Aug. 21, 2015, 7:53 p.m.
In Western society, the idea of gaining weight is often viewed as the ultimate sin. We associate weight gain with failure, while we view weight loss as a sign of strength. For me, I wanted to get smaller, because I craved acceptance, even though it was acceptance from a superficial place.
This led to many hours of exercising, restrictive diets and tons of negative self- talk. Eventually, I did achieve a body size and shape that society approved of. Although I looked "great" on the outside, internally I was miserable, unhappy, hungry, filled with self-hatred, drained, tired, tormented, trapped, lonely, depressed and anxious.
Having that “perfect body” did nothing for my happiness or my peace of mind. I was a young adolescent at the prime of my life, but I was not living. I was unable to soak in the many pleasures of my young life like sharing food amongst friends or enjoying my mother’s wonderful cooking. I was going through life but not stopping to smell the roses...
But one day something clicked. I realized that I wanted to look back at my life and recall wonderful memories when I got older. But if 90% of my focus was only on my body, how much room would there really be for these memories? This thought really put things into perspective for me.
I am slowly learning to let go of this unhealthy focus, and obsession, with my body. The second guesses, apprehensions around food, anxiety and lack of confidence are still partially there, but you know what has helped? Experiences, particularly travelling; I literally had to find an escape, a getaway, in order to get away. Whether it was to a different country, different city, or even just a different neighbourhood, witnessing something different and trying something new brought excitement into my life.
It is important now and again to switch things up and add variety into our lives. It keeps life interesting, and in my case, the variety helped me divert focus away from food and my body. If you are having a good time, your attention drifts from negativity. My focus shifted towards making plans with friends, dreaming, travelling, and pursuing my happiness.
To be able to now function like a healthy 22-year-old female is amazing. I have learned that health is number one, followed by happiness and peace of mind.
My personal mantra:
My body is absolutely beautiful, my health is precious and my life is worth living without the stress of trying to be someone or something else.
Tierra Hohn, is a body image enthusiast, eating disorder advocate, promoter of happiness and a recent graduate from Carleton University's Public Affairs and Policy Management program. After being hospitalized for anorexia nervosa, she decided to dedicate herself towards speaking about her experiences and helping others struggling with similar issues. Through the creation of Untouched Beauty, Tierra was able to begin coordinating workshops and programming for young women struggling with body image and eating disorders. In 2015, Tierra completed her honours research thesis, where she conducted a study looking at the influence of media literacy in Ontario on the body image of adolescent girls. Moreover, since June 2015, Tierra has been blogging. On her blog, she takes a deeper look into topics such as mental health and illness, particularly eating disorders and depression; and overall happiness. Tierra believes that it is important that people are able to live their lives happily, whole heartedly and love themselves and the skin that are in! She strongly encourages reaching out, so please feel free to contact her either through her blog: tierrahohn.weebly.com, Twitter: @tierrahohnor her YouTube page