I used to use this website regularly, but gave it up after I realized that calorie counting was, for me, counterproductive and served to fuel my disordered eating rather than help my body image. I've since gotten better and I come back now for a bit of advice.
I am 25 years old, female, 5'9'' (176cm) tall and I weigh about 154lbs (70kg). I am fairly healthy (doc says so), my eating is now (finally) relatively normal and non-compulsive, I exercise regularly twice a week (ballet) and sometimes add in a long walk or a swim at the pool during the week. I don't smoke, I rarely drink and rarely drive. I seem to be attractive to a fair amount of people, enough to make me feel desirable anyway. I think I'm quite pretty and my self-confidence is ok. All of this said, you would think there's nothing more to talk about, but the thing is, despite all of this, I'm still not quite happy with my body.
I love my body for the shape it is and what it can do, but I don't like the size. All the stuff I wear is L or XL for where I live, my body type is soft rather than athletic, and I'm bigger than most of my friends, but all of this is unimportant. The important thing is that I can't honestly look in the mirror and say to myself "Man, I'm hot." The best I can do is "I look good...ish." I wish I could do better. I just don't know what's the way to go about it.
I don't need to lose weight for my health. I don't need to lose weight to fit into nice clothing. I don't even need to lose weight to be attractive. But I want to lose weight (around 14lbs, if I can) so that I can feel comfortable in my body and not be bothered by the rolls of fat on my tummy while I dance (it's a hindrance sometimes). I have a history of ED behaviour and I'm afraid that dieting would just send me back into that mental hell hole, but I doubt that I will lose any weight with just a healthy lifestyle, which I am implementing now. My question is: should I attempt to lose weight at all, or should I just accept that I will always be pudgy, even though I don't like it, and try to will myself to be perfectly content as I am? I don't know if I can do option 2, and I'm a bit scared that option 1 may be unsafe for me. What do you think?
The L and XL come from your height, not your weight. My daughter is 5'7" and I always look for those sizes for her. She's not overweight but she is tall. You are tall. You know you are not 'pudgy.'
I was listening to an interview with Meryl Streep in which she said that she sometimes comes across herself on TV, seeing herself in an older movie and she is shocked that she thought SHE looked fat in that movie or at that time in her life. Such is the attitude of someone who has to constantly be concerned with camera angles. But you're not in front of a camera - if you realize that the faulty camera that is your perception of your body is not going to go away without your banishing it (just shut down those thoughts as much as you can possibly manage), then you can start to appreciate how good you really do look.
Even someone else telling you look good will be corrected - inside, you'll be skeptically saying, 'Yeah, right... '
I look at photo albums and see myself in a bathing suit when I was in my 20s. I thought I had a full time job just trying not to look bad in a bathing suit. But I was perfectly fine and just couldn't enjoy it - what a shame! I could have been more relaxed and transferred all that mental energy to more productive uses. Or just felt better about myself! That's hindsight for ya.
Thanks, Kathy. I'm not sure if agree about height being the only determinant of clothing size. I have two cousins who are both around 6' tall and they both wear smaller clothes than I do because they are naturally very flat and slim. But this is genetics - I envy their flat tummies, they envy my large bust, in the end, we all gotta be happy with the lot we've been dealt.
I don't know... I know I'm not overweight and I know I don't NEED to lose weight. My size doesn't impede me in any way, except a bit in dance - I still wear bikinis and I still wear skin tight clothing when I perform with my performance group. But there are lots of people who don't need to be slimmer who do it for aesthetic reasons and are still healthy afterwards. I think I started this thread because I wanted to vent out my frustrations over not being able to be one of them. I am aware that my wish to be slimmer has purely to do with aesthetic preference, nothing else, and I'm angry because I'm slowly realizing it might not be a good enough reason.
I guess the best thing to do is continue eating well, sleeping well and being active and just let it be. If weight loss happens, it happens, if not... I'll just have to learn to own my size. I'm just really tired, mentally. I've worked so hard to get here and it's really difficult for me to adore the look of my body when I've spent the last 10 years of my life calling myself fat even when I was 20lbs lighter and doing all manner of awful things to myself in an attempt to be skinny like my family. I'M SO DAMN TIRED. I'm so damn tired of trying to be body positive, of being strong. I hate my vanity, and I miss it too. God damn it.
I think for your height, your weight is fine and I don't think trying to lose 'weight' is a good thing for you considering you've had an eating disorder. Have you considered putting your efforts into exercise to change your body composition rather than lose weight? If you reduce body fat and increase lean muscle, your weight will not necessarily go down but your will look leaner and firmer. If you're interested, let me know and I can send you a few links (that I use) that are free. You don't need a gym membership to get in shape! Just a few simple pieces of equipment at home is all you need. Let me know
"WARNING: Exercise has been known to cause good health and happiness"
I do exercise, I've written about it in my first post (ballet 2x/week, occasional brisk walks, swimming or free-climbing). The thing is, I HATE gyms, I HATE aerobics and I really don't like exercise equipment save for simple weights. The first two bore me to tears, and the equipment, I feel, provides very isolated muscle activation, which I don't want. I prefer to do activities that are are more natural and that I enjoy. Ballet is actually the first kind of exercise in my life that I have not gotten bored doing regularly after a few weeks, and that I actually look forward to every week. However, being the biggest lady in class does tend to stress me a little.
Anyway, I do agree with you that the best course of action is probably to focus on upping my exercise regime and add in some jogging and possibly some home exercise, but I'm not sure that will help in terms of being leaner. In my previous experience, whenever I've exercised intensively, I've only built up stamina and strength and possibly gained a bit of muscle, but the fat always refuses to go anywhere. What solution would you suggest for this?
Your BMI is totally normal (22.7). I can understand loving the ballet class, compared to the gym. The music is much better! If you are the biggest woman in the class, then 1) you are the tallest or among the tallest and that makes you feel big, or 2) everyone else is younger or underweight or both.
I had a friend who was a ballerina. I know that as a group, ballerinas tend to obsess a bit about weight, even to the point of indulging in bad health habits to stay slim (smoking, bulimia, etc.) I'm trying not to generalize about that profession but it's a very very competitive business. To dance ballet to stay in shape, you're in a different category. Just enjoy it! The drive to be slender when your body is fine already can easily become an eating disorder. You referred to a future of always 'being pudgy' and you're not that. That attitude is inside your head and nowhere else if ballet is a non-professional endeavor for you.
In L.A., where people want to be on film, or in the dance world, where companies reject people who look 'too old' or 'too chunky' and they are normally just older or normally just not built like 12-year-old girls: that is a whole other thing. In the meantime, someone may be looking at you and thinking, 'She would be really hot if she just put on about 10 pounds....' Go figure.