I can clearly remember the first time someone made comments about my weight. I can remember the exact clothes I was wearing at that time, and I clearly remember how I felt. At that time, my eldest sister was on a weight loss journey, and I joined her immediately. She had this makeshift skipping rope, and I would skip from 1 to 500 every morning.
My parents laughed at this; they saw it as an infantile thing. ‘Oh, she admires her elder sister so much, and it is normal she feels the need to join her.’ For me, it was more than that! That comment touched the depth of my soul, and I will go long stretches without eating.
My parents never questioned the fact that their 10-year-old daughter was suddenly concerned about her weight. In their defense, they probably had better things to cast their worries on.
I am coming to realize that since then, I’ve always been weirdly concerned about my weight. I take long breaks from the gym and always resume. At the gym, there is this tenacity I employ for every workout, I might not be the first to get to the gym, but I was always the last to leave. At the gym, I was obsessed with attaining that hourglass figure. Thus, it’s natural to see me squatting or doing the glutes bridge. I would glow with joy when I get a random comment on how my butt is thrusting out more prominently.
Do You Always Feel The Need To Lose Weight? Maybe it’s Body Dysmorphia?
I do not consider myself the most woke person in the bunch. But when the term ‘body dysmorphia’ popped on one of the social media platforms, I was very interested. I cast my mind to my weight loss journey and how obsessive I can get about it. Could it be that I was suffering from body dysmorphia? Now the thing about me is that I am usually very reluctant to subscribe to generic mental terms like depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and others. Rather, I was interested to learn all there about body dysmorphia.
According to WebMD, body dysmorphia is a mental health condition that causes one to view their physical appearance unfairly. Your thoughts and feelings about how you look can control your thinking and behavior and eventually have a negative effect on your quality of life and self-esteem. Quite an extreme definition, isn’t it? Well, after my mini-research, I was certain I was not suffering from body dysmorphia. Not to mention that one needs to be diagnosed by a medical practitioner, not a self-acclaimed Google medical doctor like myself.
Highlights Of What I Learned About Body Dysmorphia
I further learned that body dysmorphia is related to Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). I chuckled at this because I nicknamed my elder sister OCD due to her constant need to fix our two-bedroom apartment when growing up. I learned of OCD when watching Glee (Will’s girlfriend Emma suffered from it in Glee). We thought OCD was an acronym for ‘obsessive cleaning disorder’ lol. When we got to learn how vast this particular mental illness was, my sister stopped me from calling her OCD. Quite a smart woman, I must say (forgive my digression)…
I further learned that anyone could experience body dysmorphia, as it typically starts in adolescence or the early stages of adulthood.
The two types of Body Dysmorphia that interested me the most are:
1. Muscle dysmorphia
This occurs when you believe your physique is not large or muscular enough. You might work out frequently, keep a rigorous diet log, check calories, dress in more layers to appear bigger or follow a tight eating plan. Sometimes it is referred to as “bigorexia” or “reverse anorexia.” Although it can coexist with an eating disorder, it isn’t invariably one.
2. Body dysmorphia via proxy
You might be overly preoccupied with what you perceive to be imperfections in the look of someone else, who could be a friend or a total stranger. It disrupts your life and has an impact on how you behave. To reduce your worry or feelings of guilt, you could engage in repetitive routines.
Accepting and Loving My Body
As I mentioned above, I was obsessed with the hourglass figure (Nothing as voluptuous as the old Kim K’s body) but rather a slender body with the right curves. Of course, I slaved away in the gym. My Instagram Explore page was all snippets of workouts that will help you achieve an hourglass figure. I gradually started changing my diet when the phrase “an hourglass figure is 90% what you eat and 10% in the gym.’ Potatoes became my favorite food immediately after I learned that they aided weight loss. I downloaded a calorie-counting app and religiously documented every morsel of food I ingested.
The million-dollar question is, ‘Did I lose weight?’ Yes, I did! At some point, I was on a 500-800 calorie deficit every day. Did I get the “you lost some weight” comment? I sure did! But did I achieve the hourglass figure? Hell to the NO! I just looked like a slimmer version of me!
I suddenly realized that the hourglass figure was 100% genetics. While the squats and glute bridges did help push out my butt, it was a taut, firm athletic butt with little or no ounce of femininity. I hated it and slowed down on the excessive butt workouts!
I started to realize that my main motivation for working out should be to stay healthy and not to have an hourglass figure. For instance, I realized that whenever I was working out, I rarely fell sick. I started to spend more time on the treadmill instead of carrying heavy weights to build my non-existent butt. I started learning how to love my body!
How do I respond to body shaming?
We live in a society where it is easy for someone to blurt out, ‘You are putting in so much weight! Take it easy with food.’ Luckily enough, I sort of found the right response to such comments. I always respond with, ‘I know I added some weight, and I am happy with it.
However, nothing prepares you for when a potential love interest dismisses you because you are not curvy enough. This happened to me recently, and I was so proud for not going ballistic. I rather said, ‘There are thousands of curvy girls out there with awesome personalities. I think you are doing both of us a disservice if you insist on seeing through with this’ That sounds like a mature, put-together response, right? Yes, I was proud of myself at that very moment. But deep inside, I sort of felt inadequate, and it took me a couple of days to return to my usual self.
What is my answer to Will you get your body done?
I feel like a fraud when I tell people I will get my body done without blinking an eye once I have the means. It seems like I have been lowkey preaching about body positivity, right? Well, I do think there is still some level of body positivity in getting your body done. Optioning for cosmetical surgery is body positive! You shouldn’t feel like you cannot celebrate your body just because your breasts may not be natural or you may have had a fat removal surgery. No one should feel shame for getting cosmetic improvements.
Of course, having a slender hourglass figure will make me feel more confident, but I realize that true confidence comes from within! It is usual to see a girl with the perfect hourglass figure still dealing with low self-esteem issues. The way I see it, cosmetic enhancements are just a confidence booster. Thus, if you don’t have any confidence to be boosted, it will probably have a counter effect!
Final Thoughts on Do You Always Feel The Need To Lose Weight?
Being on a weight loss journey almost all my life made me realize that I was not overweight all the time I was clamoring to lose some weight.
At all points, I was trying to shed some weight what I wanted was the previous body I was complaining of being overweight (I don’t know if this makes sense). It was like a chain reaction – wanting the body, you complained of being overweight.
I also realized that our metabolism slows down as we grow older. So, it is natural that my 18-year-old body burned calories faster than my 25-year-old body. I also learned I can lead a healthier lifestyle without going overboard. So yes, I slowed down on the potatoes and, at the same time, stopped myself from finishing a big loaf of bread in a day. I go for long walks whenever I can and try to drink enough water.
Finally, I am at a good place with my body and cannot be prouder of myself!