Body dysmorphia is a disorder in which a person obsessively and frequently examines their appearance, constantly picking themselves apart or comparing themselves to others.
It is caused by low self esteem, isolation, bullying, and constant social comparisons.
I have personally gone through it, and still do from time to time. Women, unfortunately, are more likely to battle with body dysmorphia at least for a little bit of their life.
BD begins (usually) in girls as young as middle school. I will say without any research of any kind (but personal experience) that I do believe you CAN overcome it with physical and mental work. However, we are human and might fall back into old habits from time to time or have a negative thought pass through our minds about ourselves. Body dysmorphia, however, is CONSTANT and becomes a disorder when it disrupts your life and is consistently a thought each day. Not to make this about me, but I will explain a few examples of what I dealt with mentally while battling BD.
I remember always comparing my body to celebrities on tv and older girls at school. I was extremely flat chested and had zero curves, so I got bullied a decent amount while the other girls were filling out. When I finally did start filling out, I was being told I was too big and needed to slim down by my modeling agents.
I hated looking in the mirror, trying on clothes, being in a swimsuit, going to events or parties, and going out to eat. It became compulsive for me to go look at myself in a mirror and pull my inner thighs apart so they would form a thigh gap. I DESPISED my inner thighs. I worked them out compulsively and formed an eating disorder from the constant bullying I was doing to my own SELF!
Now, looking back on photos of me, it is WILD I thought I was overweight. I looked so small and cannot believe the visual impairment I had on my own body. So. Now I know whenever I get these thoughts in my head that I need to take a breathe and remember how I see myself sometimes is based on what is happening mentally, not physically.
So, let’s learn how we can control and one day conquer this awful disorder.
Write in a journal consistently.
It may seem small, but keeping track of your thoughts, emotions, and when you feel your worst could help you decipher what’s going on in your head. Write your mood, why you are feeling this way, and ways you could improve your day. Also, positive thoughts about yourself won’t hurt.
Working out has SO many benefits mentally. It gives you a sense of confidence, consistency, pride, accomplishment, and strength. When you start showing up for yourself to be KIND to your body, you will start loving it. Make sure you are working out to reward your body, not punish it. It is amazing to be able to physically show up for yourself each day and has a massive ripple effect on your brain.
Food is fuel but is also correlated to your emotions. If you are filling your body with junk, you are going to emotionally feel like junk. Incorporate tasty meals with lots of color and greens, lean proteins, and healthy fats. You will feel better and again…feel accomplished and confident.
Don’t Isolate Yourself
Avoid being alone for too long. Having alone time is great, but if you are spending that time in your negative thoughts or looking in the mirror pulling your inner thighs apart….go find some positive friends.
Understand Your Mind
Learn more about yourself. Learn what makes you tick and what makes you anxious. Younger people are not sure of who they really are so they become wrapped up in physical characteristics, hence younger people usually forming eating disorders. Begin to know your worth and see that you are WAY more than a body.
So long story short...yes body dysmorphia can go away! You can beat it if you take the proper steps. If you ever need to talk more, please feel free to reach out to me via DM or email. Keep Striving!