A break from my usual content to bring you a very personal post about my struggles and where I am at at the moment. I understand it won't be everyones cup of tea but hopefully some of you will read it and maybe even get something from it.
Have you ever looked in a mirror and not liked what you saw ? Or listen to people give you compliments and wonder how they could even think that ? Does this feeling disappear ? Or does it gnaw away at you making you worry, feeling insecure until you obsess and obsess over it ? I hope not however this is something that I have been battling since I was about 16 - I had had some really rough patches and then some times its hardly there but my Body Dysmorphia has always been there. However I am now at a stage where I can fully acknowledge it and I am trying to tell it to do one !
"Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is an anxiety disorder that causes a person to have a distorted view of how they look and to spend a lot of time worrying about their appearance... Almost everyone feels unhappy about the way they look at some point in their life, but these thoughts usually come and go, and can be forgotten. However, for someone with BDD, the thoughts are very distressing, do not go away and have a significant impact on daily life. The person believes they are ugly or defective and that other people perceive them in this way, despite reassurances from others about their appearance." (nhs.co.uk)
Growing up I was always skinny, it was genetics my dad was and my brother is. Pair that with an active lifestyle and fast metabolism I could eat whatever and it wouldn't make much of an impact. 16 was around the time puberty happened for me as I started to gain a little weight getting me to a healthy weight for things to start which obviously brought its own complications as every girl knows. I also started a new school, started dancing a lot more and started growing up, I think it was the combination of all of these that kickstarted my BDD. It started off quite harmless and I didn't even notice but now I look back I can see it very clearly. Each time I started something new - uni, dancing, cheerleading, jobs, fitness, PTing etc pressure to look a certain way (in my eyes) appeared. It definitely contributed to my eating disorder of course but it didn't stop when that did.
I have always felt like an outsider even with friends and I think it was my way of having to fit in. When I should have been feeling inspired and happy for friends I would also feel jealous and the pressure to be as pretty/toned/flexible/fit etc as them. No one ever said I should obviously but in my head thats what I saw and it was never enough for me. I never spoke about it really I just brushed it away as silly thoughts in my head. I wish I could tell the younger me to not feel the need to be other people but hindsight is a wonderful thing.
Fast forward to now ,nearly 10 years after the start, I've grown up ( a bit ) my life is different (obviously) and I am a completely different shape. BUT the mindset is only just starting to move on ... I know I'm fit, strong and healthy, and I have been for a good year or so but today is the only day I have looked in the mirror and actually properly liked what I saw. Like I actually saw myself how other people have and I didn't have anything negative to say. I know I have posted a fair few times about confidence and how I have got it back and they weren't lies I did have it ... just not 100. I would be happy or semi confident but there would always be something at the back of my mind doubting it all. Its been emotional getting here (currently crying whilst writing this) but I am so happy to say I am getting better !!! I don't want to be the person who can't accept a compliment properly or who thinks they only look ok but could be better
We all go on different journeys within our fitness and nutrition to reach particular goals. For the past few months I have been on a fat loss one which some people might argue is why I feel better and yes they would be right, it has got me to a place I want my body to be and I feel confident for it. But losing fat doesn't make you a happier person or give you the ability to look in the mirror and say I am proud of what I look like thats all in your mind.
Yes I know I am currently prepping for a shoot but thats just another goal I gave myself. But after that I want to focus on being happy and healthy. My aim is to a PT who inspires and trains women to do the same; to be strong, feel good and be confident. I want to look in the mirror and love what I see and on the days I feel like shit to look back on all of this and say BDD just do one !
My advice to anyone that feels like this is to TALK to people, GET help if you need it, LOOK BACK on your progress and how far you have come and SURROUND yourself with a bunch of people who love you, support you and will always be there for you. Don't do it alone it will eat you up inside like it has done with me. We all deserve to be inspired and happy by what is around us, sometimes its our minds that need to helping hand not the body.
Thank you for reading if you got this far and A MASSIVE THANK YOU to all of you who have helped me along the way, family and friends alike you know who you are xxxxx