Body Dysmorphia and the Plus-Sized Revolution

October 26, 2012 § 8 Comments

Confession: Nothing in my closet fits me. My skinny jeans won’t zip and my boyfriend jeans fit like the skinnies used to.

Confession: I haven’t run more than three miles in a month.

Confession: Although there are six days in which it’s feasible to exercise my body, I have chosen to do other things the majority of the time.

Confession: I ate a gigantic spoonful of raw chocolate chip cookie dough from out of the garage refrigerator yesterday, not because I was craving cookie dough, but because I wanted the sugar high to get me through the afternoon.

With all of the back and forth I have going on in my head, in regard to food and exercise and health, it occurred to me more than once this week that in addition, I might be body dysmorphic.

How come?

Twice in the past few days, while feeling low about my size, I happened upon images of plus-sized women that I thought had bodies similar to mine. There is a plus-size revolution occurring and the women being held up as images to admire are nothing short of beautiful.

But, I’m … fat?

Since I’m currently squeezed out of my size 10s, I am furious with my body; angry at myself. Compared to the those plus size goddesses, my image of myself is not as kind.

Body dysmorphia, according to the Mayo Clinic, is described as, “imagined ugliness.” It turns out, upon further research that it is a real mental illness and people with dysmoraphobia often go to extreme lengths to manage their perceptions (plastic surgery, hiding from others, etc.).

While I’m not willing to diagnose myself with full-blown BD, I do think that my perceived flaws are skewed based on my expectations of self, and how I’ve once again slipped from, “I am healthy girl, hear me roar.”

I am stuck, then, between my own expectations of how I think I should look, the expectations of what the world views as acceptable, and the reality of what it’s like to live in my own body.

If I use the functioning part of my brain filled with endless information about health and well-being, I can dig myself, once again, out of this rut.

Solution # 1: I’ve ordered the Tracy Anderson mat series to do through the winter with the goal to firm up, confuse my muscles into performing as they should (again), and hopefully gather new information to write a helpful review, to boot.

Solution # 2: I will not buy any clothing, period, until I have become consistent again on the exercise front. If I then need to accept that I fit better in a bigger size, I will accept it, but not without a fight.

Solution # 3: I’ll try to eat more wisely, but am sticking to my belief that weighing myself is damaging to my psyche. Cutting out food groups will also be avoided, as anything completely off-limits will inevitably lead me to consume entire batches of cookie dough, just because I can.

To combine two of my favorite songs (as an homage to the place that I find myself today), here is a mashup (care of Madonna and Gene Sir Harlan) …

What it feels like for a girl … For a girl in this world.

But I’m doing the best that I can.”

M.

Do you ever think you suffer from body dysmorphia or any other body image related issues? How do you manage? How do you conquer?

Image 4 of ASOS CURVE Exclusive Belted Wrap Top

Asos Curve Plus-Size Belted Wrap Top.

Image from the Size Issue of V Magazine.

Crystal Renn is a size 12. Gorgeous, no?

An image from V's Size Issue

An image from V’s Size Issue. The depths of my love for this picture run deep, but I wouldn’t be caught dead allowing a picture of me like this to surface. Is it my modesty or insecurity? I’m not sure.

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§ 8 Responses to Body Dysmorphia and the Plus-Sized Revolution

  • H. E. Lexus says:

    Love the heels. πŸ˜‰

  • Theresa says:

    Oh man I had that in college big time. One thing I’ll say for sure is to go easy on yourself – you’re going through a tough time right now with this divorce and beating yourself up over weight definitely won’t help. I think your program to tone up is a good idea, but I think not buying clothes (unless you truely don’t need any) maybe isn’t. Everything I’ve heard (and this totally makes sense to me) says not to deny yourself pretty things just because you weigh a bit more. Indulge in a nice shirt or pair of pants periodically – regardless of the size – if you find something that looks good on you and flatters you the size won’t matter as much.

    • Martha Merrill Wills says:

      It’s mental… that’s for sure! I’m trying not to beat myself up, but I don’t know where my drive for fitness has gone! You are right, though, there is a lot going on right now. As far as buying new clothes … I love your perspective. I really could use a few new things, so thanks for the permission! πŸ™‚ XO

      • Theresa says:

        I dunno where you found your drive before, but I have to say that even as crazy as I was about running I never woke up in the morning raring to go looking forward to exercise. On the days that I REALLY didn’t want to go I promised myself that if after 10 minutes I still felt crappy I could quit – I never did. (unless I was sick).

  • I hate my body often. But, particularly after strenuous exercise, I am amazed at what my body can do. There are plenty of people who look better than I do but can’t do what I do.
    Honestly, I don’t think that the “plus sized revolution” is a positive thing. I don’t think that being heavy is ugly. I don’t think heavy people are “bad”, but I think this “revolution” is insidious in the sense that people are fooling themselves into accepting unhealthiness. I could use to lose 30 pounds. I’m not bad for being 30 pounds overweight. I’m not ugly (although sometimes I think I am). I think it’s important to separate your weight from who you are as a person. I will admit it can be hard though.
    Everyday is a new day. Don’t beat yourself up for what’s already done. You can’t go back and redo those days when you skipped a run. So let it go.
    I rarely want to exercise. But I love the way I feel afterward. I focus on how happy I’ll be when I’m done, and, most importantly, what example I set for my kids.
    Good luck. Stay strong. Forgive yourself.

  • Martha Merrill Wills says:

    Thank you so much for such a thoughtful comment. I am so with you here.

    You’d probably appreciate this … as I was searching tumblr the other day, I put in the search, “plus size,” to see what would come up. I was astonished that many of the photos in the feed were self taken pictures of very overweight people. They clearly felt good about themselves, but it rubbed me the wrong way because so many looked so unhealthy. It’s what you said about the insidiousness of fooling ones self into thinking bigger is better. It’s not always the case, and too often used as an excuse for bad behaviors.

    Thanks again for taking the time to write your feelings.

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