Body Image…Part 1

As a young child, I remember distinctly the moment I felt fat for the first time.  It was summertime and tight shorts were involved.  Who know if this was really the first time, but my memory of feeling awkward in my body started around the age of 8.  According to tons of research available, statistically I am average.  One study by Harvard says 42% of 1-3 graders desire to be thinner.

For literally the next 20 plus years, I struggled with a negative body image…that is a long freaking time to hate yourself.  You may say to yourself, well yeah – who really cares, it’s not really that big of a deal.  For me, it led to a lot of self destructive behaviors.  My “little” problem led to some very very big problems like cutting, suicidal thoughts, and disordered eating.

Maybe like me, you have had a negative body image for so long that you don’t even know what is anymore.  Here’s what Rice University says are features of a negative body image:

•  You have a distorted perception of your shape-you perceive parts of your body unlike they really are.

•  You are convinced that only other people are attractive and that your body size or shape is a sign of personal failure.

•  You feel that your body doesn’t measure up to family, social, or media ideals.

•  You feel ashamed, self-conscious, and anxious about your body.

•  You feel uncomfortable and awkward in your body.

•  You have constant negative thoughts about your body and constantly compare yourself to others

I wanted to be thin, in my mind once this happened then everything would be okay.   I would finally be acceptable.  This WAS my life.  I spent hours obsessing how my life would be different if only…. If only I was thinner, if only I was prettier, if only….

 An individual with a negative body image is more likely to develop depression, anxiety, eating disorders.  Have you guys ever struggled with these issues? I have and it’s terrible, exhausting and oh so defeating.  It can really mess your sense-of-self.  This happened to me, I lost my sense-of-self.  That’s when the depression and suicidal thoughts began.  I put my entire worth, all of my being into how I looked and if others approved of me.

I’d like to talk about body image for the next couple of posts.  In addition to talking about the damage of a negative body image, I’d like to discuss what a healthy body image looks like and finally how to actually begin to develop one.

The truth is you have been marvelously and wonderfully made by a Creator that deeply loves you.  Walking in this truth is so freeing. Buckle up, if you struggle with a negative body image, my hope and prayer is that you not only learn information but you begin to change the way you view yourself. Blessings to you, Melissa

Please Note: I received professional help during this time. Depression, anxiety, eating disorders are serious mental health issues.  If you struggle with these issues, please seek out professional help too.

2 Comments

  • Heather

    I’m looking forward to following you through this series. This is something I totally struggle with. And raising a daughter, I really want to learn what a positive body image looks like so I can model it and teach her to love her body.

    August 24, 2014 at 8:57 pm
    • melissaClark
      Melissa Clark

      Thanks Heather! You are an amazing mom. I struggle with the same thing with Averie…no greater responsibility than being a mom. Stay tuned…part 3 will be posted on Wednesday 🙂

      August 25, 2014 at 11:28 am

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