I am healthy, but still have some problems with my body image

Hello! I am not a native English speaker, so excuse my mistakes. I used to be anorexic in my adolescence, but now I am OK. I've maintained healthy weight for 3 years and my BMI is 18.5. I mostly fine with my body image and don't feel fat anymore, but I am still struggling with some problems:

  1)I still pay too much attention on weight loss advertisement.When I read ads and articles about diets and weight loss, it makes me feel guilty about my current lifestyle. I feel, like they tell me: "Look at yourself! You are fat and lazy. You should eat less and lose some weight" e.t.c. I understand that this kind of advertisement is addressed to really overweight people, not to me, but that is still very difficult for me to ignore it. When I look at the mirror after reading these ads or articles I feel like I am not skinny enough,  my shoulders are too broad and thighs are chubby e.t.c. I just try to ignore this kind of thoughts, because I don't want to have my anorexia relapse, I want to be healthy.

2)My father still doesn't accept my body and constantly call me a "hanger" or "skinny skeleton". He tells me that I am not a "real woman", because "real women have curves". He always inserts himself and try to control me and my weight. It seems, like he remained in the past and doesn't want to notice that I've become normal. 

3) My acquaintances never call me fat, most of them still tell me, that I am too skinny, but sometimes I dream about my weight.In these dreams someone calls me overweight and I am trying to  prove, that I am not fat and don't need to lose any weight.

4)When I see a thin girl calling herself fat, it also makes me feel big. I have a skinny coworker, who considered herself fat and I feel uncomfortable talking to her.

Before my ED I just had no interest to weight loss topics, but now things have changed. I would like to stop thinking about this and finally accept myself.

Last edited by

4 Replies

  • Unless everyone in your family is naturally skinny, it is likely that your current weight is not healthy for you, especially since you're still having those kinds of thoughts AND you're contradicting yourself in the same post. You say you don't feel fat but everything you've mentioned in points 1, 2, 3 & 4 suggest otherwise.

    If you gain weight to your natural size by eating towards your hunger cues (not to xxxx calories or a meal plan or by constantly doing whatever you're doing), those kinds of thoughts will quite quickly disappear. In fact, after the initial uneven weight gain, you'll probably look and feel 'slimmer' than you do now.

    How old are you? If you're under 20 or even 25, it's not natural to not gain weight over 3 years because that means you're preventing your bones and muscles and organs from growing. Just have a look at any girls' growth charts.

    Since you seem to be in a position where you're in charge of your own recovery, I would have a read of the 'Minnesota Starvation Experiment'. Also, although I feel like the forced guidelines aren't helpful (but in general are fairly accurate), have a look at tumblr blogs 'fyoured' and 'letsrecover'.

    Of course, you can continue to maintain your weight if you want to since you're not in immediate danger of dying from malnutrition. But I would really consider if you want to spend the rest of your life like this or whether you want to truly get better.

  • Thank you for quick and informative reply! I am 23 and most of my female relatives are indeed naturally slim. Although before my ED(when I was 15 ) I used to be slightly thicker than now, and my BMI was about 19-19.5. I used to have some curves, but now my breasts are almost flat( On the one hand, I would like to gain some weight, through I realise, that I used to look better. On the other hand, I still have some fear of weight gain, because I afraid to become really fat and big.

     Now I eat mostly healthy, but towards my hunger cues and  don't try to limit my calorie intake. I really don't feel fat most of the time, however I find some things triggering my ED. It is really difficult for me to communicate with people, who are obsessed with their weight, because it also makes my feel fat and I start thinking too much about my weight. The same thing works with weight loss ads.

  • I think those kinds of people - the types who are obsessed with their weight - are just people you need to gradually learn to deal with. The best thing to do is to ignore them but it's probably not always possible. Is it your friends? Or people at work/college/university? If it's your friends, tell them it makes you feel uncomfortable. If they're truly your friends, they'll understand and will at least attempt to change their behaviour. If it's others, have a read of this for tips on dealing with it: ed-bites.blogspot.co.uk/201...

    For the weight loss ads, the same kind of applies. Ignore them if you can or even laugh at how ridiculous and stupid half of them are. Where do you see them? TV? Magazines? The internet? If it's magazines, I think it would be best for you to avoid reading them if they're somewhat triggering. If it's TV, you can always just get some service for streaming shows instead or find more interesting things to do with your life than sitting in front of a screen. Learn a language, take up a sport (assuming you've been given the OK for exercise from doctors and/or family), read, anything. If it's the internet, you could try installing an ad blocker (but they don't work all of the time).

    Regarding your fear of weight gain, this is going to be quite long as it includes a personal anecdote to prove a point:

    If you're truly eating to your hunger cues then that's great. If that's the case, don't force yourself to gain weight if your body (read body, not mind) doesn't want to. However, if you feel like it would be better for you health wise - e.g. you don't have regular periods or they're very light, you get cold easily, you tend to become upset or angry over little things frequently, etc. - to gain weight, then that's fine too. If you're scared of 'becoming fat' it helps to remember it takes a long time to gain significant amounts of weight and if you listen to your body as you say you're doing now, if you do end up becoming a bit heavier than is right for your body, you'll notice:

    1) Your appetite will pretty much be dead half the time.

    2) You'll probably become quite fidgety and spontaneously want to go out for a walk or run more often.

    3) You'll be quite warm a lot of the time as your body will try and use the excess energy stores you'll have.

    I can guarantee you, especially if you're naturally thin, it will be very hard for you to become 'fat' if you listen to your body.

    I used to be a chubby child because I just didn't pay attention to whether I was hungry or not and I was very much a 'see food, eat food' type of person. That, combined with too many cake sales when I started secondary school and lack of exercise, meant my weight crept up too much (so I became borderline overweight for my age and height) which is what triggered me to attempt to lose weight which unfortunately led to an eating disorder. It was hard for me mentally when I chose to 'let go' of everything as 1) I was already weight restored to a supposedly 'healthy weight' and 2) I didn't want to be the 'fat kid' again (but thinking back, I was never fat... just a little chubby and very unfit). I thought I would just gain and gain and gain as I just ate and ate during the first 3 weeks. Except I didn't. My hunger just suddenly tapered down quite dramatically afterwards. I had a check up at my GP for other health issues yesterday and my weight is still more or less the same as it was after my eating spree. In fact, I didn't even gain much weight during my eating spree - just 2 to 3 kilos - which brought me up to a healthy weight for me.

    That kind of thing is what typically happens for people who have lost weight to a point that isn't healthy for them. I remember a friend who had an operation so couldn't eat for two weeks and so lost quite a lot of weight. After a couple of weeks, she naturally returned to more or less her previous size.

    The same usually applies for people who gain too much weight. Their bodies will continuously tell them that they're carrying too much fat on them but they either choose to ignore it because they love food too much (like I kinda used to) or there is something causing them to be unable to recognise their body's signals. It may be too much stress. It may be hormonal imbalances caused by health conditions or a long term unhealthy lifestyle. It may be some sort of medication.

    As long as none of those factors are problems for you, you have nothing to worry about.

  • Thank you, I found your advices really helpful.

You may also like...