When you’re a child, you often don’t notice or care what you look like. You simply want to have fun and play with your friends. You don’t notice the adults around you critiquing their looks or spending hours changing their appearance. I wish that’s how it was still.

During my senior year of high school, I became obsessed with my looks and weight. I had always loved working out and trying to get the “perfect” body, but that year, it was more intense than ever before.

I have an obsessive personality, so I didn’t think much of it. I would challenge myself to eat the smallest amount of food possible on a daily basis. I didn’t notice my stomach screaming at me to feed myself. I just cared about the number on the scale and matching my BMI with celebrities and models.

Months later, I grew to hate my tiny, thin body. My muscles had wasted away, replaced with malnourished arms and legs. I started to cry. What have I done?

I heard my friend’s comment “Wow, you’re so skinny!” as if that’s a compliment. People would tell me “You’re so lucky; I’d love to not gain weight!” I hated it. I bet this isn’t what you’re used to reading.

This year, I tried for months upon months to gain back the weight that I lost. I tracked my calories and forced myself to eat more than I wanted to. I gained a mere six pounds, barely replacing the 25 that I had lost.

Lately, I’ve been able to love my body more than I have in the past. I’ve stopped counting calories. I eat what I want and remind myself to eat at least a little bit at each meal. I know I may never have curves that I would love to have, but that’s okay. That’s not how God made me. I’m more than my weight; more than my appearance. That’s my daily reminder; one that I’ll have for the rest of my life.

Please, learn from my mistakes. Don’t become obsessed with your physical looks.