Bad body image days, we all have them. You may wake up one morning and feel completely dissatisfied at the person you see. Something as minor as the way you see yourself may subconsciously or consciously effect the food you eat, the amount of working out you do, how social you are, the way you act towards people, stress level, etc. I know because I struggled with this all the time, and still do sometimes. What has changed dramatically are my actions that respond to my feelings. I’ll give you an example:
Before: Wake up. Feeling bloated. Forget that dress I was going to wear, hoodie it is. Might as well not bother with makeup either. I think I’ll just have a protein bar and a piece of fruit instead of the french toast I know I’m craving… My brother is in the kitchen and it drives me CRAZY! Why do I feel like he’s staring at me all the time. I just want to eat in peace. *Snaps at brother when he says something* He leaves and I feel better. Since I have the day off, guess I better go to the gym and see how much I can sweat. It will make me feel SO much better about myself and then maybe I can treat myself. But then again, I am already bloated so that means I have gained weight and don’t need to eat anything remotely “unhealthy”. Oh well, I’ll feel better if I stay away from that. At least for now… *Checks body in the mirror every 30 minutes* Body image is getting worse and worse and I just wish today was over. Instead of watching TV with my parents or making plans with my friend tomorrow, I need to be alone. Alone. So I can be “in control” and so no one has to see me. Tomorrow is looking pretty similar.
Wow. That was like reliving something very personal and kind of sad to me. That was my life. Restriction, exercise, thinking about food all day, and distancing myself from people that loved me no matter what I looked like. Just because of the way I saw myself. The horrible thing is… I was very underweight and didn’t see it. Body dismorphia is REAL and can still happen if you are at a healthy weight but see yourself as “too big”. I think I may still struggle with it, but let’s take a look at how I react to body image currently.
Today: Wake up. Skip the body mirror, maybe take a long pee. Go downstairs for a yummy breakfast that I want. After breakfast, either wait to go lift or take a nice hot shower. I may look at my body in the mirror (don’t we all) and I may notice that I’m bloated. But I just had breakfast, and where does the food go? To your belly. So, that’s human right? Right. Food is going to your stomach to nourish your body and give you energy. I mean, if you don’t wanna bloat, might as well remove your vital organs… Oh wait…
I still tend to choose looser shirts or a hoodie but right now it’s winter and I’m all about comfort. In the summer, I aim for a tank top usually. If I’m feeling it, later on in the day I may take a walk around my neighborhood (which I would assume is a mile maybe..?) or if it’s too cold or I’m tired, I’ll take a nice nap to refresh myself. I actually think napping helps with my bloating (you can read about here). I still eat my 3 meals and 2-3 snacks every day no matter how I am feeling. It keeps my blood sugar normal and prevents me from obsessing about food as much. Plus, I LOVE snacks!
If I want pizza or ice cream, I let myself have it if I truly want it, no matter if I think I am “fat” or bloated or yadda yadda. All those feelings are temporary and you may feel completely different the next day! Exercising to make yourself feel better is only a temporary coping mechanism that really won’t fix the way you perceive yourself.
I’m telling you that no matter how much weight you lose or how much you run or how little you eat, it DOES NOT change the problem. Loving your body at it’s healthiest weight (getting your period and normal vitals) is what is going to change your life all around. You’ll argue less, have motivation to go out and dress up, and eating foods that you WANT.
Obviously, this is a process that takes hard work. I like to make a list of all the things that being at a healthy weight will bring me. I choose to tell myself that I AM beautiful when I may not feel like it. Surround yourself with people that make you feel like the ray of sunshine you are. Do things every day that make you feel happy! Take on a new hobby that you never thought you would enjoy. Take a friggen nap!
I have this hanging in my bathroom and see it every day:
Tell me something you love about yourself!
What is your favorite way to cope with body image?