11 December 2011

Body Gossiping about Body Image...

As part of Body Gossip's Body Image Advent I have been thinking about my own issues surrounding my ED and my Body Image.....

I’d like to believe I was immune to society’s pressure to look a certain way; I have attempted to convince myself I was for years. But when it boils down to it, something out there has contributed to the way in which I see myself when I look in the mirror. Perhaps it’s the constant comparing, the inability to take compliments and my on-going obsession over my ‘worst’ bits that skew what I see? Or perhaps, I need to admit, it’s actually ALL of the above?

Although my disordering eating started BEFORE I placed as much emphasis on ‘how I looked’ (a mix of OCD and emetaphobia as a child) my desire to achieve what I see ‘perfection’ has most definitely been a factor in developing Anorexia Nervosa.

In my eyes, people around me, whether we’re talking about models, celebrities, friends or strangers, they have always been prettier, thinner, better dressed, got less cellulite and have better hair (you get the picture) than me.  My obsession with comparing my body to others, usually unfavourably, drove me crazy. I believed that being the thinnest, the most ‘in control’ of my body would help me stop comparing and start accepting my body, because it would be perfect. I spent (and still spend) a lot time WISHING my body was different, teeth whiter, hair blonder, tummy flatter, and a lot of time moaning about these things to friends, again and again.

 I didn’t know what weight would make me happy, what measurements would make me ‘perfect’ and what at all would improve what I saw in the mirror. What do Victoria’s Secrets weigh and measure is a question I have often asked.  Of course, whatever goal I set, it moved when I got there because I wasn’t happy, yes, a lower weight MIGHT equal perfect and therefor happiness. I hate to admit it, but even before my obsession with the numbers on the scales in more recent years, I suppose I used society’s notion of the ‘perfect body’ as my scale as I was growing up.  I wanted to be top of the scale, but not knowing where I was starting from made that a little tricky.

 I could reel off to you all the things I HATE about my body, all the things I hated at a heavier weight too (they are the same by the way) You could try and tell me differently, you could attempt to give me a compliment, but it's falling on deaf ears. If I can't see it, you MUST be lying. I still do. I don't feel I look like I have an ED, I don't look anorexic? Emaciated? Why would she use that adjective for me? I'm not the 'E' word, I'm just a bit thinner that before? This is BDD. This is how I think.

Of course, like I said, my BDD not the only thing that has led to my eating disorder, but I do think it plays a large part in halting my recovery. With the help of my therapist and dietician I can start to restore weight and health, start eating a more nutritional diet and working a way out of the control of AN, but it’s me that has to start accepting my body to move forwards. 

However, developing a less discorded picture of my own body is proving difficult when every women I know moans about their body, wants to change numerous things, is making 2012 the year they stick to Weight Watchers or getting their teeth whitened. Plus, those VS models are still there aren’t they?

So where I don’t feel Body Image is ALWAYS directly linked with eating disorders, and not EVERY women who has issues with body image DEVELOPS an eating disorder, when both eating and body image are both disordered, it can be a long, hard road to improve your relationship with food and to accept your body for what it is, imperfections and all. I should know. I’m trying now. 

1 comment :

  1. I understand completely. I am so aware that I have a distorted perception of what I see in the mirror. When I don't like what I see, I try and try to remind myself that I can't trust my eyes or the mirror. Through practice (lots of practice!) we can see ourselves with more love and compassion and less criticism. Wonderful post!