Struggling With Body Image

I want to preface this post by saying that it is darker in mood. Recovery isn’t always rainbows and butterflies. I want to be honest and true to myself by sharing every stage of the journey- because it’s important to be real.  

They say that body image is the last to go in recovery. I don’t know how accurate that statement is for everyone, but for me it definitely holds a lot of truth.

I have been struggling with body image and body dysmorphia these past few weeks. I write posts about reframing the negative thoughts, but in all honesty, it has been hard to practice what I preach.

It started about a week and a half ago after an eventful weekend where many pictures were taken. I saw pictures of myself and the thoughts just started pouring in:

“Your thighs are fucking huge, you need to start running more to get leaner. Just lose 5 pounds, no one will know…”

These thoughts and similar ones have been streaming through my head for almost two weeks. It sucks, and I have been trying to distract myself for a while and push the thoughts away, but that only makes them louder when they do come back.

It’s embarrassing for me to write this, to admit that I think I look fat or am unsatisfied with my body. My thighs in particular bother me. I have been insecure about them since I was a little girl, and throughout the years in my eating disorder and now in recovery, they have been the area of my body that I fixate on in a very negative way.

I know logically I am not fat. I know how much I weigh and the number on the scale tells me that there is no way in hell that at 5’4 and 20 years old that I could ever be fat. In fact, logically I am on the smaller end.

But I just don’t see it. And is scares me.

It scares me that, apparently, I don’t see myself how others see me- for how I really look. It scares me that I can look in a mirror literally minutes apart and see something completely different each time. I feel crazy, which makes it incredibly difficult to talk to others about my body image woes, because they just say I look  “great/beautiful/hot/perfect.” But I just don’t see it.

I had a very good therapy session the other day. We analyzed the pictures together and while it was difficult, I gained a lot of insight from it. I am putting all of my self worth into this tiny area of my body. Not only that, but I am letting this 1% area of my body to ruin my mood. It’s ridiculous!

Finally, I showed her the Instagram account of a woman I look up to, Taylor Chamberlain. She has overcome an eating disorder herself and is now a dietetics grad and a very successful bikini bodybuilder. Her approach to health and fitness is so healthy and her physique is #goals. We have a similar build and I aspire to build a similar physique someday. Anyway… I showed a picture of her to my therapist and said “I think her legs look incredible and would love to have legs like her.” To which my therapist pointed out that this woman’s legs are bigger than mine are- so how is it that I think this woman is so beautiful and I like her legs- but my own legs are “fat.”

See the issue?

It is not about weight or the size of my thighs. It is about accepting myself and knowing that I am enough.

I hold myself to these expectations (in all areas of my life, not just body image) and put ridiculous amount of pressure on myself to “have it all together.” In doing that, I am missing out on the present, and forgetting to be grateful for where I am in the moment. I need to start loving myself right now, and being okay with where I am and trusting that I will get where I want to be.

Thank you for listening to my rambles, I hope it wasn’t too doom and gloom today.

Tell me…

Do you struggle with body image?
What has helped you cope when you are struggling?
And lastly, tell me something you love about yourself!

 

linking up with Thinking out Loud on Amanda’s blog.

NEDAwareness: I Fight for Her

In honor of NEDA Week 2017

I fight for her

There will be hard days in recovery. Sometimes I contemplate restricting or over exercising. But, there is something inside me that keep me fighting, a fire inside me that refuses to succumb to anorexia.

It’s her. And all those like her.

She is the reason I advocate for eating disorder recovery and awareness.

I fight because I never want to see another innocent little human go through the struggles that I did. I don’t want her to think that her worth is based on her body. Rather, I want her to be strong and fearless, and refuse to succumb to the standards of society.

I fight for my future children. They will look up to me, and see a strong woman. I will teach them love and confidence by emulating it. I want to be their role model; show them that true beauty shines from within.

This is a letter to my inner little girl, and all the sweet, beautiful little ones out there. It’s time to talk about it #NEDAwareness

Dear Sweet Baby Girl,

Do you know how beautiful you are? From the moment you were born, you have been perfect. You are perfect because you are imperfect. Your beauty is in your flaws.

Sweet girl, you need to know that your self-worth does not depend on your body. You are not an object be desired or lusted after. You are a person, with a beautiful heart and soul and intelligent mind. Baby girl, you were put on this world to live, to love and to be happy.

You are not on this Earth to please every person you meet. People will come and go in your life, and you cannot possibly please all of them while staying happy and healthy yourself.  Please baby girl, know that anyone who brings you down is not worth the time.

Be yourself little one. Be authentic and unapologetically you. People love you for your personality- not just for your beautiful face and definitely not for your body. It is your smile and joyful laugh, your caring nature- how you make them feel- that is why they love you.

Most importantly baby girl, you need to learn to love yourself. You are worth the love. Do not hurt your precious body trying to fit an impossible ideal. Your health is your greatest wealth and that you can never be truly happy by placing your self-worth solely on your body. You are so much more than that.

I know you will learn all of this someday. I hope you learn it sooner that later. Life is too short to be unhappy baby girl. Your life is precious and your future is so very bright.

Selfies: An Exercise in Self-Love

Self-love is a concept that I have struggled with for over half my life. Since choosing “real” recovery, it is something that I am constantly striving towards. I have come a long way in how I view myself and my body, but there is still a lot of work to be done.

Pictures of myself are one of the things that triggers my eating disorder voice, or “inner critic”, to start in on the hate. It’s awful the way I can talk to myself sometimes, and when I write is out, it is truly horrifying.

I would never speak to anyone else the way I speak to myself, and I know that I have a distorted perception of my body.

So I decided to do a little exercise. The only way to stop the hate, is to counteract it with love.

At first this exercise will make you roll your eyes, but hear me out: Counter the hateful comments with a comment made out of love.

Selfies: An Exercise in Self-Love

Inner Critic: “I don’t look fit at all.”

Voice of Love: “Girl, you look strong and healthy!”

*It is ridiculous for me to think I could be fat or big. I have gained 14  much needed pounds since August. Logically I know I am not fat or “big” based on my height and weight, but my ED/Inner Critic can be ruthless. 

Inner Critic: “My cheeks are getting chubby, my eyes are too squinty.”

Voice of Love: “I like my hair, and I am so lucky to have such a handsome, amazing boyfriend who loves me.”

*This was taken on Valentine’s Day, a day meant for love. Remembering how much I have to be grateful for also helps to silence my inner critic.

Inner Critic: “Ugh I have huge bags under my eyes. What made me think I should take a selfie- I look like crap.”

Voice of Love: “I am aloud to love myself and take pictures when I feel like it.”

*I took this while I was writing this post. Tired after a long day, but wanted to make a point that selfies can be a part of the healing process. 

It is powerful to write out these hateful comments, it makes you see how degrading they are. Not only that, but they serve no purpose other than making you feel awful about yourself.

After you write down the comment from your inner critic, find something positive or loving to say to yourself.

The Take Home

It may be difficult at first. But look at the selfie or picture and tell yourself something that you would tell a friend. Compliment the person looking back at you in the picture. Tell her she is beautiful, that her eyes are full of sparkle, or that she is owning that little black dress.

The more you practice looking at a picture and shutting down any negative comments by replacing them with positive messages, the easier it will become. The goal is that one day, that inner critic will no longer even make a peep. You will automatically look at yourself with loving eyes, full of compassion and self-love.

 

 

Linking up with Amanda for Thinking Out Loud this week.

#1 Reason Why You Didn’t Get Her Number

I have come to the conclusion that there needs to be a college course required for all males (and honestly females too) on dating and relationship etiquette, specifically on how to appropriately approach a female if they want any hope of any future conversations or interactions.

And Tip #1 is introduce yourself.

I felt compelled to write this post because twice in the past 3 weeks I have been asked for my number by two different boys (I say boys because a man would not do this) and both of them did not introduce themselves or ask my name- what is that about?!

This is how I was approached

Boy: “Hey so, I was just wondering, can I have your number?

Me: “Umm, you wanna tell me your name?”

 

I’m sorry, but why the heck would I give you my number if you didn’t even ask my name or tell me yours? Like what are you going to put me in your phone as? Hot Girl From Gym?

Come on now.

With the second guy I spent a little time talking to him about what he should do next tip.

 

Steps to Asking a Female for Her Number

1.Introduce yourself

Hey, my name is Joe, what’s your name?

2.Have a little conversation before going in for the kill.

And I mean more than “You’re hot.” Actually ask things like ”What are you studying… oh ya I took a class like that last semester, who is your professor?”

3.Then if the female doesn’t look freaked out or very uncomfortable, you may ask her for her number.

“So, it was really nice talking to you [insert female’s name], I was wondering if I could get your number?”

Boom, easy.

 

Now, I understand it is hard for guys. I can imagine it must be nerve racking approaching a woman you find attractive. The threat of rejection is definetly there, but if you take the time to actually talk to the girl, I can promise you your odds of getting those digits will go up by at least 80%.

Disclaimer, I am not single and am in a very loving and committed relationship with an amazing man. So, these boys that approached me had no chance from the get go, but the message here for my girls is: do not settle for anything less than a gentleman.

 

 

Linking up with Amanda for Thinking Out Loud this week.