Growing up as a teenager in the 90’s – the generation of pop stars were the image of perfection. A beautiful body was standardized by beautiful pop sensation such as, Beyonce, Britney and Xtina. With that said, the bar was set quite high for what the ideal body type should look like. The prerequisite was a six pack of abs and toned tummy. Every girl in my high school wanted to be them and look like them, including me.
Recently, I looked through photos of adolescent past, to my dismay, at a time I thought I “ looked fat” I was in fact far from it! I am sure at some point, no matter who we are we’ve experienced this moment.
I did not know how to confront it or how to talk about it without feeling ashamed or judged.
In my late mid 20’s I had to come to terms with the fact that I had been secretly struggling with Body Dysmorphia. I did not know how to confront it or how to talk about it without feeling ashamed or judged. Once in college, my natural womanly curves began protruding through my small 5’2 frame which had always been quite slinder up until that point. This included having fuller hips, and chest! Although I was still under a size 4 “I felt fat.”
I defined my body image through the eyes of others, how they saw me.If they told me I was gaining weight I believed them.If they told me I looked heavier I took their word at face value over my own thoughts.
As time went on, I had experienced many more episodes where I’d feel fat, and realizing shortly after I actually was not. It was time for me to confront my body disorder so I could beat it. My body dysmorphia worked both ways. When I in fact did really gain weight I felt skinny, and on the contrary when I was really fit I felt fat. I had to get a hold of this because it was literally destroying my life and deflating myself confidence the older I got.
It wasn’t until I met my fiance and our journey to marriage the spell of body dysmorphia was exposed for what it truly was. Before him, I felt I needed to be fit and confident to attract a partner. I believe many women feel that way, that is in fact the deception body dysmorphia creates in our minds. Actually, when I met my partner I was probably at a size most would perceive as ideal. Although I was on a good diet regimen, sleep plan, and good balance with work. I was suffering from depression, loneliness which I am sure also contributed to my weight loss.
In just a year’s time of dating he proposed. Within that year of dating, I gained weight; the infamous relationship weight one gets from the complacency and comfort of being coupled up. With my new voluptuous figure I had to try on wedding gowns. It was a tough process having to go through when dealing with body dysmorphia, but I mustered through it. I set out from that day forward to lose weight.
However such goals, if we are not careful can add more stress to an already highly anxious situation, such as getting married.I learned the hard way.I began work- out regimens and dieting that did the reverse and added more stress to an already stressed out bride-to-be, and the reverse thing happened, I gained more weight! I went up almost two entire sizes. Shortly, I also hit a workout plateau I could not recover from which sent me into a depression. My fiance noticed my hard work and understood my discouragement. He encouraged me to take a step back some time away from it all.
I allowed myself a week and a half of recovery time.During that time I discovered more about weight loss plateau.According to further research, I found out that your body recognizes stress the same, whether it’s good stress (working out) or stressed about something like a wedding; it all receives the same message YOU ARE STRESSED GIRL! So after more in depth research, I decided to trade in my high impact workouts for low impact ones.
You maybe wondering what does this have to do with body dysmorphia? Well the two are interconnected in many ways. My weight loss journey helped me to identify with my body disorder on a more personal level. It helped me to accept my weight and body. I realised my motives when working out, the work I was doing to my body wasn’t for it but to it. The connection was the mental aspect.It wasn’t until I decided to change the dialogue I was having with myself. One day I decided to tell myself, “Its ok. You are ok the weight you are, you are still fucking gorgeous.” And I chose to truly believe that.
Miraculously, as the day went on, affirmation begin to fall at my feet after accepting myself truly and fully. I came across a quote on instagram that read, “You can never truly feel at home in a body that you view as temporary!” Later that evening ,I looked at a picture I took earlier that day and I was shocked, to my dismay, I appeared more lean. I thought how is that possible? You see, a major part of the disorder for those suffering from body dysphoria is our perception. When my perception changed so did the way I viewed my body.
I am not saying it’s as easy as looking in the mirror and saying kind words to yourself, because it is not. It about acceptance. We must accept ourselves as we are, it simply starts there.As hard and dedicated as I was working to get more fit, I looked in the mirror each day thinking, this is only temporary. By doing this I wasn’t accepting my body.
Love The Skin you’re in!
I admire beautiful curvy women such as Ashley Graham, Angela Simmons ( who works out religiously), Shayla “makeupbyshayla”, and British Model Iskra. I’ve always wondered what their secret to body confidence was. Alast, now that I am on the other side, I get it. It was about acceptance, it was about them accepting who they were entirely. It is about having confidence that you are enough in the body you are in NOW.
I’ve come to appreciate the woman body even more. We come in all different shapes and sizes. Our bodies are quintessential to what makes us so intrepid and fearless! With accepting our bodies we must accept throughout our lives they will change, however we greatly designed for such change. Carrying babies, maintaining a career, a household, running around (or after) kids can contribute to the physical changes of our bodies. Both physically and mentally we are designed to carry ourselves and others. I find that to be remarkable!
I will constantly have to work on my body dysmorphia, but getting to the root of the problem now allows me the freedom to discover my truth in the body I have now. It all stems from self- love. I will be getting married in 2 months and currently I can wear anything from a size 8-12. My goal is a true -fitting 8, but I told myself I will be comfortable and confident either way. Now I know for sure I will be ok, because now I am ok with who I see in the mirror everyday.
Whoever you are reading this, just know, who you see in the mirror today she is lovely and she is enough. It isn’t until we accept this image of her that we can progress in truly loving the skin we are in. If you or anyone else you may know is suffering from body dysmorphia, its ok to talk about it. I encourage you not to covet those feelings,because I know they can be a great detriment to our inner growth. Talk about it, discuss it.It’s time to start the journey to becoming a healthy more acceptant you.