Battling Body Dysmorphia
You would think that after losing so much weight AND keeping it off for over 2.5 years that I would come to terms with my body image. Most of the time I feel happy and confident when I look in the mirror. But there are those times where I still look in the mirror and see flaws, fat, a muffin top, flab. I thought that those feelings would go away once I’d maintained my weight loss for a significant amount of time. It’s strange when these feelings rear it’s ugly head. It almost always catches me off guard.
I felt that way this week. Logically I looked in the mirror and still saw the same slender, muscular build I’ve had for years. Emotionally and physically? I felt about 20 pounds heavier. Now these feelings could be completely PMS related–although it’s not a feeling I always have during “that time.” Perhaps this feeling is the aftereffect of a vacation where I indulged. Maybe it’s a side effect of the Prednisone I took for a week? It could even be the placebo effect of taking Prednisone– i.e. The common side effect of the drug is weight gain so I think I’ve gained weight. I’m hoping it’s that.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder is a common thing. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a diagnosed mental illness for people to experience it. In my opinion I think every woman has looked in the mirror and thought “I feel so fat this week” when in reality they are not fat. Hormones, water retention, washing a pair of jeans and suddenly they are a tad too tight = these can all bring up feelings of inadequacy. I wish I could just snap out of it.
Last night at the pool I swam my 1.25 miles at a great pace and it felt wonderful to be back to the routine. While the pool wasn’t quite the same as that amazing experience swimming in Tucson, I have to admit I’d missed my little pool. While I was swimming I reminded myself that no matter what I saw in that stupid locker room mirror my swimming abilities have not diminished. That should tell me something about my body and the state of my fitness.
The dinner I ate after the swim was healthy and low in calories: turkey burger with a side of onion rings (they were 230 calories a serving). Nothing to feel guilty about, yet I did. (Especially the mini Ben & Jerry’s ice cream I shared with Michael.) 🙂
5.2! That’s the old treadmill pace I used to warm up at before I was injured. My body has healed. I’m healthy, I’m athletic. I will never be “Skinny” but I am FIT. Who cares about a little muffin top, right? (Ugh. I’m still trying to convince myself. It’s a learning process.)
I ignored the stupid voice in my head that returned this week and had an excellent run. There were no bouncing ovaries, no cramps, no knee pain, no sore quads. Just good runnin’. I also ignored the Chatty Cathies on the treadmills next to me yapping loudly on their cellphones. I just turned on my tunes even louder and rocked out on the treadmill to some Human League.
All the while reminding myself that I am only Human and striving for perfection is a recipe for depression. No one is perfect. I need to add that to my positive-thinking-mantra. I ran 3.27 miles and then lifted weights. Now THAT’S when my thinking really started to turn around. Whenever I’m feeling depressed about my body or “Fat” lifting weights will most definitely snap me out of that thinking. Lifting weights gives me confidence and I feel STRONG and determined when I do it.
Calories Burned: 813
I don’t have a magic cure for Body Dysmorphic Disorder. With anything I suppose it’s just One Day At A Time. There are bad days, there are lots of good days. When the Mirror Lies to me I need to remind myself of my accomplishments (like kicking ass at the gym today!).
QUESTION: Do you see something different in the mirror? What do you do when the Mirror Lies?