confession #2: my body image
My next confession: I’m not happy with my appearance.
I actually had to think about how I wanted to phrase that. I thought “I don’t like the way I look”, “I hate my body”, “I don’t think I’m pretty”. Those all seemed so harsh. It’s not that I am completely displeased with how I look, but I am not completely pleased either.
Most of us have things about our physical self that we’d like to change and would change if we could. I’ve always struggled with self body-image. I understand that I am not fat. I would never say that I’m fat. There are definitely parts of my body that are larger than I want them to be, but most people looking at me wouldn’t think there is anything wrong or fat about me.
I have a love/hate relationship with food. I love food, but hate what it does to my body. Easy enough to understand.
Going through this break-up, I lost about 7 pounds. In the initial week and a half, I dropped almost 10 pounds from starving myself (not on purpose). Since I’ve resumed eating, I’ve gained 2-3 pounds back (depends on the day). While my intention before the break-up was to lose 10 pounds, it certainly wasn’t the way I wanted it to happen.
That said, I am happy to have lost the weight. I mean, given the option, I’d rather be at that same heavier weight and still in my relationship. But I digress.
Here’s where I admit that my head is completely messed up when it comes to food/weight/appearance. I am going to apologize ahead of time for what is going to be a rambling, bumbling post of my insane thoughts.
After I lost the weight, I could see my ribcage. And liked it. Liked it a lot. Maybe too much. Seeing ribs is not necessarily an attractive sight. But to me, seeing ribs meant that I was thin enough to appear bony and bony equals skinny in my warped mind. I want to see ribs. I want to have a concave stomach. The slightest little belly bulge (on myself) makes me frown. I look at my arms and just see fat. I believe my self-image is much harsher than the average person.
While I am super critical of how my body looks, I am not in the least critical of other people and how they look. I can look at other people and think they look perfectly fine the way they are. But myself? Never. I never think I look good (thin) enough.
I’ve even had the effed up thought of being afraid of ever getting pregnant, because what would happen if I gained too much weight? This is from someone who wants to have kids. But gaining weight (the 25-30 pounds that is normal and healthy with pregnancy) scares the hell out of me. And I am completely aware that you can exercise and watch what you eat while pregnant.
Here’s another example of my messed up way of thinking. In the past, I thought about controlling my food intake to the extreme – as in eating disorder. I could have never been anorexic. In general, I love food too much. I love to eat. BUT, I could totally see myself having been bulimic. The only reason I’m not a full-fledged raging bulimic? I can’t make myself vomit. I’ve tried. Multiple times at various points of my late teens/early 20’s. How sick is it that I tried to become a bulimic, even when I know how horrible it is for your body (not to mention mind)? There’s no need to worry about me becoming bulimic. I won’t ever.
I don’t think I suffer from body dysmorphia. It’s not like I see my ribs and flat belly and still think I look fat. I recognize the areas that look thinner or smaller, but seeing them feeds into my need to see the ribs stick out a little more, to see my belly suck in a little more, to see my hip stick out more prominently. It’s a little like a drug. And that drug sticks in my mind and makes me not want to eat. Please don’t think that I don’t eat. I do eat, because I get hungry. But only because I get hungry, not because I want to. I believe the reason I’ve kept most of the weight off is because I only eat when I have to.
I think a big reason I yield such control over how/when I eat is because it’s something I do have control over (and that kind of stems from an eating disorder mind-set). Right now, I’ve lost control over my love life. But I do have control over how much food I consume. Eating disorders most of the time stem from needing to control something – one aspect of your life. While I am probably what most would consider a prime candidate for developing an eating disorder, I assure you all that I am way too rational and logical to. I promise you don’t have to worry about that.
I just need to work on accepting my body for what it is. It’s a vessel that has served me well so far, and probably will for years to come. I love my body for how it serves me. But I hate they way I think about it. 😦