Actress Who Was Absorbed With Negative Body Image Pens Powerful Message: ‘I Am Enough’

Value yourself by who you are, not by what you look like
By Margery Dunn, Epoch Times
August 8, 2019 Updated: August 9, 2019

Looking at Filipino actress Iza Calzado in her beach wedding photos, it is hard to imagine that she ever had issues with her body image.

However, in June 2019, Calzado publicly shared her personal struggles with body image and her attempts to overcome her low self-esteem in As a child, her less-than-ideal family factors, lack of a stable home life, and parents who criticized her looks all contributed to her seeking food for comfort.

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Bài viết do Iza Calzado Wintle (@missizacalzado) chia sẻ vào

Today we have a better understanding of our own positive or negative body image, with lots of research pointing to healthy self-esteem going together with a positive body image. Young people are encouraged to feel good about themselves, to be comfortable and to know that there is more to a person than just your physical appearance.

Good advice given today is to hang around positive people. It can get tricky when you are young and the family situation isn’t a positive one. As a child, Calzado explained she was depressed and ended up finding her comfort in food. In her sixth grade, she put on a lot of weight, and her family commenting she was good but fat further upset her.

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Bài viết do Iza Calzado Wintle (@missizacalzado) chia sẻ vào

Growing up, she was 220 pounds (approx. 100 kg) at a certain point in school, and as her jeans size went up to 42, she hated her body and was ashamed of it. During this time, it was her wish to have a boyfriend and look good in her graduation photos, thinking those things would help regain the self-esteem that she was lacking. Thus, she began a chaotic dieting regime.

“Out of sheer vanity and will power, I started to cut down on food leading to senior year. I wanted to have a boyfriend and to be beautiful in our graduation photos, and because the motivation was shallow, I ended up doing stupid things just to get results,” Calzado said.

She started to starve herself, going from three sandwiches a day to only crackers and water. In addition to that, Calzado started to sometimes turn to fat burners, slim teas, and appetite suppressant in order to reduce her weight.

“By the end of the school year, I had lost about 70 to 80 pounds and was in a relationship with my dream guy. Life was good. Or so I thought,” she further added.

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Bài viết do Iza Calzado Wintle (@missizacalzado) chia sẻ vào

After school, and as life improved for her, she started acting in commercials and soap operas. By 2004, she was asked by television management to play the part of a female superhero who fights injustice, but she needed to lose some weight first. Her mixed feelings of “pride from weight loss and shame from the imperfections” led to some surgery to address her loose skin. However, she lost the role but still continued pursuing an acting career.

Being in showbiz meant Calzado was surrounded by people who put physical appearance first, not a positive environment to build up confidence. Luckily, there were some people along the way who tried to help her be more body image confident, but her own negative thoughts overturned the logic.

By 2008, she discovered running as a way to control her swinging weight issues. At the same time, being introduced to a healthy diet brought her weight down, which she was able to maintain for work.

Despite this, Calzado was still suffering from a negative body image and wanted to be thinner. Trying to measure up to her beautiful actress image in major endorsements and on magazine covers required photoshopping—she felt like the girl in the magazine with smooth, flawless skin was “fake.”

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Bài viết do Iza Calzado Wintle (@missizacalzado) chia sẻ vào

Becoming the host of a television show called “Biggest Loser Doubles” saw her confidence resurface for a while. “It was great! I felt like I was doing what I was made to do: Inspire those who wanted to be fit and healthier,” she said. Eventually, every day was a battle, as Calzado was always comparing her body to others’ and ending up negative about her body image.

“I was constantly comparing myself to women whose bodies were ‘perfect’—smooth, tight, flawless skin—the one thing I could never have,” she said.

A hint from her then-boyfriend and now-husband, Ben Wintle, shocked her into looking more deeply into her self-absorption. While they were holidaying at a beach and after hearing her constant negative comments about her own body, her boyfriend told her, “It’s getting tiring, Iza. Nobody cares.”

Iza Calzado is the #bodylove icon we all need <3

تم النشر بواسطة ‏‎Metro Magazine‎‏ في الاثنين، ٣ يونيو ٢٠١٩

Around this time, people in the West were joining a “body-positive trend,” people feeling good about themselves and publicly sharing their curves and natural body images. Calzado realized that other actresses were caught in the same “needing to be perfect” trap as she was. As part of her own acceptance of herself, she took action.

“I posted a photo of myself that I knew was not the most flattering but felt it was the most joyful of the photos taken of me,” Calzado said.

Realizing others had similar image problems, she started #thebodyloverevolution, a movement that she spearheaded together with being one of the founders of the group She Talks Asia, helping women navigate today’s issues.

Actress Iza Calzado attends the Dove launch of Project #ShowUs on March 27, 2019, in London, United Kingdom. (©Getty Images | Nicky J Sims)

The battle of self-doubt is not quite over, but she constantly reminds herself to improve, and at the same time, she advocates self-love and body positivity to young people, reminding them they are more than their bodies. As she explains in her interview: “So I keep my head up and continue marching on, arming myself with self-love, compassion, and acceptance. But today, as I share my story, I can truly tell myself, ‘I am enough.’”