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Old 09-28-2013, 08:49 AM   #7
Riestrella
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: England
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Originally Posted by AJ'sAwesomeMom View Post
So I have kind of a weird problem, and I'm curious if anyone else is or has previously experienced something similar.

I have a lot of body image issues regarding my weight (among other things), but they sort of conflict with each other. For example, if I look in a mirror naked or in a bathing suit, I am literally disgusted with how I look. Same goes for pictures of myself. But at the same time, I have a tendency to not realize just how big I've gotten. So take a fundraiser I attended last winter: I bought a dress online, and when it came it was shorter than I expected. But I tried it on with a pair of heels and thought, This looks pretty good! But when I saw pictures from the night, I looked like a gorilla stomping around in high heels and a short red dress. I looked ridiculous.
I have felt exactly like this for about 10 years. I will get dressed, think I look fine, but then I'll catch a reflection or see a picture (as you said) and think "what went SO horribly wrong?! Why did people let me walk around like that??" I do believe people can be VERY critical of themselves, we are always searching for perfection and if we don't look "perfect" then we freak out.

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I used to be really fit. I played sports in high school and part of college, and just generally loved working out. And I think in my mind, I convince myself that I'm much smaller than I am which leads me to make poor choices in clothing...and when I realize how bad I looked, it makes me hate myself.

I have no idea if this makes any sense, but I think this distorted view of how much weight I need to lose is contributing to my inconsistency with working out and eating right. And I worry sometimes that even if I reach my goal weight, I'm still going to alternate between thinking that I look disgusting and dressing in too-tight, unflattering clothes because I think I look better than I do.
It's quite normal to be critical of ourselves, but I think the level of hate you feel is serious. I think you might have a more developed case of body dysmorphia...which is just the official term given to people who have a hard time seeing an image and processing what it really means. So in your case you felt you were smaller than you were, so you bought small clothes, then you realised they were too small so you took that out on yourself. I think what you should do is shop with someone who is honest. Or even try and measure yourself so you have facts to go by when you shop. But perhaps if you had someone there they could tell you what is too big or too small.

I have had similar issues myself but in the opposite way - I would (and still do I suppose) buy things too big because I still THINK I am bigger than I am. It causes me to get upset with my choice of outfits, because I don't have any flattering clothes. So I think it's very important to our self esteem that we buy clothes that fit us just right, because if you buy either too big or too small then it can cause some emotional distress.

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As an aside, I'm turning 30 in a month and a half, and sometimes I think I'm having a hard time dressing my age as well. I had my son when I was 22, and occasionally I find myself buying clothes that are way too young for me (and too small) in the hopes that it will motivate me to be able to fit into them...only to look ridiculous for a number of reasons once I stuff myself into them.
30 is still a young age. I disagree when people think that once you hit 30 then your life is heading towards retirement and you have to think, act (and dress) "older". I think you need to, to put it bluntly, just drop the paranoia of how old you are. You are a person with a personality that isn't defined by your age. If you want to define yourself as a Mum who's trying to look young, then that says to me that you're worried that people will think you will look old because you're a Mum. That's just not the case! Think of who you want to be and dress to represent that side of yourself. Don't worry about what other people will think of you, dress how you want to FEEL. If you want to dress like a teen/young adult because that's how you want to feel, then do so. But if you just want to LOOK like that to hide some paranoia...then that's not good for your confidence because it's only an illusion.

It sounds like you need to learn to love yourself and who you are in the moment, not what you were before you had a son or who you will be when your son is graduating high school, but the you that is in the now. Learn to dress yourself based on how you look and are actually physically built. There's a great TV show in the UK that is aimed at women who struggle with confidence, it's called "how to look good naked", there might be a torrent out there or maybe it's on youtube. I always liked the message it delivered, that you don't have to be skinny to be sexy or you don't have to be super curvy to look amazing naked. You have what you've got and it's best to love what you have than want to be someone else or an unhealthy version of yourself.
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