I’ve done a lot of work on body image since going into treatment for my eating disorder. Sometimes I want to work on accepting my body just as I am right now and other times I just want to focus on other aspects of my life. For example, I’m a writer – that has nothing to do with my looks. I feel both tactics are valid and I’ve come a long way.
Here is a journal entry I found from when I just started treatment.
12/21/21 – Day Six
Is there a way to be a big girl and own it? Fuse it with your being to where it’s not even an issue – it’s just you?
It seems like people with big personalities can pull it off – but that just isn’t me.
I care a lot about what I look like.
There. I said it.
I always think my life would be better if I was thin. But is that just a shitty excuse? There’s really no reason why my life can’t be better now. I know firsthand that skinny doesn’t equal happiness, so why do I still give a fuck?
I tend to focus on how I might look in the future. When I lose weight I’ll do this or that. I’ll travel. I’ll meet people. I’ll promote my books and look good doing it.
Why am I not doing these things now? Why do I always have to wait?
My husband thinks I’m beautiful and I wish he would tell me that more often. Unfortunately, I need reassurance.
Does it matter if anyone else thinks I’m beautiful?
Of course, it does. Me. I need to think I’m beautiful.
However, beauty is only the surface. There are much deeper issues that fuel my eating disorder.
As an atheist, I find myself often sporting a “you only live once” attitude. Maybe I need to keep that in mind when I’m considering what I can and can’t do at my current size.
It’s true – there are several deeper issues that fuel my eating disorder but I’ve been told that the body image issues are the last to go. After all the therapy, meal planning, etc., body image issues tend to hang on even after you’re doing better. They’re a thorn in my side right now.
Sorry if this is a touchy question — do you accept your body as it is right now? How did you get to that point?
I never found the whole YOLO thing to be useful. It can lead to doing things one might not normally do that can cause harm or death. Death is permanent. Ive always tried to guide my life on doing things that make me happy because being sad (for me) is time wasted and in the end, time is the one thing that is most precious. Ive always had problems with my body being what everyone else thought it should be and I wasnt happy with it until I came to the conclusion that its my body, Im the only one who has to live in it and it will look like whatever it looks like. I have long given up giving any fucks about what other people think I look like. I am still ‘overweight’ but thats who I am. If people dont like it, they dont have to look at me. Wont hurt my feelings at all. Im glad you are getting yourself to a place you can be comfortable with. I know how hard this can be. Im an atheist so I wont bother praying for you, but know that Im out here supporting you facing your challenges.
If one is a woman, one’s body is never, ever right. This is on purpose. If all one’s money and all time and attention is spent chasing an unachievable “ideal”, one cannot compete in the workplace or school.
And there will always be people saying one’s body is not good enough. Example: a few years back, pre-Covid, I picked up a bug while on travel for work. Stomach upset, couldn’t keep food down. I went to the doctor and was told I needed to lose weight, that I was sick because I was overweight. My BMI after 2 days of throwing up was 18; the low end of normal is 18.5. Should I be concerned about the stomach bug and the fact that my weight had slipped below the “normal” range? No, the far bigger concern was that I was a huge cow. @@
Now, in your case, you’ve got it doubly hard because your mind and your body are not aligned. Are you continuing to get counseling? IMO, it would be very helpful.