Posts Tagged ‘Body Image’

Snapped. Happy.

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

I have taken – and been taken in – a lot of photos this holiday.

This is new for me.

I don’t have many images to remind me of the past 20 years, either because they were barren of experience, or because the thought of being photographed was obscene.

Girl Stuff. Again. (Last time).

Friday, August 6th, 2010

I haven’t written much this week because I’ve been incredibly tired. My body doesn’t quite feel like my body at the moment; and, whilst I’m delighted that it’s clearly recovering, the whole hormonal re-start has caught me left wing. It has been a little scary, to be honest, which sounds pathetic now that I’m 30, rather than 13.

Body Image: A New Perspective

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

My attempts to reconcile me and my body have taken an interesting turn over the past few weeks. I have begun to realise that my response to my body does not derive from a vision; it begins, instead, at the pit of my gut. I am feeling my appearance, rather than seeing it – which might explain why I have been finding it so hard.

It is not the size of my leg or the shape of my arm that make the relationship difficult; it’s the emotional response that’s messy. The lack of differentiation between what I feel and what I see.

Instead of being objective and basing my body-perception on facts and realities, I have been building it on far more precarious grounds; and, by reinforcing these through my emotional responses, all sense of perspective has been covered up.

This means that when I am told to look in the mirror and focus on my ‘good points’, I zoom straight past “I have nice eyes” or “I like the colour of my hair” and nose-dive into the feeling instead. It has been interesting to observe what these are:

Body Image: Missing A Link

Sunday, June 6th, 2010

Since deciding that my eating disorder was about far more than body image (which I’ll stand by); and determining that the outside was a reflection of the struggles which were taking place within (yes, again), I seem to have cut off any consideration of my appearance and swung straight to the other extreme.

If I understand that my perception can get distorted; and I know that it’s all tied into how I feel about myself; and I have a whole bag full of CBT tricks to prove that no, I can’t possibly be fat with my BMI or yes, the reason I feel uncomfortable now is because I was used to being so unnaturally thin…

Well then, it’s all hunky-dory, really, isn’t it, and there’s clearly nothing to dwell on?



Friday, May 21st, 2010

I have not had much success in my body befriending mission and I therefore decided, a few weeks ago, that it was time for a change in approach. If the visuals are still too much to handle and mirrors remain a little tough, exploring my body, from a new perspective, might possibly start to help.

So I decided to try something totally off the wall.

Not The Skinny One

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

I am a sibling.

One (the eldest) of three.

This blog is not about my siblings (who are, by the way, totally wonderful and I love them to bits); but I think it might be about a younger me’s reaction to them, so I’m going to include this.

It is important to distinguish between your reality and the alternative versions of reality; the stuff that belongs to other people, and that which belongs to you.

This bit is mine.

Earlier today, someone asked me what I liked to eat as a child. Hoping to access my pre-ED tastes, I decided that casting my mind back a little (lot) and exploring the things that I used to look forward to at mealtimes sounded like a good idea.

It was. I just didn’t find what I was expecting.

The Killer Dress

Monday, April 5th, 2010

For my 30th Birthday, I brought a killer dress.

I know that taste is subjective; but there’s no other way to describe it. This dress totally rocks.

It might not be bang on trend as I couldn’t tell you what’s strutting along the catwalk and have never quite got into Vogue; but, it makes me feel a million dollars, and has reminded me of something that gets lost behind the catwalk debate and the size zero phenomenon

In my recovery, fashion and fabrics were an unexpected friend; even when I wasn’t that comfortable in my own skin.

Eating Disorders and the Size Zero Phenomenon

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

I have broken my golden rule: blog is base.

In all the hype, and indecision, and shall-I-shan’t-I-ing, I have forgotten that everything starts here.

And so, to connect the dots, I want to include this video, even though some readers may have stumbled across it on other mediums. And, because it’s part of the story, whether I am proud, or embarrassed, or just a little red-faced about my nervous twitching around, I feel that, albeit belatedly, it belongs here.

The whole size zero issue wasn’t something I anticipated exploring and only tinged my eating disorder experience; however, you can’t change the debate if you’re not part of the discussion; and, whilst I certainly never saw myself doing this kind of thing 6 months ago, I wouldn’t have realised how rewarding it would be if I hadn’t given it a go.

This is only part of a wider talk, including some really important information from Professor Janet Treasure, that can be accessed at Gresham College’s site. I have also spoken on ‘Moving Maintaining Factors’, although it wasn’t (to the best of my knowledge!) filmed; and hope to do many many more.

The questions and discussion time has been the most rewarding aspect and, unfortunately, these aren’t captured here; but they did inspire this post on the ‘How do I Help? Question’ and informed some of the issues I have blogged about. Most importantly for me, they have helped to salvage some value or meaning from my experiences, and made me feel that I might be able to start using the past more positively.

From a Female Perspective-

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

Let me set the scene. I am a thirty-something female. Educated, employed, relatively attractive, slightly neurotic – and recovering from a chronic eating disorder.

To help me along this bumpy journey, I started to try and understand myself and my relationship to the world; to gain some insight into what had happened and why it had happened. The pen was my probe and my head, the subject. Or so I thought. Somewhere along the way, my psychological exercise stumbled into a sociological debate and took on a life of its own – particularly in relation to being a woman.

A Strange Kind of Silence….

Friday, February 12th, 2010

You know when you walk past a shop window and don’t recognise yourself because you’d forgotten that you were wearing your new pink coat or had just lost 4 inches of hair?

I’ve just had one of those moments.

Post pilates leg stretches, and I was so surprised by the leg that I was stretching that I ended up twisting it back to front and forgetting to follow the crucial


My legs do not look like my legs anymore, and I couldn’t guarantee that this body belongs to me.

All Joined Up

Monday, January 11th, 2010

In July, I had a nasty incident with a treadmill and some osteoperotic bones, and I learnt a thing or two about this piece of machinery that I have been walking around in –

The human body is pretty amazing; and it deserves a bit of respect.

As I have been struggling with befriending my body recently, I thought that re-visiting what I learnt on the physiotherapist’s bed might be a good idea – or at least plug in a few of the holes that the therapist’s couch has evidently left – so, here’s a run down of a few key bits of learning that might make me hesitate when I’m next tempted to give myself a good kicking.

The first thing that my physio did when I sat down for my consultation was to tap me, sharply, on the knee to see whether my foot shot up. It did. Lesson 1: we’re all joined up.


Sunday, January 10th, 2010

Last night, when I was busy flooding my flat, my ears woke me up to warn me of the impending danger. In the light of the abuse that I have thrown at this very body over the years, this was quite considerate. My body has been far more forgiving then I am. It’s not the first time it’s stepped in to divert a disaster.

This morning, as I surveyed the wreckage, and realised just how timely my ear’s intervention was, I have been struck by how successful my mind and body are as a double act. The eating disorder may have succeeded in driving a great big wedge between us; but, really, we should be fighting on the same side.

We are not meant to self destruct; we are meant to survive –

Hello body, meet Melissa..

Friday, January 8th, 2010

Since putting on weight, I seem to have separated me, from my body. It sits, over there; whilst I stay, over here; and, never the twain shall meet.

We weren’t this disconnected when I was hideously underweight. We may not have been friends but we were, at least, on speaking terms. Now we don’t acknowledge each other.

The X Factor? Comparisons and Competitions

Monday, September 14th, 2009

The X Factor and, more specifically, Danni and/or Cheryl, got me thinking.

Place two women side by side and the rivalry’s instinctive. Before the competition’s even started, the odds are against the female contestants, and the battle lines have been drawn between the female judges –

We are, by far, the less supportive more suspicious gender. We can’t help but think in terms of comparisons and competitions –

The Great Size Debate

Friday, June 5th, 2009

Being thin is the telltale sign of anorexia.

Thinness and anorexia. The words have almost become almost synonymous now. Interchangeable descriptors.

I can see where they’re coming from. Starvation is a pretty visual effect. It demands the most attention. It’s a bit of a giveaway.

Being thin was at the heart of my eating disorder and completely irrelevant to it. It was, simultaneously, a desired consequence and an unintended outcome.



Size Zero

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

I’m anti size Zero. Not because it’s unhealthy (which it is). Or because it feeds into the whole messed up body image culture debate (which it does). Or even because it encourages anorexia (keep reading)…

But because it’s an easy answer and it stops people looking at the real problem.

Because it’s a dangerous mirage that makes anorexia all about vanity and fashion and superficial surface level things – when really it goes far deeper than that.


Optical Illusions?

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

Body image is the logical next step in my theoretical musings. It’s the link between emotional perception and the physical illness.

I’ve been resisting the whole ‘distorted body image’ debate. Trying to steer clear of clichés or over-simplifications. Trying not to replicate the patronising overtones that I used to hear in the references to my own distorted image.

They missed a crucial point: it wasn’t my body image that was distorted; it was my interpretation of my body image.

And there’s a subtle difference.