The Power Of Body Image


I have worked over the past year to lose weight. I have done pretty well considering a few setbacks like surgery and health issues. But sometimes, when I look in the mirror, all I see is that same old body.

I have issues with body dysmorphia.

I have always been insecure about my body. I remember the awkward stage in fifth grade of developing breasts and feeling like I was 5x the size as my classmates in weight, when in reality, I was average. Looking back at pictures, I see that everyone was going through that awkward stage, but back then, I felt like I was drowning by myself. I was already hating my body and I was just a kid.

By the time high school came, I was fully hyper aware of every ounce I gained. I spent my freshman year of high school starving myself because I was terrified of gaining weight and obsessed with losing any weight I could. I felt like I was huge. I wanted to be a size 2 like all the girls I thought were so beautiful. The thing is, I would never have been able to be a size 2 because my body isn’t made like that; a size 10 sure, but not a size 2. I had curves and I didn’t understand that my curves were beautiful too. When I look back at pictures, I don’t understand how I didn’t see the beauty that was in front of me. The me when I was 15 is the me I want to get back to as far as looks go.

I don’t want my daughter to go through what I did growing up.

I don’t want her to think her size in clothes determines her worth in society. I want her to be healthy, to love herself and to not have an internal battle raging in her head daily. I can remember my grandmother telling me how pretty I was, but also asking if I had gained weight when I was young, or in the midst of my eating disorder in high school, commenting that I was so pretty since I had lost some weight. I came to associate the two. You could only be “pretty” if you didn’t weigh a lot. She, of course, didn’t mean harm by any of her statements, but they still stung. Weight shouldn’t be mentioned to our kids. At certain ages they will gain weight, then in the next six months, they will shoot up in height. It’s a cycle and such an awkward stage that drawing attention to it can be triggering and cause body image issues

When you struggle with body image issues you have such a hard time seeing what is actually in the mirror; instead, you see every flaw and extra pound multiplied by 10. Even after losing over 50 pounds in the last year, I still have a hard time seeing the difference; when I look in the mirror, I still see the same self I saw when I was 50 pounds heavier. I see a difference in my clothes. I have gone down two sizes, but when you have trained yourself over the last 18-20 years to see every flaw and pick yourself apart bit by bit you have a hard time breaking that cycle.

Recognizing that and taking steps to make a change are steps in the right direction.