The SOVA Project is happy to feature this blog post written by one in our team of fantastic SOVA Ambassadors—these are young people who help create meaningful blog posts from adolescents’ perspectives. We hope you can use their post to start a conversation with your adolescent.
I grew up always being overweight, I was that kid that tried every diet in the book, or every form of exercise and still wasn’t able to drop the weight. During what may be my entire childhood, I binge ate when no one was home – I have accounts where I would eat tubs of raw cookie dough, or containers of ice cream when no one was home; after school and alone time was just dangerous for me.
It wasn’t until my hospital and doctor recommended that I should go to a weight loss camp for my age that I started to meet more people with what could be similar weight issues. I was learning how to have a healthier lifestyle, and try to make changes for me. About one year after being in the program, I ended up falling down a slippery slope again of constant binging of food. It wasn’t until a few years later when I hit puberty that things started to change. I started to drop weight and realize that I need to make a lifestyle change for real since my habits really were not healthy. I still did diets and what not, and was able to make changes to improve my lifestyle, but again it led to a point where I barely ate some days or not enough just to lose weight. I noticed that I obsessed over what I looked like.
In fact, to this day, I probably look at myself in the mirror or see my reflection every chance I get. It doesn’t help that I have a lot of mirrors in my house or in my room. It doesn’t help the fact that I ask my mom and sister if I “look chubby?” everyday. I look at myself in the mirror and pick at my flaws and what I could be doing better with my body.
There was a point in my life for about three years in high school that I was what I feel was my happiest. I loved my body, my friends, my relationships, my successes – I was the most confident and best version of myself in high school. You know, deep down, I don’t think I was actually still comfortable in my skin though. I always was self-conscious of what people thought about me, or how I looked, or what a group of guys thought if I walked by.
This brings me to my point: I recently watched Netflix’s show, Insatiable, where I not only binge-watched, but also realized that I entirely resonated with the main character in her story of the show. Her character was a compulsive eater (binge eater) for emotional and mental reasons. Once she went from overweight to skinny, she even admitted her actions were almost to make up for validation of herself (ex: getting a boyfriend, doing beauty pageants, etc). The character struggled with body dysmorphia where she compared herself to others and continued seeing her old self in the bigger body.
This show made me finally come to terms with why I was acting like this my whole life – and understanding that body dysmorphia is the reason behind why I binge ate emotionally, or why I feel bad about my body, why I can’t be truly confident, or why I can’t be happy in relationships totally made sense and everything clicked. The good news is that I had answers, and that I could get proper help finally to not feel this way. Honestly, I feel like I need to give credit to shows and certain media figures we have (influencers, tv shows, movies, artists we life, etc) who are able to create content that really resonates with us, and can help us identify what could be wrong for times we are really unsure.
What kind of TV shows does your child watch? What about movies? Have you ever talked to your child about what kinda of media resonates with them?