Body image is something that’s always been a problem for me, and most people I think. The majority of people have some kind of ‘problem’ area. For me, it’s my legs, bum, hips & stomach. Not much then?
I remember when my problem with weight and body image started. I was at 6th form at the time, so around 16/17. Until this moment, I never worried about it. But one day sitting in the common room, I remember looking at somebody and noticing how thin she was. She wasn’t ‘skinny’ but she had a good shape; everything was in proportion if that makes sense. And I started to then compare my own body to that of others my age. This is why I now have problems I believe; because I compare myself to others.
Every individual is different, unique! Unless you’re a twin/triplet etc, there will be nobody with the exact same looks or personality as you. There is only 1 of you in the world. Yet we constantly look at others and wish we had ‘their legs’ or ‘their figure’. Why are we so desperate to look ‘perfect’ when perfection is impossible. It is impossible to be perfect to everyone in the world because there will always be people who disagree with your definition of perfect. And you’ll never reach your own definition of perfect because you’ll always want more.
My problems with my weight became something I obsessed over, and when I first became unwell I started to restrict my diet in order to lose weight. However, during a psychiatric admission, one of the drugs they put me on increased my apetite and my eating went completely the other way. I felt I couldn’t control it, if I saw food I wanted it. I craved shit foods and the cravings always got the better of me. I piled the weight on. Eventually I had to come off that drug because of this. Slowly from then (that was 2006) my weight reduced. Then I was diagnosed with Chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia and found exercise hard on my body. I started to sometimes overuse laxatives or make myself sick to try and get as much out of my body as I could. I was so irrational at times, and when working with the eating disorders service, I was convinced I needed to lose more weight; despite weighing about 7 stone and coming in as very underweight. It’s only recently I’ve stopped fretting as much about food, diet and weight. I won’t weigh myself as I know this can act as a trigger. If I weigh more than I imagine I do it’s a disaster. And I know my weight is up at the moment so I daren’t.
I have always been somebody who is ‘picky’ when it comes to food. And if it comes to dinner time and I’m not hungry, I can’t eat. It makes me physically bork to try eating if I don’t feel hungry. I try to be ‘healthy’ but it is harder than ever now with all the fast food, ping meals and snacks. That’s me being lazy though and something I need to work on.
My point is, everybody at some point will understand what it’s like to be unhappy with a part of or all of their body. And when you focus on your problem area, the ‘problem’ becomes bigger; you are basically zooming in on that problem area and seeing more and more of a problem.
I now try to focus on what I do like about myself. If somebody asked me what I like most about myself it would be… My eyelashes. Such a small thing, but better than nothing. So instead of looking at your problem area, discover what you like about yourself. Remember there is nobody like you; comparing yourself to others will simply lead you down the road to hell. It will drive you closer towards unhappiness. You can’t be somebody else, and no matter how hard you try, it will not change who you are!