Growing to self-love

The toll body dysmorphia can take on someone and ways to overcome it


Over the past few years, I went from being a middle schooler that was insecure about my body to a sophomore who now is proud of how far I’ve come.
Learning to love my body and overcoming body dysmorphia was one of the many challenging journeys I went through. Due to this, I was able to learn valuable lessons that I still carry with me to this day.
Body dysmorphia is a mental disorder in which an individual upon looking at their body is too fixated on their perceived “flaws” to the point where they may hate the way their body looks.
This was something that I dealt with in the last couple of years. My body dysmorphia was constantly in the back of my mind wherever I went. It followed me like a shadow. After countless times of being haunted by this nightmare, I tried to get rid of it, even if it meant going to unreasonable lengths.
As time went on, I found myself resorting to a crash diet. In other words, a dieting plan where one lowers their food intake so much that they eat little to none. For a short period of time, it did work. This made things slightly more bearable since I would see the numbers on the scale start to decline. I even ended up thinking I was one step closer to my “ideal body type.”
Over time, this diet began to backfire drastically. I saw that I ended up being further from where I started, so I began to educate myself on nutrition to recognize my mistakes. This, on top of my body dysmorphia, eventually caused me to develop a disordered eating pattern.
I became so obsessed with tracking everything I ate in order to make sure that I hit all my nutritional goals that I eventually grew into an unhealthy relationship with food.
This led to the point where I couldn’t even enjoy family night outs without scolding myself later that night thinking of all the progress that I “threw down the drain.” Why was I mad at myself for simply having a fun time with my loved ones?
For the longest time ever, I thought to myself that I would constantly be chained down by my disorder and never get to live the life I wanted.
However, throughout the course of my journey, I slowly began to find the answer to my question. The reason why I would never be able to enjoy food and appreciate my body was because I was still tied down by the urge to be “perfect.” I knew that if I wanted to break free and relieve myself of this mental toll, then a change needed to be made.
The first step into the right direction for me was finding the root of my problems. I noticed that I would always compare myself to those fitness influencers who I looked up to then proceed to down look upon myself only seeing disappointment.
I also realized that I would continue to consistently set unreal expectations for myself. I expected to see immediate results, regardless of whether it was on the scale or in the mirror. At times, I felt that all my efforts were in vain.
After learning where my dysmorphia stemmed from, I knew that if I wanted to get over it that it would require time. This was a leap from before, as I was now learning that in order to see change it would also be met with patience. Upon this realization, I slowly strayed away from comparing myself to others as well.
Even after my battle with body dysmorphia, I still apply these lessons that I picked up to different aspects of my life now. While my path on overcoming my dysmorphia is one that I wish to never step foot on again, I’m grateful for what I learned along the way.