In our svelte-obsessed culture, the pursuit of thinness is often considered paramount to all other endeavors, even one’s own psychological well-being. Instead of emphasizing the importance of self-actualization and confidence, we often subtly encourage the pursuit of physical “perfection” — a journey which almost always leaves its travelers mentally broken, and more insecure than they were before.
Even when a person is inhabiting a “skinny” body, such rabid attention to physicality and diet can often result in someone who, despite upholding the physical standards so often praised by society, still feels unworthy and unhappy.
Body-positive activist Khrystyana recently revealed just how much her mental health improved when she stopped torturing herself about body image and dieting. The model shared before and after photos with her Instagram followers, lamenting about how she used to spend so much of her energy hating her body that she was quite literally left exhausted.
The Instagram caption reads:
In 2013 I thought I wasn’t small enough to be a fashion model and technically i have never been small enough. Even back then with all the dietary suffering and daily long hours at the gym I was at 37.5 hip size, a bit too thick. Was I happy? Absolutely not. I did not care about my happiness nor mental health, it was all about getting the next gig. I found myself depressed going through identity crisis. I gained more weight, hated myself more and more until I had no more energy left within me to hate anything. But exhaustion was somehow freeing. Freeing from thoughts. Blank brained, I looked at this newer but older me. No more striking judgments. Why? Why should we ever wreck ourselves? For career? parental approvals? romances? or fame? Why did I? Why would you ever? TRUST the NOWEST you, trust that this is deserving of all your love. It really does.
Khrystyana has also talked about how she doesn’t balk at using the word “fat,” because she has chosen to let the word empower her rather than puncture her self-esteem. “‘FAT’ can be my sweetest compliment of the day,” she writes in an earlier Instagram post. “It’s like they try to bully you by calling you ‘Beautiful.’ YES . You can use your power to turn what’s meant to be negative into something positive. Call me crazy, but I’ve tried it. I’ve been called ‘fat this’ and ‘fat that,’ and I thanked them genuinely. Their faces were priceless.”
So, there you have it, from someone who’s actually paid to model: beauty is in attitude and confidence, and believing your own self-worth will make you far more attractive than starving yourself ever could — regardless of what the haters might say to the contrary.