Body Image and What Really Affects It?

I've heard, seen, and read a lot of things about body image. I've seen documentaries on people with anorexia, bulimia, and people that binge. Today, though, I was reminded more about what actually affects these things...

****(Be forewarned that if you have dealt with an eating disorder this may have triggering material. It is not intended to be, but for your safety take caution in proceeding.)****

I've had issues with anorexia before, and for me it was actually about control more than anything. In the beginning, it didn’t have anything to do with weight. I just felt like I had no control over my life, and if the only thing I could control was my eating habits, I was going to rebel through them. I tested myself. “How little can I eat? How long can I hold myself back?” I thought that if I could resist my own human instinct to eat, I was powerful.

When it got really bad, I caught myself sometimes going into the kitchen and making food without honestly even realizing it. When I caught myself, I threw it away. I thought I was really strong.

After so long, I did want to see myself skinnier and skinnier because I felt like it meant I could overcome my obstacles. I could prove a point to myself. Sometimes it was like I saw fat that wasn’t there if I let myself slide and eat something. I’d punish myself through other means of self harm…

It wasn’t really about weight, though. It wasn’t about being pretty to other people. It wasn’t really affected by celebrities, or models, other than the fact that in a sick way I started to respect others with (seemingly obvious) eating disorders because I thought, “Look at how well she/he handles her/his obstacles.”

So when I hear, or see, or read about people with eating disorders and all anyone can talk about is how skinny they are (in terms of disorders like mine), or how they did it to try to be more beautiful because they saw people on television and in magazines that were so skinny, I don’t fully understand it. Personally, I still feel more positively about myself being skinny because of the power or ego-boost, but again it’s not about what’s pretty, it’s about the motive behind starving myself.

Anyway, to overcome my anorexia I had to come to terms with why I was doing it to myself. So I know my reasons. I want to understand other people’s motives. Really, everyone automatically points the finger of blame towards the media (television and magazines and so forth), and I want to understand if that’s really appropriate?

I would think that a family member or friend commenting on your weight or appearance would hit closer to home, right? Maybe it leads to that train of thought like, “Well, what do they base their opinion of me off of?” So they turn to their friend’s favorite band, or celebrity, and take it from there? I just don’t see how people can automatically blame the fashion industry and media first.

It’s not that I can’t accept that people do things for their own reasons. I’m sure not everyone with anorexia or that has dealt with it in the past has the same reasoning as me. Maybe the fashion industry or media really is where it starts for some people. So I want to know… What do you think? Do you think that these things are the primary cause for anorexia, bulimia, or body image?

Anyone that’s comfortable with responding, don’t think you’re going to be judged by me. I’ve spilt the beans here; I have no room to play games like that. However, I don’t want this to possibly turn into a pro-anorexia or pro-disorder conversation. I don’t support these things, and I hope I haven’t hurt anyone’s chances of staying away from relapse…
Still, I know myself and I know I can handle what you have to say. Hopefully, it’s something contributing to the conversation, but some people can’t help themselves.

Anyway, if anyone would like to message me privately, that’s fine by me, too. Thanks for your time if you’ve really read all this…
May 26th, 2011 at 03:38am