*Mental health Awareness Week*
M.H.A.W. 2019 is about Body Image, so I wanted to be open and discuss how my own body image issues crop up, how it makes me feel, and how I try to get past it.
It’s not just the beautiful clothes, hairstyles, or makeup, it’s the women themselves. They look beautiful. They look like themselves, confidently and wholly. And that makes me ill at ease. That makes me jealous. That makes me obsess and compare and get tired and bitter without even realising that I’m doing it.
I’ve recently deleted the app from my phone.
The same goes for Instagram. I’m on Instagram less because I’m more aware of these comparisons, though. These slim bodies, pretty outfits, and picture-perfect faces. I wish to every God that I could look like them! That my face didn’t look fat nowadays; that my mouth didn’t look crooked in photos.
Again, every now and then I delete the app.
Being intimate with my partner
Anyone in a relationship or trying to look good for someone will get this. I find myself breathing in when around my partner. I feel self-conscious when undressed or in tight-fit clothing.
I used to look so good, but now I have rolls and stretch marks and excess fat in places I never imagined. This makes me feel less sexy. Less attractive to him. It makes me feel less in the mood to be intimate.
Feeling the jiggle when I run is very off-putting. I feel weird and very aware of myself. I start to overanalyse and get self-conscious and of course, that’s no mindset to be in when trying to run! I feel this the most in my bum and my thighs. They’re weighted and extra and it feels foreign.
Trying on old clothes and realising that they no longer fit is a great way to put yourself in an awful mood. Yes, we all grow and change, but it’s sad when it’s your favourite items. Items that you once looked sexy in. I have given away so many clothing items that no longer fit, and it hurt my heart to do so.
I know it’s just clothes, and we should never tie our self-worth to material things, but it does suck.
Worrying about new purchases due to size fluctuations really sucks, too. On the one hand, you want or “need” a new item and so you should just get it in a comfortable size that fits. But on the other hand, you’re trying to lose weight so what’s the point? But then the weight loss could take ages (it nearly always does), so what then?
It’s a real headache.
I’ve chosen to buy items that are stretchy or can be altered, so if I do lose the weight, I can still wear them later.
A number on the scales
Trying not to feel like a number on the scales is important to loving your “dissatisfactory” body. But it’s bloody hard. I think, though I’m not actually sure, that I’ve lost size.
My waist doesn’t look quite as big as last year – though this could be my perspective and perception making it seem so. But the scales say the same thing. So, it’s hard to know what’s real. It’s hard to know what to do, what’s right, which scales are right, and everything else.
You suddenly feel like a number, and that number is often not one you’re pleased with.
I’ve come to weigh myself less often now. I go to the doctors for check-ups and birth control, and so I get weighed then, but other than that, not really. I want to work on myself but that will only happen if I can change my mindset.
So, I choose to see the change in my physical appearance, whether it’s real or not. And I will look after my body because I love it, not because I hate the number on the scales.
In the mornings, the towel drops and you see your body in the mirror. Some days, I’ll admit, I’m not displeased. I’m like, “Hey, you look alright!”
But other days, I zone in on the weird curves and rolls. The purple, crinkled stretch marks on my hips, thighs, and knees. The bulge of my thighs before they reach the knees. It’s a weird, disproportionate body that I can’t believe is mine compared to the slim girl I was 2 years ago…
My unrecognisable face in photos
I think my biggest issue is the fact that I seemed to gain the weight out of nowhere. One day I was slim, the next I’d “ballooned” as my mother had said. I had no transition.
I’ve come to terms with my body, really, though I have down days. It’s the face that still bothers me. My face is so round and I’ve gained two chins and I just can’t believe it. I look unrecognisable to the girl I was 2 years ago.
When taking a photo now, I’m always conscious of my chins, lifting my face as much as I can.
Both in the gym and when seeing fitness accounts on social media, I begin to play the comparison game. She’s slimmer, has better proportions, better ass, better strength, better…
It’s hard not to compare when feeling at your lowest. It’s hard not to see all that you’re not capable of being or doing.
The truth is, guys, we all have times when our bodies don’t seem enough. We compare, we poke and prod, we zone in on the flaws, and we hate ourselves. But that is no good. Our bodies are our homes! Just like your physical home, you must take care of it. Clean it, fill it with good things, shape it to be something that is an expression of you.
Hating your body doesn’t fix it.
There is no sense in comparison, for you can’t switch bodies. Instead, love and accept your body, then from there choose to make the right decision for the health of that body that you love.
If you are unhealthy, please love yourself enough to look after yourself. It’s not a big task and it needn’t take over your life. You’ll probably find, as I have, that small, routine changes that soon become a natural habit are all it takes to eventually see a difference.
View your pursuit of health and happiness as a path to freedom…
If you need any help in bettering your mental health, or better coping with anxiety, depression, and stress, then my book “You’re As Mad As I Am” may be for you. Check it out here, and download a free sample to see what it’s all about.
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