I have struggled with Body Dysmorphia since I was a teen. Even at my smallest, all I could see was my stomach or things that I thought were giant flaws. I was never able to put to words why I never felt skinny enough or like my stomach wasn’t flat enough, until recently when I discovered what Body Dysmorphia really is.
While I know I felt this way as a teen and in my early twenties, I was always active enough that thankfully I never did anything extreme to try and “fix” myself. I was just secretly always unhappy with the way my body looked. When I hit 25 I was not as active as I had been due to life and bills and work, I didn’t always eat great (ok I ate fast food a lot), and going out drinking was something I did often so I started to gain more weight. And it became much harder to drop pounds. Don’t get me wrong I was still SUPER SKINNY, but my brain could not comprehend that 140-145 was a perfectly normal weight for me to be. That is when I discovered the Yo-Yo diet. I would restrict myself, or go on these ridiculous diets and lose 10-15 lbs but I would be so miserable that I never stuck to them, no one could have it was a miserable way to live!
I have followed this cycle over and over, especially once my children were born.
I have been on a cycle of gaining and losing around 50 Lbs for the last Eight years! Food has been a point of borderline obsession. I was always thinking about what I couldn’t eat, what I “should” eat, and want I wanted to eat.
I was either miserable because I ate too much, miserable because I was starving, or miserable because I hated the food allowed in whatever “diet” I was trying.
Finally this last year after meeting some incredible women, I realized that I have been using the word “DIET” wrong all along and that if I stopped trying to use it as a verb I could break the cycle.
Let me explain, if you look up the definition of “Diet” and go to the verb usage it literally says “restrict oneself to small amounts or special kinds of food in order to lose weight.” That does not sound even remotely sustainable, or something you can do for long periods of time! And I think my years of going on Yo-Yo diets have proven that they are indeed not sustainable. They may be good for losing those pounds quickly for a trip, or some special occasion, but the moment that is over and you stop restricting yourself the pounds come right back, plus some. Not to mention living your life obsessed about foods is mentally exhausting.
Making this realization made me have to evaluate the way I view food, the way I want to view food, and the way I ultimately want to live my life.
I’d love to now give you my five easy steps for conquering your food and diet culture mindset. I’d also love to tell you that coming to these realizations has had a drastic effect on my weight. But alas I am a work in progress.
I am still trying to find the balance of being comfortable in my body and kick those yo-yo diet thoughts. But there are some active steps I have taken to get to a better place mentally.
- I no longer follow accounts on social media that push the diet culture mentality or push restrictive thoughts/actions.
- I started taking supplements and vitamins that fuel my body and health and stopped trying to find the magic diet pill.
- I use how my clothes are fitting and pictures to track progress, I do not use a scale because my gravitational pull on the Earth is irrelevant and I just want to feel good inside!
- I move my body in ways that bring me joy. I have found that I thoroughly enjoy walking and jogging and going on hikes. I do NOT enjoy going to the gym or doing traditional workouts at home. So I make time to walk or jog because of the joy and clarity I feel when I do those activities.
Doing these things this is what I have found…..I am a much happier and healthier person on the inside. And when I am those things my body responds and I actually feel more comfortable in my own skin! And when I feel more comfortable in my own skin, the size of my body is irrelevant!
If this post spoke to you, I hope you know that you are not alone and that you are enough no matter what size you are right now! If you need more encouragement, take a look at this post: Mamas this is for you: BUY THE PANTS.