From the moment we can recognise a human face, we're bombarded with images of what it looks like to be a woman. Often (at least, traditionally, in the media) that means being tall, slim, and in perfect proportion.
At 11, you know that when you're older, you should be tall, slim and in proportion.
At 16, you wonder why you're not 'like the other girls' who are tall, slim and in proportion.
At 25, you believe that no one will like you because you're not that tall, slim woman you thought you should be.
You regularly find fault with anything and everything about yourself. You believe that if you could just be a bit slimmer, a bit 'better', you'd be so much happier and life would be great.
But here's the thing; all bodies are different. We could all work out exactly the same, eat exactly the same and even dress exactly the same, but we would still have totally different bodies. Our bodies are unique to us, and that's a good thing!
You see, the thing no one tells you when you're growing up is that your unique body is constantly changing. We've all got that pair of jeans that no longer quite fit, but we keep hold of them because 'one day' we may be able to squeeze back in to them. Let me tell you: your body today is not the same body you had 5 years ago.
It seems to be a bit of a taboo subject, the fact that bodies change. That idea of the 'perfect body' seems to be frozen in time and stuck in our psyche; something we're always aiming for. But our bodies aren't 'stuck', they change. They can change for all sorts of reasons, but they will constantly change.
I remember, at around 14 years old, finally fitting in to a size 8 top - adult clothes! I could look more grown up now and the fashion possibilities were endless. But, as I got older, my body kept changing and I was no longer a size 8 anything. I distinctly remember feeling quite strange that that period of fitting in to a size 8 was so brief. I'd achieved something... and now it had all changed again.
And when I was 21 and I could go out partying all night, my body was different again. I was a student; I could eat and drink almost anything and not really notice a difference.
Now, my body and I are 33 and I cannot imagine the all night partying, or the 3 take-aways a week! Neither can I fit in to those jeans. And you know what; that's OK! I get to buy more clothes that suit my now-body and that make me feel good NOW.
"Your old body wasn't making you a better person; your now-body doesn't make you a bad person."
Bodies change! There's nothing you can do about it. So, I advise you to stop pining for that body you had 7 years ago. It wasn't making you a better person; your body now doesn't make you a bad person. Your body is a wonderful, complex machine that KEEPS YOU ALIVE. You should be constantly in awe of that.
It takes practice, especially if you're so used to hearing the negative self-talk in your own mind, but try and catch yourself every time you think negative things about your body and switch it to something you like about yourself. Eventually, you'll get in to the habit of being kinder to yourself, 'flaws' and all.