Saturday, January 25, 2020

Let's Talk: My Relationship With Body Image

Hey lovelies, if you didn't see in my How I Tripled My Blog Views This January post I've been revisiting and editing my old blog posts, and I came across this post here which I genuinely found really sad titled Why I Don't Love My Body and I thought I'd write an update/ elaborate a bit in a newer post since it's been three years since I wrote it.

Going to put a little trigger warning here, as I go over eating disorders and self harm.

"Body image is a person's perception of the aesthetics or sexual attractiveness of their own body. It involves how a person sees themselves, compared to the standards that have been set by society"

Let's Talk About Growing Up

Hindsight is absolutely gorgeous thing, when I was younger I was an extremely over weight child. I was heavily, and I can't not stress enough with the word heavily bullied for this. It started with shitty comments from males in around Year 7, and was relentless until Year 11 for me. Unfortunately I went to a school in Essex, and I'm not exaggerating when I say almost all the girls were exceptionally thin and pretty. I didn't fit with that, and it wasn't helped by the fact I had awful clothes sense and went through the classic "emo" phase. 

There was one particular group of lads at my high school, that honestly made me feel as if I wanted to be invisible. Growing up with this sort of taunting literally made me feel so inadequate, and made my  self worth not exist, it was probably here that my relationship with my body image was at its worst. I used to feel so self conscious that I wouldn't eat with my friends at lunch, it started off with small things like swapping food for soups, only drinking coffees around friends to then stone cold starving myself. 

I went through a large stage of starving myself, and I'm not proud of it but it happened. I went through a period of self harm, and again I'm not proud of it but I got through it.

The period between A-level and university I got really sick and was in hospital for weeks for Liver Failure, I dropped a ton of weight. It actually made me feel worse about myself for a long time, because my recovery made me battle with looking in a mirror and seeing myself on death's doorstep. When I got out of hospital, my family made sure that I was eating tip top and regularly and that I was doing everything to keep my liver happy. Even now that image of myself when I came out of hospital haunts me, I was so frail and so weak, but in my head I was a lot thinner, and I battled with teaching myself that the image wasn't okay because my body was literally struggling to function.

After that I actually became pretty confident as I started university, I developed a sense of style that I loved and I felt attractive for a small bit.

Let's Talk University

University was an absolute low point for myself image. When I started my university adventure I was dating someone from my home town, we broke up in the first term and it really broke my heart, I felt so sad and alone, and like my university students I turned to copious amounts of alcohol and food to get through it.

I then started dating someone else, and why I have such a big spot in my heart for him and always will. Our relationship was great in the first and second year of university, but we ate a lot of shit together around university, due to doing a degree which meant we spend most of our days and nights in a studio we didn't really work out a lot, or at all. 

We were both so committed to our final year of university that we took it out on each other. Which made me feel like the problem was me, I felt unattractive and unlovable and it really affected how I viewed myself. I began to get really depressed towards graduation, I physically didn't want to go. I didn't want to be photographed, bad habits with eating at university meant that I had got to my highest weight ever. I barely recognised myself. 

When I went home after finishing third year, my family members started to make comments about any weight, which honesty made me dread graduation even more. Then the graduation photos happened.

This was such a heartbreaking point in my life for me, because in the photos I'm so heavy that I didn't recognise myself, and the image that I had of myself versus the camera image actually destroyed me a little bit. My self worth was already so low, I felt that I wasn't good enough.

The Problematic Period

The first thing I did after the graduation photos is get a gym membership why I was still at home for another seven weeks. This is where things got majorly out of hand for me. I'd been to the gym before this so I knew what I could and couldn't manage. The first day I went I ran 8KMs, and I forced myself to do it. I was physically shaking, I hadn't eaten anything before hand (believe me I know how silly it to workout on no fuel) and the forced myself to do a lot of weightlifting, and this continued almost every single day until I went back to my university town.

The problem was, I knew that I could spend 5-6 hours at the gym everyday and get through it. Which is what I did. I ended up losing over two stone through that summer I was home from university, and I did it in such an unhealthy way, and I starved myself of calories and the fuel that I needed because I didn't feel like I deserved it.

This aspect of eating continued when I went back to my university town and started my masters, I was so eager to feel pretty and attractive, that I was just substituting meals for coffee or just getting through it. It actually got to a point where my work manager was so worried about it, when I worked all day shifts he would make sure someone sat next to me and watched how much I ate, and tried to positively get me to eat more. Which is something I'm really not proud of, because in every aspect it had gotten out of hand. I had no energy, I was constantly tired, I couldn't focus on my masters work properly. I hate myself.

I actually lived with my ex boyfriend at the time too, so when he started dating someone else I literally thought that the reason he didn't want to be with me was because I wasn't as thin as his current girlfriend. This entire timeframe honestly feels like a blur for me, I was constantly so exhausted and really depressed. I lost my sense of style, and I dressed in whatever was closest because I just didn't want to look at my form.

The Changing Point

For me, this section of loathing myself came to a very apparent end towards the beginning of 2019. I'm not really sure what triggered it, or how it came about but I woke up and I decided that I wanted to eat properly. You only have one body and that the damage I was doing to mine, especially knowing I have a liver problem, was going to be unrepairable.

I'm so lucky in knowing that I have amazing friends, who would big me up. They would tell me how good my new outfit looked, compliment my skin etc. I began to take small steps to accept my mirror image, aka I would take photos of myself every morning in my mirror with whatever bomb outfit I choice to make myself aware of the image and learn to love it.

Nowadays I eat well, I drink well. I personally love my body. I found that taking a lot of time out from dating to learn how to love myself first worked amazingly for me, I've met someone who makes me feel like I'm the most gorgeous gal on this planet.

I think that there are a lot of factors that can make someone feel shocking about their body image, we live in a world where media images are so heavily edited to look a certain away, it can become hard to love yourself if you don't fit into that bracket. For me I have such an obsessive personality that if I want something that badly I can't let it go, I felt like I had to be a certain way. I'm currently a UK size 12 and I love my body.

I'm in such a happy place with how I view my body, that if I have to buy clothes a size up so they fit better that's cool with me, and I won't punish myself over it. I feel like I've come such a long way, that I wanted to share this because reading back through my Why I Don't Love My Body made me really sad. I feel like I've had such a glow up since then.

If you enjoyed this post check out When Blogging Becomes An Obsession and 50 Engaging Blog Post Ideas


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