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Body image weirdness


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So I've had this problem for a while. I don't own a scale, so I never know what I weigh until I go to p-doc and they weigh me

Anyway, I had ED issues in highschool, almost had to be hospitalized but I wasn't, so it wasn't that severe, I never got completely out of that frame of mind, however.

Well, now I do eat normally and maintain a healthy weight, but to me, a lot of times, it doesn't look healthy.

Somedays I think I look normal, but other days I see something completely different.

My face looks different to me somedays, sometimes I'm okay going out in public with the way I look and other days I wouldn't even dream of it.

I wear baggy clothes all the time to hide all the rolls of fat SO claims I am imagining.

I swore I looked like I had gained ten pounds in a month, since the last time I saw p-doc.

They weighed me, it was the exact same weight as I was a month ago.

But then, how come I looked fatter?

And I feel weird and often panic after I eat, and I suppose when I said I eat "normally" that isn't really true, I don't know how to do that and remain thin.

I actually mostly gauge how good I look on how many bones I can see.

If I can't see enough of them, I cover it up with baggy, loose fitting clothes that don't make me feel fat.

I think sometimes I can LITERALLY feel my thighs expanding and becoming covered in cellulite after certain large meals, or a high calorie item.

But I'm not unhealthy or anything. I just wonder how sometimes I can look normal, and then other times, I look so bad I wouldn't even let SO see me naked, when nothing changed in reality, but it all looks so different to me sometimes. I don't know, anyone else? Does anyone else find that they think they look too awful to be seen in public for aday or two and then suddenly feel okay again after that? Is this normal? Is this even a problem? It's just something I think is weird, but didn't know if everyone else has the same thing.

Sorry if I am incoherent, I'm tired and the klonopin isn't helping my cognitive abilites right now.

Thanks if anyone has any input, I'd appreciate it. hopefully I'm not the only weirdo that goes through this, oh I hope I hope I hope it's normal, but it doesn't seem so. . . hmmmm.

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Yeah, I have a t-doc, and I've ALWAYS had a hard time discussing this with my t-docs because they always assign me women that are larger than me, and I don't want to offend them at all, so I don't mention it. I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. I've been seeing her for six months now and feel comfortable with her in every aspect but that one. I really don't like telling someone who is quite a bit larger than me that I find myself to be a cow.

I loved it when I exercised! It actually helped in in so many ways, including body image, mood, sleeping, everything, it was great and I miss it so much, but I have these really embarassing fears about exercising that are totally irrational, so I don't do it anymore. But yeah, when I quit smoking, I was all about jogging and doing my own little routines in the house.

Maybe I should try again, it just freaks me out a little.

I know, it probably was somewhat severe, I had turned all yellow and was very small for my size and all that, but I refrain from posting on the ED boards or really saying I had an ED because I was never diagnosed with one and never had treatment for it, so I don't want to offend anyone ny kinda thinking I had a problem when so many people here have REAL ED issues. I don't know.

Thanks for replying!!

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No, no, could this just stay in the NOS section? Please? I'm embarassed. NOS was a more appropriate place, I don't belong in this place. I'm not trying to be rude, I just feel like an idiot in this forum, I don't have any helpful advice, I'd just be a leech, and I don't have an eating disorder, or we could delete it entirely? I didn't mean to have this here, I'm sorry if I was rude or something.

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I do believe "body image weirdness" fits into this part of the board. The only thing that wouldn't would be something that encourages disordered eating, is just about weight gain (like med side effects), and... yeah... other things, but I am sick, foggy and can't really think straight.

It is ok to have your post here. It is better *here* than in NOS. diathus made the right call. There is nothing to be embarrassed about.

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Yeah, I have a t-doc, and I've ALWAYS had a hard time discussing this with my t-docs because they always assign me women that are larger than me, and I don't want to offend them at all, so I don't mention it. I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. I've been seeing her for six months now and feel comfortable with her in every aspect but that one. I really don't like telling someone who is quite a bit larger than me that I find myself to be a cow.

That is tough. I totally understand where you are coming from and would most likely react the same way. I, too, worry about what I say to doctors and stuff.

Maybe you can approach the topic with her but not in the sense of going right out and saying you feel like a "cow." What if you simply start out, anyway, simplifying some of what you said earlier? Say something like, "Some days I feel ok about myself, alright enough to go out in public, but other days I feel totally different... I feel horrible about my appearance, feel the need to wear baggy clothes to cover up, etc." I think that if she asks for further explanation, maybe you might feel more comfortable *then* mentioning a bit about weight directly. Also keep in mind that she is a professional and can take care of herself. I know it is still hard, though. I don't know.... just a suggestion.

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I have something similar going on, I think. I've been talking to my therapist about it. That helps a little.

It's kind of an obsessive thing with me, so getting the obsessiveness under control with meds made a difference.

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I was talking to my counselor about this a while ago and she said to me..."I'm 15 kilos heavier than you, do you think I'm fat?". It was totally uncomfortable but she made a good point. She's about 1 centimeter (if that) taller than me and weighs 15 kilos more, but I think she's skinnier than me. It makes no sense, ED's don't make sense. Even after you've started eating normally again the body image issues can remain for many years and that's what therapy is for.

Don't worry about offending the professionals that you tell. Saying that you feel really fat is not saying anything bad about them, it's saying how to feel about yourself.

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Body dysmorphia is such a common part of an ED that it's usually not dx seperately. It sounds like yours can come and go a bit, whcih is also normal and could depend upon mood, hormones, stress, your mental state, etc. So, it's not so weird that it fluctuates.

I think we all have our "good" body days and bad ones, to a certain extent. I agree with dianthus that exercise can help a lot. I always feel more positive about my body when exercising....

I definitely never had an ED but I've had eating "issues" and I had zyprexa induced bulemia (which I don't actually count as an ED) and I never quite crossed the ED line, but I think one can get awfully close in this society, and in this one it is REALLY hard to feel consistently positive about one's body as a woman, period.

I highly doubt that your therapist would be wounded by your statements about weight/food. I worked non-stop with ED pts, and I am pretty normal sized, definitely not thin, and it never bothered me a bit. It is not your job to worry about your therapist's feelings, anyway.

Even if you never got formal tx, it might not be a bad idea to see a nutritionist a few times to find out about normal eating and how to do it, etc.

Anna

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Speaking as someone who is heavier, here's my opinion on speaking to your therapist about it: I work in a section of the office with three other women. Myself and two other women are overweight. The other woman is average weight and quite pretty. But she's self-conscious about her weight, especially since her sister is about four sizes smaller than she is without trying. And you know what? I respect her self-consciousness. If she feels fat, then she feels fat. Whether she is or isn't does not have much bearing on how she feels, and we all have different standards in our heads for what makes fat fat. I don't feel like she's calling me fat by considering herself overweight (not least because I know I'm obese), even if by a body fat percentage scale, I would consider her healthy.

Talk to your tdoc about the difference between what you know, what you see (iow, what changes through perception), and what you feel. Anyway, this sounds like body dysmorphia to me, so it is definitely something that should come up in therapy.

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ophelia- thank you, that was a really good suggestion on how to appraoach the topic. I'd obviously like this to change as, I hate feeling like shit about myself, it's just so hard to bring it up to someone larger than me, so uncomfortable. I've even tried before, but she doesn't seem to want to go on with it since our main focus in therapy right now is all the anxiety shit. I thought maybe, if I couldn't get it out, even the way you described, which was really good, I figured I'd have SO go sit in on a session with me and mention something to her about it since my eating habits and body image really bother him a lot, and he said he'd be okay with bringing it up. He's A LOT bigger than me AND her, so heh, yeah, maybe that would work? I don't know. She seems to want to focus on one issue at a time where, I have so many that I'd like to get them all out now. And since I appear to be healthy, I don't think she's worried. I'm not either, I just hate feeling like shit about myself and not knowing now to eat right and maintain a healthy weight.

rowen- I have a lot of issues with obsessiveness I've come to realize, and this is just another thing. Effexor was the med that helped me so much with that, but not with anything else, so, like an idiot, I went off it. That pill made me lose 10 pounds, however, and THAT probably DIDN'T help this particular issue, ugh!

Anna and lunalelle- THANK YOU. That made me feel a little better about approaching her about it. I agree that this society is a sucky place for a woman and I'm not surprised that most of us DO have a TON of insecurites because of it, but that's a totally different rant I could write a fucking novel about.

SO keeps telling me that he thinks everyone else sees something different than what I see when I look in the mirror, but I don't really believe that. My twin sister is the same way, she used to have really bad acne, now it's cleared up, but she still thinks she has it! She thinks sometimes her "acne" is too terrible for her to go out in public, but she'll have like one zit and think they are all over her face. We're both weird in the same ways, I don't know.

But thank you everyone, I thought I shouldn't be posting in here, but you've helped a lot and made me feel more comfortable, so I appreciate it a lot.

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A lot of therapists have little to no experience with EDs, and won't address it because they don't really know how to. You could ask your tdoc about how much she's treated EDs in general.

As someone who worked on an inpt ED unit, I can't say enough about finding a nutritionist who has worked with folks who have body image issues, and who understands EDs. The nutritionist is a HUGE part of this kind of tx, and can sometimes be more helpful than therapy anyway.

As far as the body dysmorphia, CBT and distress tolerance techniques can be helpful. You really might want a therapist who has ED as a specialty though, if you want to address this issue. It's tricky treatment, for sure, and a pretty specialized area.

You could stay with regular tdoc for the anxiety and do like 8--12 sessions with an ED therapist, if you wanted, so you don't necessarily have to give your therapist up if you like her. I am a firm believer though, in finding an ED specialist for ED stuff.... It's pretty much the trickiest MI out there, IMHO. It also kills the most, and causes the most impact to one's life, for a lot of people.

Get some help with it, Emporer. This shit is treatable, and you don't have to feel like you are always walking a fine line, or having to eat strangely, and all that. It's treatable.

And good nutrition and whatnot might help with some of the anxiety, etc.

Anna

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...since our main focus in therapy right now is all the anxiety shit.

Maybe this is the way to bring it up - say that you're feeling really anxious, and a lot of the anxious feeling is because of your worries about your body/size.

I think having your SO go with you to a session is a good idea if the tdoc agrees to it.

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I don't know if I need to see an ED specialist really, since I don't have an ED, but I am really weird about my weight and can't figure out a healthy way to eat and stay thin at all. Maybe a nutritionist would be better I guess because I honestly don't know how to eat like a normal person, I know it's fucked up how I eat, but not really bad. It's rare that I'd go a whole day without eating, and I probably have around 1000 calories a day, and that helps me maintain a weight that I don't even like. Ugh, but I know how unhealthy it would be to reduce my calories so I won't do it.

I don't think I really have a problem anymore, but yes, it does cause a lot of anxiety for me. I guess that's obvious because of all the shit I've already stated, but yeah, I'd really like to feel comfortable in my own skin at some point and feel decent about my appearance, but there's always that little thought that there's no reason WHATSOEVER to feel good about my appearance because there's nothing good about it period. Fine then, I guess I'd like to accept that I'm ugly and not give a damn about that then, or care what my fucking saddlebags look like, or my love handles, or be so annoyed when I feel my thighs rubbing together at the top or jiggling when I walk that I wish I could just take a knife to them to relieve that stupid fucking feeling. I would NEVER do that, but I wish I could sometimes.

Haha, yeah, I sound REALLY healthy now. Holy shit. that last bit was a little insane I guess. Well, it bothers me a lot sometimes.

T-doc encourages people to come with me to my sessions, so I'm sure SO could sit in on any or even all of them if he wanted to or could. SO maybe I can get him to bring it up. At this point though, I don't know how much help I can get for it, or that I even really need help for it, I just don't know. Sorry to whine about this here, if I've said anything inappropriate, please let me know, I don't want to bother anyone at all.

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It's why I'm frustrated, because I WANT to eat like a normal person, but I can't. If I eat more than 1000 calories for a while, I start to gain weight.

There's days when I certainly go over that by far, like if we go out to eat or something, but if we do that, I make sure it's once a week and that's the only thing I eat that day.

I think I really messed up my metabolism in middle school and high school when all I ate every other day was half a banana and a granola bar and would throw up anything extra, because now I can't eat too much or it really starts to show, but that was so long ago, I'm 23 now, you'd think I'd have other choices besides eat healthy and gain a shit ton of weight or try to restrict my diet to something I really don't like. But hell, if I was doing what I WANTED to do, what I'd LIKE to do, I'd eat pancakes for breakfast, 4 double cheeseburgers for lunch, a whole pizza for dinner and eight milshakes as snacks, that's not good either. But damn it sounds nice.

So yeah, the nutritionist is actually something I've been thinking about for a couple of years now, I don't know where to find one. That's a poor excuse, but yeah, I bet they would help me, then I have the fear of getting even bigger. I don't know, it's frustrating, like I said.

I really WOULD like to be healthier, but I don't want to gain weight, you know? I DO want to get better about it, but only if it means I can be thin I guess. Is that unreasonable? I don't know what is reasonable here to be honest. I don't know anything about being reasonable with food or my weight or anything.

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Yes, exercise if you have metabolic issues is good.

Check to see if there's an inpatient ED unit near you and call them, they usually have lists of good nutritionists that work with the body image stuff as outpatients. Or, ask your doctor and/or therapist.

Anna

ETA: Sometimes if your metabolism is screwed up you WILL gain for the first little bit when you eat normally, but metabolisms adjust and often you eventually end up losing it again. There's a whole bunch of science behind it that I won't get into. But, perpetually starving yourself is not the answer. CONSISTENT diet and exercise that is HEALTHY is what will fix your metabolism

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Thanks guys. I really want to exercise, it's hard to start though, and then once I do, I can get REALLY weird about it. At this point, I have an irrational fear related to that, which we are trying to work on, I just have to go to the doctor and have a million tests done. But yeah, I felt great when I was running every day and doing other routines. I got more acne though. . .

I DO want help and a nutritionist because, yeah, I don't think I'm exactly doing the healthiest thing I could, but like Mckey said, I don't know if I really want help or just want to be thin, I mean, I know I want to be HEALTHY and live a long time, but I don't want to gain ANY weight, though I'd still be fine with losing, even though I'm not actively TRYING to lose weight at all. I don't know. I'm sorry I didn't really know what I was getting into when I posted this. I'm freaking out anyway.

But you guys have been really great and supportive and helpful and I do appreciate that a lot.

I guess unltimately I'll have to bring it up with t-doc so we can figure out what's going on.

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bring it up now with your therapist so you do not turn 51 and still see yourself growing with each bite of extra food ...I totally know the feeling of having your thighs and belly grow while eating and it made no sense so I just lived with it ...

it is not fun to live like this and something I have worked on for years ...no one knew back then because I did not have bulima or anorexia and binge eating was just considered a lack of will

now I am still not sure what "normal" looks like for me

I could weigh 90lbs and still see fat

the only control I have is that I have choosen to avoid my own perception of myself and go by clothing as well as BMI and blood pressure ..if they are all ok I lay off myself

I plan to have this discussion as well with a therapist hopefully soon ...but for the time being since I dont freak out ..eat about 14-1500 calories a day move intentionally all day long ...and get plenty of exercise at home and work ...(I dont work out because I get obssessed with that as well so I just add more steps and go for walks...garden ..out of doors stuff) ..am loosing the obvious weight gain ..that my doctor noted needed to be lost (I have talked to him about my image issues ..and he completely understood ..we have an agreement when I reach this weight I am going to increase my calories and keep up the moving my ass part we set a goal together after I gained the weight)

I hope this makes sense what I am trying to say is if someone could have helped me sooner in life I would not have had all this agony about my weight all these years

when it was never even real! I was a pretty athletic and healthy kid I just always saw myself ballooning up ....now that it is real I have to be very structured have a set point of loosing and then stop when I get there regardless of what I see in the mirror ... (half way there now ;) )

I hope someday to actually see my self like others do but so far I dont and I wish the same for you ....once in a while a photo will help me get a clue but really I still see myself as pretty fat

as far as dealing with folks who are larger ..please let that one go ..no one in healthcare will be hurt by your reflections and if they are they are in the wrong business ...

good luck :)

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Thanks, wondernut. I can see what you are saying about this. For me it's been a daily thing for MANY MANY years already and I'm tired of it.

My first panic attacks were when I was five and ate a full meal and my stomach would expand and that would freak me out. I really started feeling bad about my weight when I was around nine years old, that's when it became a constant worry. Damn, that's young. I'm 23 now. I had a time period a few years ago where I didn't worry about it so much and I gained a lot of weight, and I'm afraid that THAT will happen again.

So, unfortunately, I have a long history already with this stupid shit and it's fucking ridiculous and pisses me off a lot. I could cry sometimes. I used to SI a lot, but have pretty much stopped that.

I haven't purged anything in over five years, so that's good too, I've completely stopped that behavior all together, not that I don't get the urge to here and there, but I have been really good about that. I WON'T do it, I don't think I ever will again.

But yeah, it sucks how it's stuck with me.

Even now I'm regretting not getting help for it when I was younger because of what it's turned into. Not that I'm sickly thin or even really that thin, it's just a constant struggle in my head to NOT worry about what the hell I look like or what my thighs feel like, and thank you for posting that you know what it's like to feel things getting bigger when eating, I felt like that was one of the weirdest things about it. They'd feel different, look different.

And yeah, at 82lbs (back in high school) I STILL saw fat. I look at pictures of me back then and want to cry it looked so awful. But then, there were also times back then when I could look in the mirror and see how sick I really looked, but usually it was disgust because I thought something was fatty looking.

Now I weigh MUCH more than that (thankfully, I'd rather be here than there, I felt like utter shit back then) and it's still there, but I wouldn't say it's any worse, I believed just as much back then that I looked like a cow as I do now. It was worse back then I suppose because I was a stick, now I'm at a normal weight and hate it.

And having a baby made my body look different too, like a little extra skin on my belly and thighs and all that, but I know there's nothing to be done about that. Stretch marks don't bother me, it's extra flab, skin, fatty stuff. I could probably go one for days.

And it isn't only my weight. It's my crooked nose, my man-like features, my awful hair, my thin lips, my small boobs, my acne(which I pick like hell at anyway) the way my back looks. It's everything. I'm so incredibly vain about it all that it's ridiculous.

I'm sorry for all that, I haven't vented about this really to anyone ever, not in any depth, I'm so glad there are people here to listen and relate to. Thank you. It means a lot.

Sorry it was a novel and that I babble a lot.

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I could have written much of your last post, EMP. I have no answers, really, just commisseration.

That's okay, it's nice to have you here, really. Like I said, I never really thought too much of this crap, so I've never said anything in depth about it to anyone, so anything is appreciated and I appreciate you being here. So thank you very much, you guys would probably think I'm stupid if you knew how much this means to me.

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