My body image has been terrible this week. It started off as a seedling of anxiety and has steadily grown into an all-pervasive thought that is following me everywhere. There has been tears and frequent body checking and it was about to culminate in self-harm until I thought I would try blogging first to see if I could ride it out. Below I lay out the reasons why I am hating my body right now but once I get past the negativity you should be able to see my rationale voice come out (scroll down if you want to skip ahead to the positivity!).
Here are the reasons the body image bashers have been having a great time:
- My friend stayed with me last week and said ‘oh you’re mirror makes me look like I have really long legs, I love it” – I smiled and said ‘yeah it’s great isn’t it’ but inside I FREAKED as I clearly have been using a ‘kind’ mirror for the past year of weight gain and now can no longer trust it.
- Given the fake mirror issues above I took photos of myself in my underwear to see if I could get a true picture of what I look like. It was not pretty. I am ROUND.
- I have finally been cleared to run following my injury and I was horribly slow when I went out with the slower group last week – I have lost so much fitness. I did a parkrun this week and am 3 mins off my PB despite giving it my all.
- I am ‘home home’ this weekend and have gone through a load of old photos and across the years have seen my weight go up and down up and down but of thousands of photos I only thought I looked ‘thin enough’ in 3 of them. 3 out of thousands. I knew I had pudgy phases and while I thought I was fat at the time looking back now I didn’t realise how fat I was – I think in some I must have been in the overweight BMI category.
- I spent Friday with two friends who have had children recently and both of them are thinner than me.
- I have a tiny rash on my back and every time I scratch it I get a handful of flesh. ‘Back fat’ has always been one of my major concerns, and now every 10 minutes I have a reminder of it.
Now here are the reasons which suggest to me that body image is just that- an image- and that is my interpretation of my body and whether it’s true or not, it shouldn’t have any bearing on my getting on with my life.
- My clothes size has not changed
- My weight has not changed
- One of my friends who I was comparing myself to showed me a new pair of jeans she bought that were a size above what I wear (of course different shops are different sizes but I have a similar pair of jeans from the same shop so I should trust this mens I am not 2 sizes bigger than her).
- I know coming back to fitness will take time and I am grateful to just be able to run pain free that whatever pace it is shouldn’t matter.
- The photos I was looking at are from a variety of wonderful experiences, and of me getting to live in many different places, and have great holidays, and of fun memories- whatever size I am in them does not matter. If in five, ten, twenty years I want to be able to look back and think about more than what I ate that day, or what I looked like, I need to get past this. The weight in those photos is so not the point.
- I know my mirror is kind, and I know that I have looked in the gym mirrors and work mirrors etc. and felt okay some days and bad some other days, mirrors are how I see myself, not how others see me. I can buy a ‘neutral mirror’ to replace the other one– but if I’m having the same conversation with myself in another few months I need to accept it is ED talking not the mirror.
- Work and study are going well – this is unrelated to how my body looks.
- I fully believe that the most beautiful people in the world are the ones that exude a sense of acceptance and confidence from within, and that is what hope to be like- bashing myself up with thoughts like those above contraindicates this.
- I have my period at this weight (although I hate it) which means I am on the right track for having a baby at some point- which trumps visible ribs and a good side profile any day.
Whoosh – that was a bit of a rant! To sum up, I feel cr*p in my body but my mind is strong enough to know that it is not worth the tears or the hurt. My life is more than my body image.
On that note… I hope you all are doing okay and be kind to yourselves and your bodies x