting to impact my health in a negative way. I had put on some weight, my health was improving, but I was not happy with how I looked.
Come the end of grade twelve my modelling agency proposed an opportunity for me to work internationally and travel. I was psyched at the thought of the new adventure I would be embarking on. I went into my agency a few weeks prior to leaving, to be measured (this was a measurement of my waist, hips, and bust). About a half hour after I left, I received a phone call where they told me I wasn’t allowed to leave until lost weight, that was two inches off my hips (the words thigh gap were definitely thrown around as well). In that moment I felt powerless, wronged, hurt. I was being told that I couldn’t do something because of my size, and that I was too big. I was 5’8.5 ft. and weighed about 120 lbs., this gave me a BMI of 18 which is still classified as underweight. I decided I was going to show them I could lose the weight, and I was going to do it fast. I wanted to regain that feeling of validation. After two weeks of training everyday if not twice a day, and eating a sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, carb-free, alcohol-free diet I was down about 12 pounds, and was allowed to go. I physically may have been ready, but mentally was another story. From here I took a bit of a downward spiral through the next couple years. Fluctuating weight, obsessive compulsive eating, controlled portions, restricted diets, and periods of fasting. I thought about food all the time. When was I eating next? Was I eating too much? I used to get this awful feeling when I was eating, I would get the urge to spit out my food, because I felt I was doing something wrong when I ate. The lowest weight I reached was 102 lbs, which put me at a BMI of 15.3. I couldn’t book work because I was too small. My face was gaunt, you could count every rib, my hair started to thin, I had lost my period, and was anemic.
It has taken me years to work through this. The result of treating my body that way, is severe stomach issues, and low bone density, which leads to early onset osteoporosis. What I have learnt from this is that my size is not my beauty. My beauty is me at whatever size I choose. I know that I am in power to create whatever image I want for myself. I have integrity to my health. That means working out because it makes me feel good, eating healthy because I value my body, and enjoying red wine and chocolate because I want to enjoy the things I love in life.
The piece of advice I would love to give my younger self is that a confident self is the most beautiful person out there. Be big in your confidence, be proud of your accomplishments, and never let anyone tell you who is beautiful and who is not because everyone shines in a different way. Surround yourself with people who exude confidence, because naturally you will follow suit. Do what makes you happy. The people who love you at every size, are the people you want in your life anyways.