I hope the title gives away the trigger warnings, but to be safe: TW: body image, body dysmorphia, disordered eating, eating disorders and weight/size.
I have unintentionally lost weight this summer. I don’t own a scale, I don’t know what I weighed at the beginning of the summer and I don’t know what I weigh now. But I started to notice in the mirror about a month ago that my waist looked smaller, and I decided to try on a pair of white trousers I had put in the donate pile at the start of the season. They barely buttoned then, and now they fit perfectly, and are now, a couple weeks on, getting loose. So then I decided to try on a pair of denim shorts that were a size smaller and they were a bit tight, but they did fit, whereas at the beginning of the season they did not button.
The irony of it, is that now that I am aware of my weight loss, I can’t stop thinking about it. I was quite comfortable in my bigger body, I knew how much space I took up. If anything, I had reverse body image,But now I am back to over-analyzing my food choices, over-thinking my exercise, body checking myself constantly, and thinking about how to continue losing weight, when I had never intended to lose weight at all.
And I can very easily identify how I’ve lost weight, life is generally more busy. I am walking to work almost every day, getting up for morning walks almost every morning, and just generally sitting on my couch eating less often. It was something I expected when life somewhat resumed after a pandemic. We gained weight because we were out less, in more, and were eating more comfort foods to cope. So when we went back to our normal lives it would be logical that the weight would release itself.
What I was not expecting was the way it would do my head in.
I have struggled with food, my weight, and the way my body looks since I was 8 years old. I have been diagnosed with eating disorders and also somewhat self-diagnosed with disordered eating over the years. Gaining weight over the past few years has been a result of those disordered eating patterns, and I have been trying the past year to reach a place of neutrality with food and my body. And as such, I keep telling myself, this weight loss is not good, it is not bad, it simply is. In the same way that I have red hair or am tall. It is just a fact.
I am trying to balance the fact that I am establishing healthy habits, and the benefits of those while not internalizing the effects they may have on the way my body looks. Health is not a size, I have been healthy at many sizes, my blood work has been good at many sizes, I have been capable of playing sports, of exercise, of touching my toes since that seems to be something people care about on the internet, at many sizes. But I don’t know how to not have the way my body looks infect my mind with either doubt or confidence at any size.
I was hoping to wrap this up in a nice bow of takeaways at the end, but I guess I’m not really capable of that since I haven’t fully worked through all of it myself. I don’t even know if we can have it fully worked through.
Anyways, that’s all I’ve got for now.
2 thoughts on “I Want to Talk About Body Image”
Body issues are complex and ever evolving. I’m in my 40s and I’ve had a love/hate relationship with my body for most of my life. Dieting. Rebelling. Binging. It’s all part of the complicated truth-we only get one body and we need to learn to love and appreciate it.