For the last four years I have been struggling with some serious body image issues. This problem roots from years of bullying in elementary. I was constantly teased about being fat, and always being compared by my smaller girlfriends. I was 7 years old, and I knew I was chubby. I didn’t start doing anything about it until the summer after my freshman year. I thought that the boy I had liked would like me back if I was skinnier and prettier. So I exercised regularly, and cut out all snacking. Soon the exercising became an addiction and I cut out breakfast. Then I cut out lunch, and shortly after, dinner. That summer I dropped 15 pounds, and it went unnoticed by classmates. It was a long year of hard training, starving, and, eventually, pill abusing. It lead to binging and purging, to more pill abusing, and days where there was serious calorie restriction. I have struggled to get over my self image problems over these last few years. I wish I could say that I got over my eating disorder that year, but I didn’t. In fact, I still struggle everyday. Although everyday I grow stronger and healthier, I battle the urges to fall back into the path of old habits. It is a war still not won, but it is a war that is still being fought. I have grown to see that I am important, and so is my body. I do not owe anyone anything. No one’s opinion is worth losing my life over. I refuse to let my negative thoughts ruin my life. This year I have made so much progress. I can finally say that I am beautiful, and actually mean it. I have no interest in losing weight through the tactics once used, and I no longer feel guilty for eating. Some days are worse than others, but I am determined to beat this. I am letting go of the need to be in control of everything all the time. Life is beautiful and so am I.