Gina Zammit, 34, Norwalk, CT

This year, as part of our Take Back The Beach program, we are asking YOU to tell us about your experiences with body talk and self-perception. Below, one reader's story.

"You Don't Have A Weight Problem, But Look At How Many Calories That Has!"

This phrase was uttered by an employee of (ironically) a weight-loss supplement company. It was my first internship, and I was just 18 years old. This man was one of my superiors, and he was astounded at my "questionable" choice of a Gatorade as an afternoon pick me up.
This was not the first time that an adult had commented on my weight. A year prior, a well-respected teacher joked after I had lost a substantial amount of weight from being ill, that I needed to "eat a sandwich."
Both times, I awkwardly laughed off the comments and went about my day, never letting on that, inside, I was obsessing over their words. I will never know if their comments were meant to "help" me, but they did teach me something very valuable.
No matter how much weight you gain, lose, or maintain, worrying about what others think is a waste of time. I also learned something truly shocking from these interactions — that bullies are not relegated to playground antics, they come in all ages, genders, and, yes, sizes.
Since then, I have struggled, like most people, with fluctuating weight, due to many different life factors. But the reality is, no matter what the scale says, I am happy with who I am, the amount of sandwiches I consume, and, above all, my drink choices. Cheers!
#TakeBackTheBeach essays are meant to reflect individual women's experiences. They have only been lightly edited (if at all) by Refinery29 and do not necessarily reflect the company's point of view. Refinery29 in no way encourages illegal activity or harmful behavior.
Have a story of body image and self-perception that you want to share? Submit your essay to our Take Back The Beach contest here.

More from Body

R29 Original Series