18 May 2012

Oh, My, Bod.

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. There must have been messages out there that gave me something to judge myself by? 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, anxiety and emetaphobia as a child) my desire to achieve what I see ‘perfection’ in the mirror 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 has always been prettier, thinner, better dressed, less cellulite, got 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.

Don’t get me started on compliments. Compliments have equalled lies in my eyes. I don’t see how people could think I was attractive, how they might actually like my lumps and bumps? Weird. I don’t get it, I don’t see it, I don’t feel it. This is the most destructive bit, I don’t feel it, so everyone else it wrong, they’re lying to me. I realise this has to change, it's not a fair trial if I discard evidence is it? I'd make a really bad lawyer. 

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.  

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.

Of course, like I said, it’s not the only thing that 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. No body seems satisfued with what they've got. But I seem to take that to the extreme, sub consciously/  Plus, those VS models are still there, looking sort of, well, perfect aren’t they?

So where I don’t feel Body Image is ALWAYS directly linked with eating disorders, and no, not EVERY women who has issues with body image (name me a women that doesn’t, hard huh?) 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. It IS hard...very hard...and for me, body image was linked too. Society can be really screwed up - the ways certain ideals are pushed onto us from a young age. But the good news is that the body of people ready and willing to start changing things may really improve the self esteem out there. :-) I am an advocate for change. I'm going to promote self love, positive body image, and HEALTH and BEAUTY for every shape, size, color, etc and I won't stop until Change has happened! Talking about this stuff is so important - so don't shut up, keep talking. Keep saying its frustrating and wrong and horrible. We'll fight it. :-)