In an emotional Facebook post, Lesley Miller details her struggle of growing up overweight and the important lesson she's come to learn about loving her body today.
For the first time, Miller, 21, is the proud owner of a bikini — a feat that has proved to be just one of the many uphill battles in her young life.
After years of struggling, she's sharing how (even at 3 years old) weight loss and body image ideals affected her own perception of what being "enough" really means.
Miller's post has garnered more than 1,500 shares at publish time after appearing on Love What Matters, a platform that promotes inspiring stories. The original post went live on her personal page just one day earlier.
She wrote, "I kept my body covered up and hidden away. I told myself that one day I would finally let myself be seen; I would finally do all of the things I dreamed of when I was enough. Thin enough, happy enough, confident enough. When my body looked the way that it was 'supposed' to."
And in Miller's eyes, her body was finally at that point — the point in which she truly felt comfortable in her own skin no matter the societal reaction.
"You can see it all. Weird bulges and rolls of fat. Hanging excess skin. Stretch marks, cellulite, surgical and self harm scars. Awkward protrusion on my abdomen from my lap band," Miller wrote.
She explains in detail the amount of ridicule she endured in primary school, her efforts to join Weight Watchers at 7 and the traumatizing moment she first stood in line to take her "before" photo at weight loss camp just two years later.
Miller continues, shedding light on the dark path that continued with age. At 11, she was poked and prodded for weight loss surgery. Four years later, frustration grew, and she resorted to cutting herself.
But today, her outlook is much different — in fact, Miller is being recognized as a role model for her positive outlook that encourages those who are fighting a similar battle for self-acceptance.
"I want to learn to love all of myself, not just the parts I've been told are 'acceptable.' Because the secret is, I was always enough. And you are too."