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.

7 thoughts on “Struggling With Body Image

  1. marti @fitwithheart says:

    can totally relate girl – and i swear hormones have a lot to do with it! the scale can mess with my mind too and have me seeing things or thinking things that just aren’t true! the negative thoughts can REALLY sneak in and say some nasty things – here is how i’ve been dealing..

    stay consistent in my nutrition and workouts – remember WHY i love to workout – think about how food is medicine and think about HEALTH and all that i’m grateful for….the amazing things my body has done, can do and has overcome. – also putting the focus on others helps TREMENDOUSLY!

    • sarah4rdfl@gmail.com says:

      Ugh yes hormones for sure! I love how you said remembering why you love working out- its not for aesthetics, it’s for the feeling of strength and power and the pride I feel in my body’s capabilities. Helping others and reaching out to someone struggling is also a great way to get out of your own head. Thank you so much for reading Marti!

  2. Aunt Tracy says:

    Beautifully written. I wish I could say it goes away but it doesn’t. For us when we start focusing on food or our bodies there’s something else we aren’t quite accepting of in our lives. It’s a reminder to look beyond and dig a little deeper. I’m so proud of you Sarah and the journey you are on. Recovery is a lifelong one and the gifts outmeadure the dark days!

  3. Julia @ Drops of Jules says:

    I think body image definitely has been one of the strongest, lingering holds in my recovery. You are beautiful because you are Sarah. Not because your thighs are a certain circumference. I think it is so beneficial of you to pour out these thoughts- it helps you process them! I’m always thinking of you as our struggles are so similar.

    something I love about myself: my freckles. 🙂
    Julia @ Drops of Jules recently posted…Minnie Maud: Would I go back and change anything? (MM Update)My Profile

    • sarah4rdfl@gmail.com says:

      Thank you Julia, we are so similar and I relate to you so much. I also love your freckles, you are the cutest, and like you said, we are beautiful just for being ourselves!

  4. Jennifer @ Fit Nana says:

    Body image is tough. There are days when I look in the mirror and I get so frustrated by what I see. And then, there are days when I look and I actually like what I see. It’s hard – especially when we’re confronted with all these glossy images in magazines and pretty images on social media. And then we fall deep into that comparison trap. Why can’t I look good like that? Why can’t my stomach look like that? Hell, I would be happy with a good hair day at least 4 times I week! (Is that too much to ask?)

    The one thing I sometimes have to force myself to remember is those images do NOT define who that person is. And I am not defined by whatever part of my body I’ve decided to beat myself up over that day. I am defined by the type of person I am, the choices I make, and how I treat, respect, and love other people, and not what size pants or shirt I wear.

    What do I love about myself? My triceps. 🙂
    Jennifer @ Fit Nana recently posted…SURGERY AND THE THIRD WEEK: AKA THE WEEK THE ANGER SET INMy Profile

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