Monday, March 28, 2011

Being OK with being 'average' & countering negative body-image thoughts

Recently, I've felt pretty good.  Stable, at peace (most of the time), and happy with my body.  In fact, I wrote a whole entry about it here!

However, as I wrote in the aforementioned post, I still have slip ups.  The key, though, is to quickly counter these negative thoughts and to make myself feel better about my body and the way I look.  

I have to be honest, there probably is not one time that I look in the mirror and think "wow, I am so thin-I look GREAT!".  The reason for that is because I don't look very thin anymore.  I look average.  I am not fat, I am not chubby, but I'm not uber thin.  And for so long being the thinnest I could possibly be was one of the top priorities in my life.  Having an 'average' weight was absolutely not an option.  Being 'healthy' looking was not good enough.  I wanted to look extremely thin.  I wanted to look a little malnourished, because to me, that was attractive.  >WHAT?<  

Yes, it's true.  I thought that the thinner I looked, the better I looked.  The less 'average-sized' I was, the more proud I was of myself and my drive to 'stay thin'.  I even felt like a better and more accomplished person when I was very thin.  "No, I don't want to eat lunch, I'm not hungry at all."--even when I was starving.  

What's even more sad is that recently I have been peaking at pictures of myself throughout the last few years.  I remember the exact body-image feelings that I held in almost every single one of those pictures.  And in almost 80-90% of them I remember feeling utterly disgusted with my 'fat, chubby body'.  I remember how I berated my body while getting dressed for every single event.  I recall the excruciating hate that I single-handedly peppered myself with (daily, if not every time I caught my own reflection in a mirror).  My getting dressed and feeling terrible about myself, and constant state of hunger, left me in a terrible mood almost all of the time.  I tainted every single experience I ever had with horrible and ugly thoughts about my being.

I cannot describe to you how sorry I feel for my former self.  I wish I could go back in time and shake myself and tell me that I am absolutely insane if I think that 107 pounds is fat.  But, alas, it probably would not make a difference--as I hadn't yet learned all of the lessons I needed to learn to get to the place that I am now.

My point, though, with this post is to tell you that I still get those ugly thoughts in my head when I get dressed, or when I look in the mirror.  But, now I have learned that I cannot trust my own initial reaction to the way that I look.  If I thought that I looked disgusting and fat when I was obviously so thin, then, clearly, I have a warped way of viewing myself.  

What I try my hardest to do now is to dress in clothes that make me feel good about myself.  If I don't like how a pair of jeans is fitting, then I change into another pair that make me feel better (or I wear a dress or a skirt).  
Then, if I still look in the mirror and get terrible "I'm so fat-- I need to lose 5 pounds NOW" thoughts, I remind myself that I thought those exact things even at my thinnest, and that losing weight will NOT make me feel better about myself.  I remind myself that I look healthy and that's a great thing.  I'm not hungry all of the time.  I can enjoy food with everyone, without having to worry about calories and weight.

But, in order to get to this place, I had to do one thing:  I had to learn to be OK with having an average weight.  I'm sure I am still considered 'thin' for someone my size, but to me, I am just average now.  My ultimate goal is to prioritize my life and my self-worth to revolve around my experiences and not the number of pounds that my body weighs.  And if that means that I look not-as-thin, but can go out and have a good time with my friends and family and not constantly worry about food,weight, and how thin/fat I look in my jeans, then it's absolutely worth it to me.



  1. Thanks for sharing your insights here because it encourages me so much.
    I am at a point maybe where you once were with the the thinking...more of a FEELING actually of alarming discomfort.
    I am so amazed by you.
    You are so beautiful, too. It's so angering how people as special as you have to suffer this torment.


  2. Missy, I promise you will get past the feeling of alarming discomfort. That phase probably took around a whole year for me. But, it passed!

    Lots of Love,

  3. WOW! I could have written this post myself. I think the important thing to point out is no we both "THINK" we are average but everyone has a different idea of what AVERAGE IS! My family and friends still think im very slim but I think im average. Others may think i'm curvy! lol it's all relative. The important thing is that we are HEALTHY and not starving 24/7

    I also felt FAT when I was underweight and very thin..... Know I feel better about myself more often :)

  4. it feels great, doesn't it?

    i'm interested in where you are with food too. it sounds like you've been at this place longer than i. i'm fairly comfortable, but as i'm still gaining weight, i find it a little confusing.

    have you kind of stabilized? are you perfectly comfortable eating out?

    hope you don't mind the questions. i'm just wondering what it's like for you. great blog!

  5. To "I hate to weight":

    I've been on my recovery journey for a little over a year, starting in January of 2010. I gained around 3 pounds pretty much right when I started forcing myself to eat 3 meals a day (I was a BIG meal skipper). And as of now, I have gained right around 5 pounds.

    My weight has pretty much stayed within this range +/- a pound or two since last year. Within the last 4-5 months I began eating 'intuitively' which was very difficult at first, and has now become much easier and very enjoyable.

    I used to be very uncomfortable eating out, but now I would say that the issue is pretty much resolved. The thing that helped this is that I went on a one week honeymoon this past August, had an amazing time, and never worried about food-- I did not gain any weight. I also just got back from a 2 week vacation during which I ate out a ton-- again, I did not gain any weight.

    However, I have gone up in pant sizes this past year, and that has been my biggest hurdle. My blog is riddled with these stories, so you're welcome to read up on all of my tribulations! =)

    Here are some posts that may be interesting for you:

    P.S. I don't own a scale, and only weight myself once in a while if I'm at a place where one is available.



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