Last March, I mentioned my Body Dysmorphia in the blog post: Learning to Love Myself. Anyone who also struggles with a Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) has a unique experience. We will all learn to deal with it in our own way. By sharing how I deal with my body dysmorphia today, I hope to inspire & help others who are still struggling on their personal journey with BDD.
IDENTIFY OBSESSIONS & STOP THEM IMMEDIATELY
Years ago, I would weigh myself & measure my arms, hips, thighs, & waist every Sunday. Unlike my current self-care rituals, this eventually became a self-hate ritual. I would hate myself & became frustrated & irritated if I gained weight or didn’t lose enough weight. I’d obsess over my flabby arms & thighs & constantly suck in my stomach with all my core strength. Because despite any change in the numbers on the scale or loss of inches, I never saw a leaner, sexier, or stronger body in the mirror.
All my obsessions did was justify depriving myself of things that I loved to eat. I was obsessed with hitting 10,000 steps every day, even on days that I took a barre3, RUMBLE, or SoulCycle class. With my FitBit & Noom, I obsessively record every single calorie that I eat, every calorie that I burn off, & shame myself for being weak & having a chocolate peanut butter cookie.
I was thrilled when I was sick & lost my appetite altogether. Or better yet… when I got the stomach flu because it would guarantee around 7 pounds of weight loss with minimal effort. It took a long time for me to finally self-reflect that my actions, despite not refusing to eat outright or making myself throw up, were unhealthy. Why would a sane person wish illness on themself?
Now, I do not allow myself to stare & judge my body. If I must look at myself in the mirror or look at a full body photo, I only compliment myself. I also do not take my measurements unless absolutely necessary. I no longer constantly wear a FitBit or check my Health app on my iPhone. It’s how I track my daily step count & the calories that I consume & burn throughout the day. But I know that obsessing over those numbers isn’t healthy.
BE MINDFUL OF ALL THE WAYS TO LOVE & NOURISH YOUR BODY
Instead of counting calories, I eat colorfully. I always make sure my meals are a mix of protein, veggies, & whole grains. I love fresh fruit & veggies! If I can count at least 5 natural colors that I’ve eaten for the day, I know that I’ve done my job of nourishing my body with healthy foods. For example, banana (yellow), spinach (green), baby carrots (orange), bell pepper (red), & blueberries (blue).
Instead of obsessing over calories or steps, I keep track of how many times I move in a week. Right now, I dance every day for 25 minutes by playing the Nintendo Switch video game Just Dance. Three times a week I lift weights. And once or twice a week, I stretch my body & do yoga. As long as I’m moving & strengthening my body in a way that I enjoy & love, I’m doing my best to be healthy.
ACCEPT THAT THE JOURNEY HAS JUST BEGUN
I am fully aware that acceptance of my BDD is just the beginning. There will be good & bad days when it comes to my relationship with my body & food, but that’s ok. I know that I can potentially struggle with my BDD for the rest of my life. There will be days that I slip up & eat a McDonald’s two sausage burrito breakfast meal with hash browns & an iced caramel mocha followed by Taco Bell as a late-night snack, but I am now more aware that I am human. We all make mistakes. Instead of punishing myself by walking around my apartment late at night until I hit 10,000 steps or skipping meals the next day, I accept what I did, forgive myself, & move forward.
I hope that sharing how I deal with my body dysmorphia helps you or someone that you love. Do you or someone you love have BDD? How do you or they deal with it? Let me know in a comment below.