I've recently been having a lot of trouble with anxiety over my body image. I've come to the conclusion that I have a distorted perception of what I look like. The funny thing about this with me is I feel the worst when I'm out in public and all dressed up. I feel normal and not anxious over my looks when I'm home and dressed down, and without makeup. So obviously my home, and any time with my extended family are my safe zone. A few years ago I weighed nearly 300 pounds. During that time I became very depressed and hated everything about myself. My stomach was so heavy, and I just felt so poorly. Over the last 2 years I have lost nearly 120 pounds. Although I'm still not at my desired goal, I'm very close, and I feel so much better without all of that added weight. My clothes fit so well, nothing is too tight and uncomfortable, I can wear more fun styles that I like, and I can buy clothes without the added anxiety of the size to choose. However, with all of that "good stuff" my body image is no better. In fact I would almost say it's worse. If I am out I feel like everyone is staring at me, and I feel like the jolly green giant. I sweat from the anxiety, then I have anxiety from the sweat. Total vicious cycle.
I have come to the conclusion that I have a distorted body image. Self diagnosis. I've tried to talk about it with people, but it's hard for someone to understand it because this image is all within my mind. Someone can tell me over and over that I'm beautiful, but I don't believe it at all. I just feel like Oh they're just being nice. It's an illness for me. I feel like it's a disease, like that's how I justify it in my head. I tried talking about it with husband but he doesn't get it. Rather he just makes jokes that intensify it. For example if we are out and about and I have spent time on my appearance, he'll make a joke like "you look great, but..." then whatever the but was, I focus on that. I get angry and frustrated and take it out on husband. It becomes a disaster, and 9 times out of 10 it will ruin my time out. It's becoming something that I have to figure out and get a hold of, or else I feel it will consume me completely. I have read articles and realize this is a big problem for many woman, teenagers and young girls as well. It's awful that it's an epidemic for us to not feel confident in ourselves.
If I had to describe it to you, I would say that when I'm at the worst of it, I literally envision myself as ugly, gigantic, and like everyone in the room is looking at me. Now, the rational side of my brain knows that not everyone is looking at me and I'm being unrealistic, however, the irrational side of my brain is far stronger than the rational side, and all normal thought goes right out the window. It's like I am able to literally convince myself that I'm disgusting. I was telling my Mother about it one day and she said she felt that this makes her feel like she's done something wrong as a parent for me to feel this way. However, that couldn't be any further from the truth. She's a wonderful mother, and is always telling me positive, encouraging things about my appearance, and personality. But when you're in the thick of it, with distorted body image it doesn't seem to matter what someone is telling you, your irrational thoughts and anxiety take over and tell you everything bad about yourself, and magnify it by a thousand. It's bloody awful!!!
Ive been trying to help myself, and find ways to overcome this, but it's been difficult. I bought a few outfits recently that are really comfortable, and fit my body type really well. I've tried to dress appropriately according to the weather to avoid any excess sweating and things fitting poorly making you feel extra uncomfortable. I wore and outfit yesterday that fit in all the right places, was light to accommodate for the high humidity, and I wore my hair up in a loose bun so avoid any hair drama, such as a frizzy disaster with loose ends sticking inappropriately to my face. The positives of my day and experience were, I felt good in the outfit, I didn't sweat inappropriately, and I didn't feel like any of my body flaws (there are many) were highlighted. It was a good experience.
In conclusion, I have a tremendous amount of work to do in this area, and I plan to document my journey in hopes of helping someone else along the way. Due to the fact that this is not just me, and there are hundreds of other women out there that go through this too, I'm hoping my journey will not only be a learning experience and healing journey for me, but it will for others as well. I will offer tips and tricks as I go, and also discuss the things that definitely did not work. I should also point out that in recent months I am also continuing my weight loss. I have since cut out all soda, and high calorie drinks, and I have tried to incorporate more small meals into my daily diet. I also hope to add exercise provided husband helps me with the kids so that I can make a daily routine of it. I'm starting slow, but hope to have a full routine in place in the next two weeks. I would like to lose an additional 35 pounds to be at my goal weight.
My Before Pic:
My After Pic to Date:
Blessings to all.