Help me help myself

I am scared to write these posts I have in my head and need to get down “on paper”. This summer there was an article in the local paper about Olivia and our golf outing and I mentioned this blog. Now a few people in my circle read it, more than before. And I don’t want to edit myself because “they” are reading it. Because it’s my blog about my life and what I’m feeling.

But what I need to write about is so personal and, for a perfectionist like me, is really hard to admit.

So here goes.

I am 34 years old and I don’t like my body.

At all.

I obsess over it constantly. I worry about it constantly. I exercise it and feed it or don’t feed it constantly. I dream about it. I have nightmares about it. I wake up in the morning alternately relieved that it doesn’t look as bad as it did in my dream and then upset that it doesn’t look like the way I think it should. I am bummed about my body the minute I wake up every single day.

I need to let this go. I know I would feel so much better if I could just be happy with the way I look.

And if you know me IRL, I know I’m not fat. I know that I look fine. I rationally know that I’m ridiculous…yet I can’t help it. It’s so much more than thinking I’m fat. It’s thinking that I could be better. That my body could look better. That I could look better. That I’m a failure because it’s not model perfect.

And then if I stop obsessing about my body, I start obsessing over the wrinkles on my face or my acne scars that show up when I take my make-up off or the gray hairs that are popping up all over my head.

And again, I need it to stop.

I have a husband who thinks I am truly the most beautiful woman on the face of the earth. He will never stop thinking that and will never stop loving me. I don’t know why I can’t just love myself.

I don’t know how.

I’ve been this way since I was 11. I remember the day like it was yesterday. I can pinpoint the exact moment I started obsessing over my body and the way it looked and the fact that it wasn’t good enough. I don’t know how to let go. To let go of the fact that I don’t look like a fitness model and be ok with that. To let go of the fact that I don’t have “abs of steel” or “Brazilian buns” or the best body at the pool. I should just be happy and content that I am who I am. I run 5 miles at a time or do an hour of turbokick every day. I lift weights. I eat healthy with a few treats now and then. I should be proud of who I am, not ashamed.

But I am.

It’s so crazy because I can rationally say “I look good. I am healthy. I am me and I am proud.” but then irrationally I obsess every single day that I’m not good enough. I want to be free of it. But I don’t know how.

Do you?

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20 responses to “Help me help myself

  1. You are so honest, it is amazing. I know how you feel. Believe me. Sadly I think many women do. I watched Portia di Rossi on Oprah the other day. She wrote a book about her eating disorders/body image issues. I think it is called “Unbearable Lightness”. Don’t know if it is good, but her interview was. I am hoping we all start to love ourselves just the way we are.

  2. For what it is worth – I’ve seen pictures of you and you look awesome…and I’m not just saying that.

  3. I know exactly how you feel. No matter how my body looks, I am never happy with it. When I lose weight and tone up, I think “I can lose MORE weight, I can tone up better”, it’s never good enough. I don’t know how to change it either. I know I just have to accept the fact that it is what it is and just do my best to eat healthy and exercise when I can. But that’s easier said than done.

  4. Ugh. I hate my body. There are a million things I wish were different about it. I would be more vocal about it, except…for my girls. I would hate for them to not love their bodies. Their perfect bodies that came from me. I would hate for them to obsess about it, to lose their joie de vivre because of their bodies. So I try not to focus on mine. I try, and I try, and I try.
    (Doesn’t mean it works, though.) I know this doesn’t help you, but just wanted to let you know that you are not alone.

    P.S. Maybe you are the way you are about your body (which is gorgeous, BTW) because it is the only thing you can control? Just thinking out loud here…

  5. Tiffany, I understand COMPLETELY how you feel. I have struggled with this daily since I was also a little girl. At one point in college, I let my eating disorder get the better of me and was down to a VERY unhealthy 120 lbs (not good for my frame). Everyone else told me I needed to eat; I thought I needed to lose more weight. I have gotten that part under control but still hate my body on a daily basis. If you find the answer, please do pass it on because I agree that I would be much happier if I could learn to love myself just the way I am.

  6. I’m so glad you are putting these very personal feelings out there. Especially since you know people IRL are reading now. Especially since you know the people IRL know you have nothing to feel self-conscious about. As you can see by the comments already, you are not alone.

  7. I could have writen this post. It almost made me cry reading it because I feel the same way. I know that I am not fat and I exercise like you do but I am obsessed with hating my body. With not thinking I am good enough. I have been trying so hard lately to figure out how to LOVE me!
    *Hugs*

  8. Oh, how I wish I had the answer for you. I don’t. I’ve hated my body since I was thirteen and had to get a physical to play sports in school and I found out I weighed *gasp* 113 pounds. I was 5′ 6″. I didn’t eat for three days and thus began the cycle of self-loathing.

    And it continues as I go through the last week of my thirties. I still hate my body, which leaks into every other part of my life.

    If you find the answer, I hope you’ll share it with us all.

  9. First, please let me say that I hope you never start editing yourself because I love you because of your honesty. You move me and impact my life because you share so much yourself.

    Secondly, I want to say that I understand. I am not fat. I know a lot of people would like to have my body but when I look at myself I see the baby bulge around my belly. I see my thighs that have begun to shake and my rear that is lower than it used to be.

    There is an old statement — “perception is reality” and I believe that is really true with body image. It doesn’t matter what others may think of how we look, it only matters how we feel.

    I wish I had words that would fix this for you (and me, for that matter). I can only tell you that I do know how you feel and that you are not alone. I hope that is enough to ease the burden just a little.

  10. First of all….good for you for writing your true feelings. I am so ashamed of my body that I would never dare write about it. I know it won’t help you but you really are BEAUTIFUL!! I watched Oprah the other day too (like one of your commenters) and saw Portia DeRossi talking about her book…..which I am totally going to get….. and she totally hated her body too and somehow changed her mindset to a healthier image of herself. I know I am really overweight and am working on it, but even when I was in high school and at a “healthy weight” I hated myself. So I guess I need to work on that part too. Thanks for being honest and making me cry : )

  11. We all hate our body at one point. You just have to realize you look ggod. And good has to be good enough. *hugs*

  12. You are incredibly beautiful and you should stop obsessing. That being said, I get what you’re saying and I’m glad that you’re saying it. People tell me I look great and all I can think is “you can’t see the gut that I’m working so very hard to hide.” I get the added benefit of being so insanely busy that I don’t take the time to exercise. So, I feel your pain and I send you hugs (until I actually get to see you again!)

  13. This is an important post and know that you are not alone. I struggle with this too. I run, eat healthy, and lift weights. But yet I still obsess about the flat stomach and the perfect physique. I don’t know what the immediate remedy for this is, but know that we all struggle with these issues.

  14. Oh man… You are not alone. I despise my body. There, I said it out loud. When I was younger, I was content. Now, I’m so far from content, I don’t know where to start. It’s hard. But, it really does sound like you are healthy and fit. We can’t ask for more than that can we? There are so many pressures now to look a certain way, even for moms. We can’t run around in our sweats, tired and cranky. NO! We have to defy that and be hot moms running around in fashionable mom outfits, completely accessorized, looking completely the opposite of women who have given birth to multiple children and who are no where near the age of 40. Because 40 is the new 30 right?!? It’s a lot of pressure. Cut yourself some slack. Especially if your husband is happy and you are healthy. I think it has to do more with the idea of perfection. As soon as we can all let that go, the happier we’ll be. Easier said than done.

  15. I know that when you feel it, nothing anyone else says makes any difference, but for the record, you look fabulous. I am so glad you wrote about this topic because I know SO many of us have the same struggle every single day, 24 hours/day. The fact that YOU feel that way makes me remember just how crazy we are ALL being (although I don’t think we choose to engage in that craziness, it seems it’s just a part of how we’re wired!). I wish there was a quick fix, but I think that getting the discussion started and making us all think about it a little more is a great start – thank you for such a great post!

  16. I literally avoid the mirror, because if I “go there,” I will dissect every imperfection and make myself miserable. I look at old pictures of myself and get angry, because I’ve had times of looking SO good and yet at the time, I never thought I did or appreciated what I had.

    I think some of us are just wired this way. I also think that I distract myself from bigger worries by focusing on these little trivial imperfections. It’s not something I’m proud of, though.

    I’m trying to be gentler with myself, but it’s hard. I’m trying to focus on making my body stronger, not thinner or less wiggly. I’m not always very successful, but I’m trying. That’s all we can do. You’re not alone.

  17. Tiffany–thank you for writing this. This is something that is constantly on my mind as well–my unhealthy obsession with my body. I had a nightmare last night in which one of my friends pointed out how I look like I’ve been gaining weight. It freaked me out, I woke up terrified to eat anything.

    I wish I had words of wisdom, but I don’t. I do appreciate your honesty.

  18. I know this is not why you wrote this post, but Tiff, you are a hot mama! I’d venture to say that there are some out there would label you as a MILF!

    Living across the street from you, I see how active and healthy you are and I start to compare myself with YOU! I beat myself up when I see you out running and walking. I am in such a rut and haven’t done cardio or weights in months. You inspire me!

    I know there is nothing that WE can say to you to change the way that you think about yourself. But would you want Olivia to think about herself in this way? That she does not meet society’s impossible standards? The only thing you can do is be the example for her and never give up loving yourself inside and out. We do!

  19. I believe all of us struggle with body image and the strive for perfection, I am guilty as well….What it ultimately comes down to is that there are many variations of beautiful. Even if we were able to sculpt our bodies to what we believe to be perfect, I bet that what may be good one day would not suit us the next day…Insanity! right?!! lol Most days I embrace my curves and other days I wanna exercise them away…and the perception of beauty as “society” and “the media” see it is constantly changing. All the while we are stuggling to become what “other people” believe is acceptable, when really what we need to be working on is accepting ourselves!!!……We need to learn to love ourselves..we are all perfect exactly the way we are. Quite frankly as long as we are healthy we should all ease up on ourselves a lil..wouldn’t you agree? Afterall by constantly obsessing we our only driving ourselves crazy. I truly admire ur honestly on the subject Tiff. Especially addressing an issue that I think we all face, male or female. Think about this the next time you begin obsessing or are down on yourself about your appearance…what do most people love about you? what are you grateful for? Is it for your friendship, caring, kindness, and love or your brazilian butt? I can’t ever remember saying “I would love to be friends with that woman cause she has nice hair” lol Besides, that stuff all fades and all we are left with is the impression we made on others…people wont remember you for your dress size or smooth young skin but rather how we have impacted their lives. Now start to see yourself the same way…love yourself and be good to yourself..u deserve it! Have you ever tried affirmations? It takes some practice but it can work in different aspects of your life, you can apply them in any area of your life. You can find cds online of affirmations, will be great for the lils ones confidence as well. It will definitely teach you to soften that voice that tells you ” you’re not good enough” that lil voice is a liar!….xxx hope this helped!
    ps And for what it’s worth…I believe you are absolutely amazing inside. and out! xxxxx

  20. I used to feel like you do. Thought when I was younger it was the opposite. I was too skinny with no boobs. I always thought I looked like a boy. Since I was so boyish how could anyone love me. I never thought I was good enough. My self esteem was always low. Then after I grew older I had a kid then gained a ton of weight and got the opposite end suddenly I was too fat. But I was in a domestically violent relationship and my husband (now ex) almost killed me. Instead of wallowing in the weight I cherished it. IT hid me from him. When I left him I used it as an excuse to hide and not get close to other people. Finally I started dating again and realized that people liked me no matter what size I was. That I was going to have friends and be around people whether I was big or small and it didn’t really matter. What did matter though was that when I was bigger I had asthma and backaches and knee pain and things I had not had to deal with when I was smaller and I sunk into a depression for having let someone put so much fear into me I altered my appearance to escape him.

    Now I am in between. I am not fat but I am not skinny either. I am average. The average woman in America is about a size 14. That is what I am right now. I hear all these women at 14 complaining about how fat their are and I love it. In high school at 5’9 I had been 98 pounds and people said I looked anorexic and sick. I had tried to gain weight eating whole pizzas and doritos and couldn’t and HATED IT! At a size 22 and 240 pounds that was too much weight. NOW I feel just right. I am not super skinny but I have curves. THERE IS extra weight and yeah I do have a few small rolls of weight around my middle but if they go away my boobs do too and I will be that flat chested little skinny thing again and I sure don’t want that!!

    I have learned to love myself just the way I am. I exercise every day now to be healthy. I don’t overdo it. I am not obsessive about dieting or what I eat. I feel sad that it took an abusive relationship and health problems to teach me to like myself and be more secure.

    Good luck on your journey. I hope you learn to love the inside and share it with everyone no matter what the outside looks like before you have to go through so much crap the ups and downs weight wise cause – the stress it puts on your body is horrible – like I went through.

    JUST BE YOURSELF AND LOVE IT! The people who truly love you will be there with you and you will be happier for it. Trust me!

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