People are going to have ALL SORTS of feedback for you about your body.
People will have feedback about your attractiveness to them.
People will have feedback about your body’s size and shape.
People will have feedback about your body’s color.
You’re going to be told you should ignore the things that people say about your body…but you and I both know it’s nowhere NEAR that easy.
The things people say about your body and appearance tend to get REALLY ingrained in our nervous system. Our brain plays them on a loop.
Just telling ourselves not to listen to other peoples’ judgments about our body and appearance is an almost impossible ask when our brain is recirculating those comments and looks over and over and over again.
Nobody who is anxious or obsessive about their body size, shape, or appearance, WANTS to be obsessive about it.
Nobody WANTS to be anxious every time they look in a mirror. Nobody WANTS to be anxious whenever the very idea of eating comes up.
It’s exhausting and embarrassing. MANY people go to great lengths to hide it.
There are people reading this who struggle with their body image and their eating habits, who have NEVER acknowledged the intensity of that internal war to somebody else.
Many people DON’T understand.
Many people DO think that managing our eating habits and our thoughts about our weight and appearance are straightforward.
After all, they figure, what could be so hard about eating? Just eat what you’re “supposed” to eat, when you’re “supposed” to eat it.
What could be so triggering about one’s appearance, they wonder? You look the way you look.
When certain thoughts get into our head and under our skin— for example, thoughts about our body’s shape and size, or thoughts about what we “should” or “shouldn’t” eat— we tend to lose objectivity about them.
It’s almost impossible to be “objective” about our thoughts when we’re jumping out of our skin with anxiety.
Many people TRY to manage that anxiety by minimizing the thoughts or their impact.
“This is silly.” “This is stupid.” “This shouldn’t be this hard.”
Strangely, minimizing our thoughts or their impact doesn’t seem to tamp down our anxiety. It often only makes it worse.
In our culture, both appearance and eating habits tend to be closely tied in our collective imaginations to self-discipline.
We assume that people who possess self-discipline look a certain way and eat a certain way.
Which is such a load of BS (belief systems).
If you struggle with obsessive thoughts about your body, you are not alone.
If you struggle with your eating, you are not alone.
You might FEEL alone, and it might FEEL embarrassing. You might BELIEVE you deserve to feel shame about the things you’re struggling with.
You’re struggling with what your’e struggling with. It’s okay. You’re not gonna shame your way out of this.
Maybe “they” don’t understand, and maybe “they” never will.
It’s okay. “They” don’t need to.
YOU just focus on taking the next step on YOUR recovery journey— even if it’s a teeny, tiny, “stupid” baby step.
One thought on “Eating and body image are supposed to be “easy” to manage, right? Right?”
Thank you very, very much.