Anyone that spends time worrying about how they look can instantly explain to you that their body image has impacted their lives. And I’ll add that anyone that worries about it knows that they are being impacted negatively. Truthfully, I believe Ms. Molinary (The author of “Beautiful You” – the book I’m following) is writing this section to bring our awareness to the battle we tend to have with ourselves and our bodies. Granted, sometimes there is a subtlety to the message we send ourselves, but it is there.
To bring this awareness, she asks a few questions to be answered in the “Beautiful You Journal”, as she calls it (I’m calling mine the “Beautiful Me Journal” (or BMJ for short)- yeah I know it’s not very creative, but I’m going with it). So, here are the questions and my answers:
How has body image impacted your daily life and outlook?
I can best answer this question by admitting (I’m sure this comes as no shock to others) that I have such self-hatred of myself that it ruins any chance of positivity throughout my day. I can’t stand to look in a mirror, I hate stepping on a scale and I have had this as a reason to drink my pain away. It feels hopeless on many days that I’ll ever appear to be attractive or healthy.
What have been your challenges and triumphs over time?
My weight is my biggest challenge. Of course, being a type 1 diabetic, it makes it difficult to manage my weight, because anything I do has an impact on my blood glucose levels and it is highly discouraging trying to accomplish much. As to triumphs? When I was younger, I was in shape, exercised a lot, ate with respect to nutritional needs and made health a high priority of mine. Also, I used to lift weights, achieved a blackbelt in martial arts and really enjoyed an active lifestyle. But I haven’t felt any triumphs in many years.
What have you denied and allowed yourself because of the perception of your appearance?
It’s not so much that I denied myself anything, but more to do with taking an active step towards self-destruction. When I began hating myself, I quit caring about what I ate and took up drinking beer on a regular basis. I hate to admit it, but there were times when I wasn’t showering regularly and I wasn’t addressing hygiene matters. It’s kind of embarrassing to admit, but truth in myself is what I’m after here.
How has your personality changed because of your sense of appearance?
I became negative, pessimistic, angry, depressed, anxious and I’m sure irritable and frustrating to be around.
What have you gained or lost because of your body image?
I’ve gained close to 100 pounds, and I have gained unhealthy addictions – alcohol, sex, escape online – anything to avoid how I feel about myself. Lost? I feel like I’ve lost job opportunities due to my weight, looks and attitude. I feel like leaving a toxic marriage became impossible, because I could not see anyone wanting to be with me or wanting to be around me, let alone wanting to have sex with me.