Lately things have been tough. As part of Mental Health Awareness Month I’ve made it a priority to be even more vocal about it however one area I’ve been silent on is poor body image and low self esteem..
There have been a few reasons for that, it’s still hard for me to talk about, the comments you tend to receive when you talk about these kind of issues border on unhelpful to triggering but the main one is, being so aggressively body positive, whenever I feel less than 100% on that front I feel like a fraud.
At the start of my last descent into disordered eating, I turned my back on the movement and bought into diet culture as the answer to my problems. I have learned from that now – no matter how I feel about my body during these low/anxious/stressed times taking action to fix my perceived flaws on my body won’t solve the problems and it won’t even change how I feel in my skin. All of those changes come from within.
So here is the reality of where I’m at right now. My mental health has affected my eating habits and I haven’t had as much energy to be physically active. As a result my body has changed, or my perception of it has changed. Bodies change, grow and develop every day of our lives and change is not a negative thing. Living in the world that we do, we are taught that certain changes should be celebrated and others shamed or rectified as quickly as possible. When I’m already feeling anxious or low it’s harder to silence the thoughts, apparently I still haven’t unlearned those norms, and over the past few days I’ve really struggled.
REALLY STRUGGLED! To the point that I’ve had ALL of the intrusive thoughts. Thoughts that I need to change how I live my life, go backwards on my recovery and restrict myself and my life experiences, all on the off chance that it may result in me existing in a smaller body. How messed up is that?!
I know that a lot of you lovely body positive activists will read this and understand where I’m coming from and I know in reality that none of this makes me a fraud. I still believe so strongly in body positivity and the benefits of embracing it over diet culture but anxiety and low self esteem plants these seeds of doubt in my brain.
I am redeeming myself by making a body positive action plan rather than a diet/workout plan. This way I feel like I’m being pro-active and working on myself which will hopefully quell the anxiety and make positive progress on building up my body image again.
How do you cope with self doubt or bad body image? Let me know in the comments.