A Personal Account of my Body Image Journey

I don’t think most people stop to think about how early in life the societal pressure to be thin sinks in. But seeing magazine covers with extremely fit women on the covers at the grocery store, hearing people talk about their bodies negatively, and only seeing certain body shapes in television and movies are all messages that are absorbed by children. At the age of 7, I went on my first diet. Leading up to age 21, through 14 years of childhood, I went through constant cycles of hating my body, dieting, bingeing, then back to restricting, and so on.

It wasn’t until this past year that I reached the point of body acceptance. I didn’t love the way I looked, but I accepted my body for what it was, because I realized that I was doing my physical and mental health a major disservice by not loving my body and all the things she does for me. I figured out that food is fuel for my brain and body to perform at their best. I began seeing exercise as a stress reliever and strength builder, rather than an opportunity to burn the most calories.

These were all radical perspective shifts after so many years of believing differently. However, even after all the time wasted on calorie counting and anxiously wondering how my body was perceived by others, I wouldn’t change a thing.

In fact, it’s because of those moments that I am now studying dietetics and psychology, with the hopes of becoming an advocate for intuitive eating and body positivity for those that don’t feel comfortable in their own skin. I want to be a dietitian that helps people struggling with disorderly eating find joy in nourishing their bodies and trusting their intuition, so they don’t have to continue to suffer the way I did.

Additionally, I created an Instagram account to spread body positivity and share yummy recipes with my friends to get them excited for mealtime. I joined The Body Project program so that I could be a voice that fights against diet culture and the media that tells us how we “should” look. My story back then is why I love myself now, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Learn strategies for body kindness, self-love, and eating disorder support during Love Your Body Week 2021. During the week of February 21-26, twenty-three events will take place virtually, focusing on educating, celebrating and creating a sustainable and supportive campus environment for all body types and experiences. Love Your Body Week offers a wide range of programs including fitness classes, educational programs, art therapy, mindfulness, and more.

All OSU students, faculty, and staff are invited to participate.
Kristen Etzler, 4th year  

Major – Dietetics 

Minor – Psychology 

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