Topic Tuesday: Body Image

“When Your Body Feels More Like a Frenemy Than a Friend” (By: Katie Ledermann)

Skinny jeans, crop tops, and unachievable clothing sizes. Society makes it nearly impossible for positive body image to foster in our environment. Coming from New York I constantly compared myself to women walking on the street. It was nearly impossible not to. I tortured myself to reach this unachievable standard.

I thought I found the secret to everyone’s success and happiness, but wondered why I was still miserable. I lived like this for two years. I was shocked when I was told I suffered from an eating disorder. I thought what I was doing was considered normal.

I was introduced to body dysmorphia, which was described as seeing myself in a way that no one else saw. At the time, I saw my body as shameful and constantly needing improvement.

What I failed to recognize was all the amazing things my body does for me. I’m able to walk, move, and dance. Without my body, I wouldn’t be who I am. This wasn’t an easy concept for me to accept and took years of treatment.

I still struggle with negative body image thoughts today, but what’s different is how I approach them. Instead of over-exercising and punishing my body for trying to be the size it naturally is, I write a gratitude list for the things it helped me do that day. For example, today I was able to walk to class, hold a cup of coffee, breathe in the fresh air, and see and smell the different sights around me.

When your eating disorder voice tries to body shame, stop and think, what does your body do for you that you’re grateful for?

About the Author

After battling with anorexia for years, Katie sought help through residential treatment and the help of her therapist and nutritionist. Now her passion is helping others who are struggling. She enjoys hiking, attending support group meetings, cooking, and playing with her dog Bailey.