Mental health week 2019 – body image

So in the UK this week it’s mental health week and this year it’s focused on body image.  Such a humongous topic and something that I think probably effects everyone of us in some way shape or form (no pun intended).

I have had my own journey with body image along the way, if you’ve read anymore of my blog you may have read about my low moments when I tried to make myself sick, this makes me so sad when I look back now.  Our bodies are so amazing after all and yet we can treat them so badly at times.

I am once again on my own journey with my body having just had two babies in three years it has changed somewhat but I have a new found respect for how amazing it is and I will never hate my body in the way I have previously.  I also have an autoimmune disease (ulcerative colitis) which demands I respect my body to feel well so I have no choice really, I have to take good care of myself.

I feel like the media has a lot to be accountable for for the unrealistic and unachievable goals it sets us, who are they to say what the most desirable body image is anyway?  I look around my local high street and how many people do I see who look like someone from a magazine, zero, that’s right ZERO!  Perhaps the people in the magazines are the unusual looking ones and not us?

Anyway I digress a little from OCD and I do have one incident from my past which I can remember quite vividly which involves eating and my OCD.

So when I was younger and my compulsions were really bad I had to do everything four times and I mean literally everything!  I remember standing in a local shop wanting to buy a bag of chocolate – like a selection pack with multiple bars in – now this is the sort of thing you would normally only want one of.  I stood there trying to decided which one to buy for what seemed like ages, every time I made a decision – I’ll buy this one – an OCD intrusive thought would come into my head and be associated with it – magical thinking OCD.  Long story short I ended up buying four of these bags of sweets – and probably spending most of my pocket money at the time on them – and then of course I had to eat them all too – so bingeing as a result of my OCD – the result of which, predictably was that I felt full, sick, guilty, ashamed and all the other rubbish that comes with eating too much and did it help relieve my intrusive thoughts, of course not!

This happened a lot to me over the years and so not only was my mind out of my control but also my body and it did take an awfully long time for me to stop eating in this way, my poor body.

Learning to love yourself is I think a life long journey but we must focus on the things which are amazing about ourselves and not the things which aren’t our best features.  If you’re someone who loves every part of yourself then you’re a very lucky person.  I think when you can realise that no matter what you do you’re never, EVER going to look like someone in a magazine then you can start to move on and accept who you are and how beautiful you are because no matter how much you diet or work out it is completely unachievable because:

  1. They’ve been airbrushed – they don’t even look like that!
  2. They spent like 3 hours in make up as well!
  3. They had someone come and do their hair and make up for them – I’d look amazing if I had that too.
  4. All models are different too, there’s no way you can be, white and Asian and Mediterranean and 6 foot tall and petite and have blue eyes and brown eyes and blonde hair and brown hair – no one can have all those things.
  5. No one gets it all, I promise.
  6. We are beautiful because we are unique, if we all looked the same life would be dull, dull, DULL!

Mental wellbeing is essential for your body and body image to be positive too, if you can get your head in the right place then the rest will follow.  On those days when you’re feeling low just take little steps towards making yourself feel calm, right down to the basics of breathing if necessary and don’t beat yourself up for the odd off day, we all have those I promise.

Stay Strong xxx

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