Before I started classes at 3rd Degree Training, it wasn’t uncommon for me to skip breakfast and lunch.
I was diagnosed with body dysmorphia disorder one year ago, and struggled with disordered eating my whole life. It wasn’t until being diagnosed I started really working on it. The hardest part of talking about it for me, is I fear people will think I am shallow or superficial. But it’s a real psychological disorder where you obsess over a flaw in your appearance. Mine was at an all time high after having my first child while I struggled with postpartum. I became obsessed with losing the baby weight. When it comes to mental illness, it’s common for disorders to really show up in your mid to late 20’s and or after a traumatic experience.
Feeling ashamed of your appearance can really prevent you from living your full potential, especially when you can barely think about anything else! Though I still have my moments, I have come a long way through cognitive therapy in the past year!
Here is what I’ve learned!
Lose the scale
A lot of eating disorders and BDD stem from the fear of losing or lacking control. Sometimes it feels like you have no control over life. But you do have control of your body and what you eat/weigh. That often ties in with the number on the scale—you want to have control over it. It’s totally normal for your weight to fluctuate day to day!
My advice: the longer you go without weighing yourself the less you will care. Instead of weighing yourself, ask yourself how you feel.
Life is a pie
My dietician did an exercise with me using a pie to represent my life.
He had me literally draw a circle and divide the pie into everything important to me, giving a bigger slice to the more important things. I answered as if I would be the only one to see it, and when I saw my pie I honestly cried. In that moment I realized how unimportant my body image was and how that was the control lost. I lost sight of what was actually important!
My advice: draw the pie as often as you can, even visualize your pie when you feel overwhelmed!
When I started classes at 3rd Degree Training, it was my first time holding a weight. I stuck with it and attended as many classes as possible. My muscles started to grow and so did my appetite. I remember one day I was so hungry I ate two smoked salmon bagels in one sitting.
In the beginning I attended a few weight circuit classes on an empty stomach. I quickly learned, if I do that, not only do I feel weak and tired, but I can barely make it to the right station in rotation. You absolutely need food for weight training, and having that workout added in my day forces me to eat breakfast and lunch.
When you gain muscle you burn more calories, even when you aren’t working out. Your brain uses calories too, so unless you want to be a complete idiot, just feed yourself!
Though I have gone up a few sizes in jeans—BDD cannot compete with how good I feel with my current workout routine at 3rd Degree Training.
My advice: add weights to your workout routine! You will notice it’s benefits in all areas of your life!
I feel like I have trained myself to ignore the signs of hunger. But if I listen closely, my body tells me what it wants! Instead of thinking of food as hungry and full, think of it as medicine. Your brain needs nutrients and calories. I try to pay attention to how I feel after I eat something and I stick with those foods!
My advice: Listen to your brain not your stomach. Your brain needs nutrients and if you are fueling her properly, BOOM- the important things are easier to see!
It isn’t an easy subject, but there are thousands of people undiagnosed who are feeling really lost. Some people think of this as “normal for women and young girls” but I assure you it is not! When you notice someone obsessing over their body image—send them this blog post!
And always remember, your body is the least interesting thing about you! Challenging yourself and punishing yourself are very different things! It’s about what you can do, not what you look like.