She’s a body positivity advocate, but she feels like a hypocrite because her body image consumes her. Bailey Hildebrand has shared her journey of weight loss, weight gain, body acceptance and body hate on the show before. And now, days before her wedding, she has shared this raw, open letter:
Here I am. Eleven days before my wedding — arguably, the most important day of my life, which also, arguably, means I will be making the most important decision of my life.
And all I can think about is how flabby my arms will look in my dress.
I’m not worried about the logistics of co-habitating with someone else, and the consequences and strain that we’ll have to deal with as a result. I’m not worried about the financial struggles we are bound to face. I’m not worried about the fights that result in one of us sleeping on the couch.
I’m worried about how my stomach will look in my dress as it protrudes above my thighs. I’m worried that my back fat will be seen by the guests behind me as I walk down the aisle. I’m worried about how big I’ll look in comparison to my beautiful bridesmaids.
I came across a three-year-old mirror selfie this morning. It was meant to be a weight loss after picture. I looked at it and teared up.
As someone who considers herself a body positivity advocate, this concerned me. I was not only pining for my old body, but also feeling overcome with hypocrisy.
How is my body, which performs all the functions it should to keep me alive, becoming the distraction from building up my relationship from my soon-to-be life partner?
But then I remembered how I felt when I took that photo. I was the thinnest I’ve ever been. But, it wasn’t enough. I wanted to be thinner. I remember thinking it was a “halfway there” photo, even though my hip bones had begun to protrude so much to the point my jeans would cause rashes as it rubbed against my skin. But, it wasn’t enough. My face had become unrecognizable to former classmates. But, it wasn’t enough.
Even if I had dropped another 50 pounds on top of the 75 I had already lost, it wouldn’t have been enough. I would have always hated myself. I would have always kept trying. I would have stopped eating altogether.
Even at my thinnest, I thought no one would ever want to marry me looking as I did. I was too fat.
But here I am, more than too fat and ready to make the biggest decision of my life. Yes, I’m taking that step with someone who doesn’t care what I look like and actually adores my body in its current shape, but I’m also taking that step as someone who doesn’t need what others think to dictate whether she walks down the aisle. And that, I believe, is another step on my journey to loving myself.