“But You’re So Skinny!”: Body Dysmorphia and Eating Disorders

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I have always been insecure about my weight. Growing up, I had a friend who was always tiny and skinny. She had a flat stomach and I became very jealous. I felt like I had a huge potbelly. I hated going to the beach even as a child because of my body insecurity. As I got older, things got worse. I just felt big. I saw other people who weighed more than me, but I still considered myself to be fat. I was convinced that every other girl was skinnier than me, and thus better than me.  When I started dancing, I saw all these girls who were skinny and toned, while I had a belly and my sleeves on short-sleeve shirts always felt just a little too tight. I exercised any chance I could get. I wanted to lose weight; I needed to lose weight. I downloaded apps to track my fitness and eating. I wasn’t eating more than 800 calories a day at some points. Yet every time I weighed myself, the number didn’t change. I was very depressed and would cry after eating even though it felt good because my body needed the food. I was lightheaded often and I got migraines because I wasn’t getting any nutrients. Soon, I started taking laxatives in the hopes of losing weight.  I hated myself and my body started to hate me. Even in high school, I still felt this need to lose weight. Again, my friend was smaller than me. When we went to the pool together, I would get anxious because I didn’t want to wear a bikini next to her. I became a very, very slow eater and would never eat to the point of fullness. I always had to be the last one eating and I wouldn’t let myself finish a meal. College isn’t much better. I still have panic attacks and cry about my weight. I’ve convinced myself into believing my boyfriend is going to break up with me because I don’t have a perfect body. Looking in the mirror, I see huge arms and a pudgy belly.

As I’m older, I look back on pictures of myself as a kid. I was never as fat as I thought I was. I was actually pretty skinny my entire life. I never needed to exercise or starve myself, because I was close to the size I wanted to be. People always told me I was skinny; I just never believed them. Even looking at pictures of myself from junior year of high school, I was so confused to see a person that small was actually me. I couldn’t understand. I felt so fat? How could that be me?

Through some investigation, I discovered the concept of body mysmorphia. I can look at my body but my perception of it is altered by my brain. I see a different body than everyone else does. Eating is still hard for me. I still try to eat as little as possible. I’m not sure I’ve had three meals in one day since I started college. I have a fear of eating. My psychiatrist was going to put me on medication that could cause me to gain 2-3 lbs. I was mortified of the concept of gaining weight in any amount. I went home and cried. I didn’t want to go on birth control because of my overwhelming fear of gaining weight. All of me would love to say that I’m better now. I would love to tell you guys how I learned to overcome my skewed perception and see myself as I truly am. I still cry about how I look, my weight, and my body. I don’t feel comfortable in anything that shows my stomach. Some days I still get dizzy and lightheaded and still refuse to eat. One day, Wednesday actually, I woke up and decided that I wasn’t going to eat that day. My brain just went along with it. I didn’t give it a second thought; none of this is weird to me I don’t exercise excessively anymore, partly because my depression makes me agoraphobic of anywhere that’s not my bed. I don’t take laxatives anymore, but I would if I got the opportunity. My habits aren’t far behind me and they look better and better as I pick apart my body in the mirror. If you have an eating disorder, you are not alone and you are worth so much more than your brain makes you think you are.

In this post, I want to mention an artist I discovered recently through Instagram. Her name is Mina Alali, and she’s a huge sweetheart. I first came across her because she posted something about eating disorder awareness. I watched some segments of her songs on youtube, and then downloaded all of her songs through Apple Music. Her voice is amazing and she truly has a unique style. The only way I can describe it is if Colbie Callait was more jazzy. I personally love A Little Bit of Me and Like, Boom. Please check her out on youtube! I was in a music rut for a while, and she got me right out of it. I cant wait to see her grow in her career. Follow her on Instagram @minaalalimusic !

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