For you long time readers, you know this is something I struggle with constantly. Usually because I panic about everything (and I mean everything) blowing it out of proportion. I put such enormous pressure on myself that my concept of reality gets skewed and I end up in a state of anxiety for a week, walking on eggshells. So it shouldn't be surprising that this skewed perception transfers to other aspects of my life. Like oh say, weight and body image. As I've said before I've been blessed with athleticism and good genetics and have never been overweight a day in my life, nor have I ever had terrible eating habits. Well, terrible as in all I ate was junk food. I definitely have had terrible eating (or lack thereof) habits in the past.
(welcome to my college life)
So how does this happen? I wish I knew. But I can honestly tell you, when I look in the mirror at home what I see, does not match reality. How do I know this? When I look in the mirror at home, I see someone who is out of shape, flabby and needs to lose probably 20lbs. It's such a strange feeling because I know that what I'm seeing isn't right but it's still there. Like a hallucination. It's frustrating to someone who takes pride in being rational and logical, that no matter how much I tell myself I am in shape and don't need to (can't even afford to!) lose 20lbs I just don't see it. However, every once and a while, I will be out somewhere: the mall, on a run, out at the bars, and I will catch a glimpse of my reflection and think...omg I'm skinny! At that moment what I'm seeing IS reality. I see the girl who ran a 20K this summer, goes to the gym 4-5 days a week and eats a balanced diet (daily!). I see myself and that is what I hold onto and remember everyday. I don't spend time in front of mirrors, I don't own a scale and I don't allow myself to compare myself to others. It's a slippery slope for me.
My friend and co-worker has worked so hard to get healthy and in shape and lost over 30lbs since January. She shared her weight with me a couple weeks ago and it was the same as mine. She is 3 inches taller than me. My brains immediate response was: You need to lose 10lbs. Because I'm shorter I should weigh less. I mentally slapped myself in the face after that.
I'm far better off than I was in high school and college. I live a happy and healthy life now. But to say that it's not a daily struggle would be a lie. It is not a big struggle now, but it's always there in the back of my mind and sometimes just the right thing can trigger those thoughts. Luckily I'm surrounded by people that love me for exactly who I am, and most importantly I love exactly who I am.
Body dismorphic disorder and EDNOS (eating disorder not otherwise specified) do not get discussed or publicized as much as anorexia and bulimia, but they are very real and just as harmful. If you have ever felt like this, please talk to someone and seek help. And if you know someone like this, talk to them and help them.
Happy and Healthy Cheers
*this is the 3rd rendition that I've done of this post. I've never had the guts to post until now.