My Top 5 Tips for Improved Body Image

If you are semi-happy with the way you look, DO NOT, for the love of all that is good and holy, plug your height and weight info into an online BMI calculator. It will tell you awful things.

During my super skinny phase. Check out that bikini bridge I didn't even know I had

During my super skinny phase. Check out that “bikini bridge” I didn’t even know I had

I’ve always had pretty good self image for a woman. I probably think about my appearance an average amount, if not below

average. I don’t wear make up very frequently, I get on the scale maybe once a month out of sheer curiosity. I feel fine about going to the mall in a T-shirt.

There have been blips, of course.

When I was a senior in high school I was very depressed and dipped down to 109 lbs. (For reference, I am now about 140). I didn’t have a disorder or anything, I guess eating just wasn’t super high on my priority list at the time. Anyway, it really freaked me out that I apparently couldn’t stop losing weight.

The summer between high school and college my family went on vacation to California, and I remember ordering a chocolate milkshake at every meal just to beef myself up. So then I had to walk around with this really gross food baby on my otherwise small frame.

In college I got all complain-y and girly, thinking I was “sooooo fat” at a buck twenty-five.

awk food baby

Here you can see the awk food baby. I swear I gained 10 pounds that week just from milkshakes.

“No one can tell” that I’ve put on 30 lbs in the last 6-ish years.  (They probably can, and they’re just being nice). Of course, 10 of that was needed, and it has distributed itself pretty evenly.

I’ve always had all these little tricks for determining if I’ve gained an unacceptable amount of weight, but now its just like “Yeah, if I can still fit comfortably on a roller coaster I’m probably fine.”

Only in the the last few years have I discovered that I actually do have an eating disorder. No one really talks about it, because it’s not as serious or dramatic or obvious as, say, bulimia. It’s called BED, or Binge-Eating Disorder.

It involves eating an obscene amount of food very quickly. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had a new package of cookies in front of me and the next thing I know I have eaten them all. ALL OF THEM. Like a hundred cookies. Or, the other day I bought munchkins at Dunkin Donuts and all of a sudden I had eaten the whole frikkin container. Over 1600 calories of donuts in like 3 minutes.

binge eatingThere are other qualifiers for the disorder, like feeling sick but continuing to eat, “glazing over” and not realizing what you are doing, feeling very guilty afterwards, etc. I even find that I go into a kind of robotic monotony, chewing each cookie the same number of times, grabbing the next one in the same way, etc. It’s weird, okay?

So I self-diagnosed this borderline hilarious, pish-poshable disorder that I realized actually affects me a lot.

And I wonder what the heck makes me do this. What’s at the bottom of it? I think because I want to feel good and happy and I can’t always achieve that easily. So when I feel pleasure eating a cookie, I love that I can control something that makes me feel great. So if each cookie gives me 5 “pleasure points.”  I’ll gain 5 HUNDRED pleasure points if I eat all the cookies. Thank God it’s cookies and not heroin because this is how people OD.
TLDR; I’m basically a drug addict.

This is the first time I’ve even told anyone about this, so obviously I’m still trying to create a strategy for getting better.

I want to throw out some body image encouragement and advice to my homies (especially my ladyhomies)

  1. Everyone in the whole world has something about their bodies that they don’t like. Even Brazilian butt models.
    Secret: No one notices your “flaws” as much as you do. If you’re always complaining about them, that’s all anyone can see when they look at you. If you carry them like you’ve never even thought about it, 9 times out of 10 no one else will think about it either.
  2. If you catch yourself looking in the mirror for longer than 1 minute, make yourself stop.

    Not me. (It was hard to tell, I know).

    We can lose years of our lives obsessing over things that are not immediately changeable. Stop groping your chub-chub like it’ll fall off if you squeeze it hard enough. 

  3. Don’t weigh yourself every day.
    It’s so easy to get hung up on a number that can change for any number of reasons. I once lamented to a male friend that I had gained 5 pounds. He said “I take shits that weigh 5 pounds.” I think about that often.
  4. Practice taking flattering and unflattering selfies.
    I know this sounds crazy. But it important to remember that you can MAKE yourself look better or worse. You can highlight your features or your insecurities. Own both. Snapchat a gross selfie to your best friend. It can help you to feel in control of your insecurities instead of them controlling you.
  5. Make your body do something that you can be proud of.
    I always hear women saying “I love my body because it carried my children.” or “I love my body because it is strong and has carried me.” My body hasn’t brought me through 2 world wars or anything, so I’m trying to start making my body do things that I can be proud of. Like become more flexible, run a 5k, or survive a cliff jump. Do activities with your body and you will find that you are more fond of it than you once thought.

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