I have a sort of reverse body dysmorphic disorder. I’ve been overweight since my teen years (although I’d pay good money for the body I had back then, boy howdy), and in the years since I’ve gained more weight (and gained, and lost, and gained, and lost ad infinitim) I’ve accidentally trained myself to see just my face.
Not my body.
Definitely not my body.
I can go for months without seeing my whole body, allowing myself to believe my body is… well, just not really there.
I mean, I know I’m fat. I’m not stupid. But there’s a sort of willful blindness that makes it easy to just cut myself off emotionally from my physical state. It makes it very easy to, well, do nothing.
I recently had one of those snap-to-reality moments where I made a decision to acknowledge what I really look like. I also let go of a stance I’d been holding on body size acceptance, acknowledging that I want to lose weight and be smaller.
So I cleaned up my food and starting going back to the gym. I’ve been charting my progress with (gasp) photos of myself in my underwear. I’m working very hard at the gym, determined to stop huffing and puffing and to lose some pounds.
It’s been a success, so far; I feel better, look better, and clothes are fitting better. I can walk without pain, I can hike with my daughter, I sleep better and feel pretty damn good.
But I have to force myself – every single day – to look at my actual, real body and acknowledge how it looks. It’s the only way I can keep myself on track. It’s hard; it’s very easy to think I know what I look like.
Recently I watched the below ad and was really startled to see that I’m not alone in my body perception disorder. That even beautiful and slender women still perceive themselves completely differently than how they actually look.
Watch the ad. And then take another look in the mirror. Are you being fair to yourself?