When someone's in the spotlight all the time, like 26-year-old actress Katie Stevens, it's easy to forget that they suffer from some of the same problems as all of us—including (and maybe especially) when it comes to body image. But the star of Freeform's hit show The Bold Type recently opened up on Instagram about her own struggles with body image in the past, and how long it took her to finally feel comfortable with what she saw in the mirror.
Posing in just a sports bra and leggings in front of some weights at the gym, Stevens revealed that she's never really felt confident in front of the camera—at least when she's baring more skin than usual. "Okay. Real talk," she wrote. "Ive never felt confident posting a photo in my workout clothes, much less a bathing suit. But that’s because I’ve never felt 100% confident in my skin."
She went on to explain that when she was younger, she still had an "unhealthy obsession with what it meant to be fit," even though she was athletic, and didn't necessarily have social media like Instagram or Facebook, as it exists today. "I cant imagine what it would’ve done to my already fragile mental state," she wrote. "I didn’t have the image of picture perfect instagrammers staring back at me, but I already wanted to be like anybody but myself."
Stevens said she never suffered from an eating disorder, but couldn't "look in the mirror and see what others saw in me."
Now, years later, Stevens says she feels proud of herself. "I love who I am," she wrote. "I finally, within the last year or so, feel like i’m developing a better relationship with my body, with food, with my thoughts, and in turn, with the people around me." In doing that Stevens says she's working out now simply because "it feels good," and that she eats "good food without punishing myself."
Of course, the occasional negative thought still slips in, but Stevens allows those "thoughts to come and go as they please but I don’t carry them through my day like heavy anchors." Instead, she uses her own self love, along with love from friends and fans, to anchor her, "to ground me and make me feel strong."
Stevens says that, while it's still a work in progress, "I see and feel myself changing. The physical changes are more visible, but the mental changes are more powerful." She also ended her post with a reminder to her fans about how they see themselves: "Self love is a journey, and no one ever has it figured out," she wrote. "You’re all enough exactly as you are, just look in the mirror and remind yourself."