We all do it. Looking in the mirror at our reflection. Do you pick yourself apart because you don’t look a certain way? Have parts of yourself that you absolutely hate? This hate affects your day to day activities because you feel self conscious or worry that you are being judged. This is also known as body dysmorphia.
“Body dysmorphic disorder (body dysmorphia) describes a condition where a person can’t stop thinking about one or more perceived flaws with her appearance. The flaw can either be minor or one that is imagined. Seen from an outside perspective, the obsession with these flaws will seem unnecessary or baseless, but to the person, her appearance seems so shameful and distressing that in some cases she won’t want to be seen by anyone.Body dysmorphia has sometimes been called imagined ugliness. Body dysmorphic disorder is also occasionally referred to as dysmorphophobia, or the fear of having a deformity.” —Timberline Knolls
I used to struggle (and still have some days) with my body image. I used to stare into windows, mirrors or other shiny surfaces at my reflection in total disgust over what I was seeing. Always picking myself apart. Scoffing at my muffin top, thick thighs or whatever my hair was doing on that day. I was sad. I couldn’t grasp that I didn’t look like the models in the magazines or the celebrities on TV.
Even after losing 40 lbs, I was still unhappy until I decided that I wanted to feel differently. It wasn’t my body that needed to change, it was my mind.
Why was I letting society and a bunch of people that didn’t know me, or give a shit about my happiness dictate how I should look and feel about my body? I was letting it affect me. It was why I would go on restrictive, low – calorie diets and over exercise. I had struggled with this as far back as I could remember.
WHERE WAS THIS MINDSET OF COMPARISON AND NEEDING TO FIT IN GETTING ME?
Once, I had fully committed to allowing myself to love my body, my life started to change. It was awesome. Truly allowing myself to feel good about my body image, I was no longer looking for validation of my appearance outside of myself.
I started dressing for my body as it was, instead of how I used to thought it ought to be. I got help finding clothing that emphasized my great legs and strong arms. I embraced my scars from soccer and life in general. Acknowledging that each came with a lesson. (One being, don’t put a bottle ledge in the bench for indoor soccer.) I stopped trying to become someone else. I allowed myself to be me. My people pleasing mentality quickly disappeared. I became the rebel that I always knew I had in me. I spoke my mind with no apologies. I learned how to style my curly hair in a way that made me feel beautiful. I began wearing less make up. I didn’t need to hide my freckles anymore.
I allowed myself to be confident. I allowed myself to feel good about my body image. Yup, I gave myself permission.
I’m 5’9 and 157 lbs. I play competitive soccer and weight train. I will never be petite. I am “strong like bull” and incredibly hard to knock over. I love food and the occasional beer. I refuse to diet. I refuse to be anything other than what I want to be. I am rebelling against media and magazines dictating what beauty looks like. Every woman is beautiful. Yes, even as you are right now.
I am determined to support women in overcoming being their own worst enemy. It isn’t quick and easy. You have to be prepared to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty. Do the work, dig into your demons and look at your bigger picture.