What to Remember on a 'Bad Body Image' Day
The word that best describes my day is super-sized. My anxiety was super-sized. Even my legs felt super-sized, but not in a fun way. It wasn’t like I was getting the largest size of McDonald’s french fries or a soft drink out of it. At least those have a tasty benefit. This? Not so much.
I couldn’t help but look down at my stomach. This magical stomach cocooned two babies, nourished them and kept them healthy. All of this knowledge went out the window when I was feeling anxious about my body. All I could think was, “Did my belly recently grow? Had those McDonald’s items magically landed into the pit of my stomach and built a home there without me ingesting them?”
On days like this, me, a person who never focuses on my appearance, cinches my stomach a little bit too much.
“Did I put on weight?” I whispered to my husband so my kids couldn’t hear my insecure pleas. I don’t want my kids to ever have these kinds of fears. The fears I have been struggling with my entire life, that have always felt irrational and that make my body and mind feel heavy with anxious and self-destructive thoughts. The fear that I will never be good enough, no matter what I do, fills every crack and crevice of my skin, seemingly expanding my body. My body feels like it takes up too much space. The weight of the world inhabits my flesh, embedded in fat.
“No, you are being silly.” My husband answered 10 different times. I longed for his reassurance. I have done this little dance with him and with myself many times before. Especially when I’m feeling like I’m not a good enough mother, a good enough employee and that I have too much on my plate to give everything 110 percent.
So, what did I do with these thoughts and these fears? That day, I sat with them, wrote the thoughts down and got them out of my head. I pushed through the day with my kids and we even got ice cream. I ate ice cream because that’s what I have learned to do.
I have learned to push through a bad body image day— because a bad body image day is not about my body at all. I wholeheartedly believe all body shapes and sizes are beautiful. But when I feel heavy with pressure and anxiety, I worry about my body and my worth. I have learned that pushing through these anxious feelings throughout the day is the best way to handle those days. The feelings are just that. They are feelings, not facts.
I may have felt bad about my appearance today, but I fought through it. I know in my heart that I am so much more than the physical. I am so much more than my body image. I am so much more and that is the only super-sized thing about me.
My worth is super-sized. My love for my family is super-sized. My life, without caring about my body, is super-sized And if you are having a bad body image day too, here is your reminder: Your worth is super-sized too.
Dani Sherman-Lazar is an eating disorder advocate, Vice President of a transportation company, and a mother to two daughters. She has been published on Scary Mommy, Bluntmoms, The Mighty, ellen Nation, Project Heal, Love What Matters, Cafemom.com, Beating Eating Disorders, Her View From Home, Motherly, Sammiches and Psych Meds, Recovery Warriors, Kveller.com, Humorwriters.org and That’s Inappropriate. Follow her on her blog Living a Full Life After ED and on Facebook.
Unsplash via Lucrezia Carnelos