To All Insecure Women This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     This just in: being thin doesn’t make you pretty! As shockingas that may seem, I scarcely think you’ll find any medical proof that weighing and lookinglike you did when you were five is going to increase the amount of happy and pretty hormones yourbody puts out. Not only that, but your body will probably start eating itself! Does that seem worthit?

I can understand if you’re thin because that’s just how your body’sproportioned, but that does not mean other “less-than-perfect” girls should idolizeyou. I’ve got a challenge for the 98% of women who are bigger than fashion models: tear downthe pictures of the stick-figure beauty queens and put up photos of yourself, and try to loveyourself for who you are. No, I changed my mind, don’t put your pictures up - put up art,writing, your favorite outfit, a cookbook, whatever it is that makes you happy and doesn’tremind you of your beautiful self.

Now that I’m sure you’ve finished step one,let’s engage in the second step. This one’s a toughie: eat. While you may not like yourbody, your body likes food. A lot. It’s how it keeps you alive. If you don’t water yourflowers, they don’t get nutrients and they die. So do you when your diet consists of 250calories a day. Wouldn’t you rather have beautiful, blossoming flowers than sickly lookingstems that will become tomorrow’s garbage? Think about it for a second. Sit down if you haveto. Then go make yourself a sandwich. Yes, bread.

I’ll now take a break from myrigorous training plan to acknowledge and confirm your insecurities. Being fat, as in“clinically obese” and not “three and a half pounds overweight” is just asunhealthy as being a walking skeleton. It makes you feel like crap, it makes it harder for peopleto accept you, and it leads to serious medical conditions. Not fitting into a size 0 pair of jeans,however, just makes you able to stop shopping in the children’s section after 16years.

So, if you’re really not overreacting and do need to lose a bit of weight,I’ve got more advice: be smart about it. Turn off your TV so you can stop hearing abouteveryone’s new diet and the latest miracle pill. There is no easy way out. You can’tjust stop eating bread or start taking pills and expect to look like the people on the Bowflexcommercials. So be smart and safe and I wish you the best of luck.

Snap back to attention,soldiers! Have you finished your sandwich yet? Is that your first meal of the day? Eat two moremeals. Be healthy about what you eat, though, no super-glazed chocolate crème-filled donuts forbreakfast. Try some fruit and toast, or maybe a nice bowl of cereal with milk. Then, if you stillthink you’re fat, wait a little while and exercise. Don’t hurt yourself, take it easy.Now here’s the trick to this part: don’t look at the scale when you’re done. Whenyou lose fat and gain muscle mass, you gain weight. You still lose fat, so ignore the extra weight,muscle is good for you.

If you’ve made it this far, just stick around for a closingthought. The last step is probably the hardest of all. Love yourself no matter what. Acceptyourself for who you are. There’s always room for improvement but don’t try to be toohard on yourself and don’t go throwing up your liver because of it. Food is one of thegreatest joys of life, don’t give it up just so we can see what your bones look likeunderneath all that skin. It’s just not worth it.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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