The Beauty Breakdown, ever since I started it a year and a half ago, has always been about honesty and transperancy. Exploring topics that are uncomfortable and taboo and difficult, in an authentic and real way. I have always endeavoured to be as honest as possible with you my beautiful readers. And the feedback I get from you guys keeps me going on the days I feel like chucking in the towel and giving up.
In the spirit of being honest and open, I feel like I need to talk about something that has happened to me recently, how it effected me, how I’ve unpacked it and how I’m moving forward.
So. I hadn’t weighed myself in a long time because there’s really no need. I haven’t needed to know my weight and I didn’t really care. Since I’ve gotten a new personal trainer we decided it was probably a good idea to have a check again. He asked if I was okay with that. I said yes. So I stepped onto the scales and my reaction really surprised me.
I hadn’t expected the number to have changed very much. It had. What was most terrifying was that those old feelings came back. When I saw that number, saliva started flooding my mouth, my heart started beating angrily in my chest. I felt a wash of cold panic running through me. My hands started to quiver. All the physical reactions I had years ago, stepping on the scales compulsively every day.
I was shocked that such a change could have happened. I hadn’t been doing much that was that different, had I? I train five days a week. I eat intuitively and in a balanced way. I live a healthy lifestyle.
I stepped off the scale and reset it. Surely an error? I stepped on again and it read the same. I realised in that moment that I had two choices.
- Allow this one number to cause me to spiral into a dark place of self-loathing which would compromise all the hard work I’ve put in over the past couple of years.
- Acknowledge my emotions and allow myself to feel them but recognise that those old feelings are remnants of an eating and body dysmorphia disorder that dominated my life for six years. Once those initial feelings of shock and panic subside, focus on the positives. Focus on what you’ve achieved. What your body can do.
I chose the second option.
I sat on my bed and I allowed myself to feel and ackowledge that panic. Okay, I’m feeling upset. I’m feeling my heart race and my body is starting to panic. I’m starting to feel some self-loathing. My brain is starting to tell me things that aren’t true. It’s telling me I’m fat and no-one loves me let alone likes me. My disorder is trying to dig its claws in when I’m in my most vulnerable state.
So I started talking back to it.
Alright Sophia. You’re panicking because you’ve had a bit of a shock. You didn’t expect to see that change but it’s happened now and you’ve seen it. What exactly are you worried about? You’re worried about the number of the scale, right? Let’s unpack that.
That number on the scale doesn’t mean anything. You might think it does right now, but it doesn’t. You know that. Deep in your heart, under that thin layer of panic, you know that. Dig deep, Soph. You know that that number can’t tell you anything important about who you are, how strong you are or how capable you are. Your disorder is trying to convince you that you’re something you’re not now Soph. It’s trying to dig its claws back in. You can’t let it. You can’t let this take you.
And slowly but surely, as I continued trying to fight back, the panic seeped away.
This morning proved to me that I’m still not entirely okay. That I still haven’t mastered the art of seeing weight gain and feeling nothing. I still haven’t totally eradicated that nasty disease that fills me with insecurity and doubt.
Yes, generally I have a good relationship with my body. I have a good relationship with food and exercise. Yes, I have come a long way. Two years ago, seeing that number would have sent me into an uncontrollable panic attack. I wouldn’t have had the strength or resolve to pick myself up out of that place. Now I can and that’s not by accident. It takes resolve and hard work and support. But I’m not totally fixed yet. I will have bad days sometimes. And that’s okay. I’m still learning and growing and trying to be the best Sophia I can be.