Oh my goodness guys, this is a hard post to write! I’ve never shied away from talking about mental health issues as I think its important to normalize talking about it. BUT, when it comes to talking about how I feel about my body and how I look- YIKES. That’s hard. It’s hard to admit I struggle with it (even though most people do to a degree). And what I’m about to type is even harder to admit. I’ve always thought I was fat. Yep, there, I said it! I really have thought that for a long time and with my wedding coming up, it’s only been amplified.
My Ahaa! Moment
Every bride feels like she has to be perfect on her wedding day. Hair, makeup, body. Everything. For me, putting on that wedding dress was going to be the battle of my lifetime. Will it zip? Will I look fat? Will my back fat hang over my dress?!
I went for my first fitting with a seamstress and I put on my wedding dress for her to nip and tuck where appropriate. She told me that I needed some extra support “up there” if the dress was going to look right. I put the corset on that she gave me and looked in the mirror completely horrified. WHERE DID MY WAIST GO!? I asked her if she could take the dress in around the waist and she said not much more. I said ok. I left my appointment, got in the car, and burst into tears. I hated how I looked in my wedding dress. After sending pictures of me in the dress to all my bridesmaids and my mom, the verdict was clear- the dress looked good on me and my perceived “fatness” was all in my head.
I started immediately looking for someone that dealt with body image issues.
Committing to Changing My Mindset
It took me a month or so to find the right therapist to help me work through my body image issues (and about a dozen more panicked texts to my bridesmaids.) But I’ve been seeing her for a few weeks now and I already feel my mindset shifting.
The first thing my therapist told me was that she couldn’t fix my body image issues if I wasn’t committed to changing how I thought. It seems simple enough- change how you think and talk about yourself and you’ll begin to feel better. Its the most basic advice and almost anyone will tell you that, but its hard to really commit. In my case, I apparently have to pay someone to tell me to change something that I already know I should change before I’ll actually try to change it. Typical.
But I’ve committed. And yes, I have my negative moments where I criticize myself. However, I feel so much better. I don’t beat myself up for how I look in a certain dress after I’ve eaten a big meal. When I look in the mirror, I make a conscious effort to find one thing that I love about myself. It might be something small like how my engagement ring looks on my finger or how a necklace looks around my neck, but it’s still something positive!
Changing What I Put in My Body
I’ve always believed that the mind and the body are very much connected. Luckily, my therapist agrees. I was explaining to her that I always have stomach problems and never feel good, which contributes to how I feel I look on the outside (i.e. bloated.) She asked if I had any allergies and I explained that dairy wasn’t my best friend but I take pills to help with that. She told me I need to totally cut out the dairy for a trial period to see how I feel. Ugh. I love cheese. This was so hard to hear! But I agreed. Once again, apparently I have to pay someone to make me do the things I already know I should do.
Since I also have anxiety she asked how much coffee I drink in a day. Too much is the answer. She told me to cut that out as well since caffeine can often make anxiety worse. Ugh. I love coffee. But if what I put in my body is causing harm not only to my stomach but also my mind, then I have to make an effort to change that! So I am. I’m only a few days in but it’s helping!
I honestly am not sure what’s next in fixing my body image journey. I think there will be ups and downs. But so far the ups have felt amazing and the downs are only momentary. I’m FINALLY looking forward to putting on that wedding dress. Am I still nervous? Of course! But not so much over how my body will look. I’m nervous that my hair might not stay in place or that my makeup will smudge or that I’ll get stains on my dress. I am not nervous that I will look fat because I know my body will serve me well that day. Plus, my wedding dress is pretty darn big (hint!) so I think I’ll look pretty small in comparison!