Stop Stressing About Your Body: Why Gaining Weight Is No Big Deal

When you were a little girl, there were no “French fries or salad?” debates or monthly weigh-ins. You ate what you wanted and stopped when you were full. You faced bowls of chocolate chip ice cream and cheeseburgers with smiles and excitement instead of worrying about calorie counts or gluten. A funny thing happens when we get older and unfortunately, that can mean even girls as young as 12 are worrying about their weight and how they look. We live in a sea of diets and trends that masquerade as  “healthy eating” (juice cleanses: just don’t do it) and we’re probably lamenting the fact that the number on the scale is never the exactly number that we want it to be. But it’s a good thing that’s it not. Here’s why you should never stress out about putting on a few pounds and instead worry about something that actually matters.

We all live within a 2-5 pound range. An annoying thing happens when you actually know what you weigh: you want to weigh less. It’s just natural. I ended up accidentally losing 10 pounds thanks to overhauling my diet after learning about food allergies. Then I gained most of it back. Guess what? I don’t care. We all have a healthy weight range; sometimes we’re 5 pounds heavier and sometimes we’re 2 pounds lighter. It happens, and it doesn’t matter.

Wanting to be thinner is a slippery slope. A girl in my ninth grade class died of anorexia. Eating disorders are no joke. Would you rather weigh a bit more than you want to but be healthy and alive, or fall down a rabbit hole of calorie-counting misery? The choice is pretty obvious. And despite our awareness of unhealthy body image, it’s pretty easy to start a diet and end up with a full-blown disorder.

The “thigh gap” is B.S. I remember the exact time I realized that you needed to have space between your thighs when you sit down. I thought I was a bad person because my thighs touched, thanks to some teen mag that probably scarred a lot of girls for life. This is nuts. Some people are naturally super thin and I guess their thighs don’t touch, but I don’t really care. It means absolutely nothing – it’s just your body type. Forget about your thighs. The guy you’re with won’t even notice.

It’s not about what you weigh, but how you feel. If your body helps you run 5 minutes every morning before work, gets through a grueling session at the gym, and carries you everywhere you want to go, that’s pretty awesome, right? As long as you feel healthy and good about yourself, a number on the scale is just that: a number. Body confidence is the best.

Life is too short to permanently deprive yourself. You know the one, about life being too short. Well, life is definitely short. You would definitely lose a few pounds if you said goodbye to crispy French fries or summer cocktails, but it wouldn’t be any fun. Remind yourself that you can enjoy your fave foods or you can be five pounds thinner. You’ll quickly realize which is the more enjoyable option.

Muscle weighs more than fat. You could be gaining weight because you’re gaining muscle. Sometimes we bulk up when we’re working out and it’s just a fact of living a healthy life. What’s cooler than being so strong that you could hold plank for an hour? (I said you could. That would be torture.)

It’s inevitable if you’re living on junk food. No shame – a girl can’t live on kale alone. There’s nothing wrong with giving into pizza and onion rings cravings. But you have to be realistic. You can’t possibly lose weight if you eat a lot of junk food because you’re eating more than your body needs for fuel, which means those calories become fat. You did nothing wrong, it’s just science.

It means you’re not boring. Let’s face it: counting calories, worrying about the amount of fat or carbs or whatever in a piece of pizza – that’s all super boring. Don’t be that girl.

If you can gain it, you can lose it. Only you know how you feel. If you’re truly uncool with the extra five pounds you’re carrying, you can eat healthier and work out and you can say goodbye to them. That’s the great thing about gaining weight.

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