7/24/2011

Mirror Mirror On The Wall




This post isn’t going to be one of my usual ones. It doesn’t have to do with beauty products but it does have to do with beauty and body image and the way we look at ourselves everyday. I’m going to share my personal story, not a story I’m exactly proud of but I want to share it because I’m sure I am not the only one who has had these feelings at some point in there lives.


I named this post Mirror Mirror on the wall because of the issues I’ve had with my body image and for all the girls that have and are going through this. Thank god I’ve over come this but it took years for me to even realize that I had an issue.

Throughout my life, I’ve asked myself this question many many times (too many times). It seemed like every mirror gave me a different answer, I would be at a clothing store looking into the mirror after I tried on an outfit and thinking I looked skinny enough to wear this. Then I would come home and put on the same outfit and see something totally different than I did at the store. Sounds nuts, right? I now know, about 10 years later that it was all in my mind and that it wasn’t different mirrors that were making me see something different. It was something called Body Image Disorder, that is actually pretty common.

I’m going to back up all the way from high school (where I really started to have this problem). A lot of girls that age are usually self conscious about how they look, but there's a difference in just being self conscious and being way too critical and not seeing what everyone else see’s. I was in the beginning of my junior year of high school when I first realized I wanted to loose weight. At this point, all I knew is I wanted to go on a “diet” but I didn’t know how extreme I was going to end up taking it. I wasn’t really over weight or fat but I saw other girls that were really skinny and wanted to look like that and I was determined to do it.  Before this, I had a normal attitude when it came to my body image. That all changed when I started this diet.

There were these diet pills called Xenedrin (which were taken off the market about 5 years ago due to a few cases where people had heart attacks from this pill). I think they still sell it without the ephedrine in it. Ephedrine was the ingredient that made it so dangerous and caused your heart to race which caused your metabolism to increase.

I cant exactly remember how, but me and 2 of my other good friends all started taking them. The directions were to take 2 a day and that’s what I started doing but then I would take 4 a day and before I knew it the weight was just melting off me so quickly and I didn’t even exercise.  I obviously loved it and so did my friends, but I was the only one out of my friends who took it too far.  By the end of junior year I lost a good amount of weight. At the time this diet pill was a miracle pill to me, I would make sure I bought a bottle a week before I was about to run out just in case I wasn’t able to get to that store to buy them. It was pretty much like a drug, I couldn’t bare to go one day without these pills. Of course it was mostly all in my mind and I see that now and that’s where my battle with my eating disorder and body image issues really began.

Senior year up until the age of 23 was when I was totally obsessed with dieting, these pills, mirrors, and the scale. My weight would fluctuate throughout these years, but never to a point where I thought I looked fat (so imagine that) and  even though I didn’t believe it nor could see it, people around me were worried. The sickest part about it was when people would tell me I looked way too skinny or that I didn’t look right bc of all the weight I lost ,I took it as a compliment. As long as the comments had to do with the words, skinny, weight loss, bony, etc. it meant (in my sick head) that I looked good.

The two major problems that would make me insane about this was mirrors and my scale. I will never forget when my mom threw out our scale that was in the bathroom bc she noticed I was weighing myself several times a day. She didn’t know that sometimes I was actually weighing myself after I would drink a glass of water! She also didn’t know about the Xenedrin.  I of course went out and bought a scale that I kept hidden in my room, at that time I couldn’t bare to not weigh myself at least a few times a day.

I noticed that my dieting was not normal and my obsession with my body and these topics were way more extreme then my friends were. I would be out with my friends at a diner or wherever and would pick at the small salad I ordered. My friends weren’t stupid though, so I was constantly coming up with lame excuses why I wasn’t hungry…again. They didn’t buy it though. A normal weekly meal plan for me was: for example: on Mondays I would let myself have a small salad (that I made myself) which included maybe 10 pieces of lettuce, 2 cucumbers and tomatoes, a few pieces of onions and if I felt like I should treat myself I would put about 2 or 3 croutons in the salad. I don’t remember using salad dressing and if I did I'm sure it was a fat free, sugar free dressing. I would eat that and I still recall being full (crazy, I know), then I would weigh myself like I did after everything I ate. Then the next day (Tuesday) that was the day I hardly ate anything except 2 glasses of juice (one early in the day and one later or at night). Then the cycle would continue to Wednesday with the salad and so on. The only reason my body let me live off hardly any food was bc of the pills and the fact that my stomach had shrunk so much that I was hardly ever hungry. In the back of my head I knew this wasn’t healthy but it made me happy and the results I was seeing made me even more happy.

I met my first real boyfriend at the end of senior year and even though I remained skinny, I let myself eat more normally and wasn’t so obsessed with what I wasn’t or was eating. I know it was bc I had a boyfriend and didn’t feel like I had to impress anyone at the time. But once we broke up a year later, the first thing I knew I had to do was go on a serious diet bc in my mind it helped me feel better about myself. So I started taking the pills regularly again and stopped eating everyday and the little weight I did gain that past year I made sure I lost it and even some more.  I started going to the gym almost everyday and would work out until I almost passed out and there I was back to seriously dieting and hurting my body again.

It’s like my obsession with not eating and taking those pills was like a yo yo effect and I didn’t realize the damage I could have seriously been doing to my body. Losing weight then gaining weight over and over is horrible for you. The clothes in my closet constantly changed as I moved from size to size. I wasn’t really aware at the time that was dangerous. 

Slowly I learned to treat myself with the same love and respect that others showed me. In the beginning, I cared for myself by simply not gazing into mirrors as much as possible. Yes, in our image-based society, I was actually successful in avoiding mirrors and even my reflections in store windows most of the time. I began focusing on the parts of myself I had always wanted to develop on the inside, rather than on what had started to die on the outside. When I felt more confident with my inner strengths, I gradually began allowing myself more glances into the looking glass. This time I did my best not to ask questions such as who is the thinnest or the prettiest. I did my best not to compare myself to others, to previous versions of myself, or even to possible pictures of what I could look like in the future

So here I am today, 2011 and I thank god that things weren’t worse. I never went to a therapist for my “eating disorder” , I wish I did but at that time I didn’t want to listen to anyone who didn’t agree with the way I felt. I would be lying if I said I was totally over BIS (body image disorder), bc I’m not. There are still a lot of times when I look in the mirror and say to myself, ughh (you look fat or gross). But the difference from then to now is that I eat pretty normal, don’t obsess about what I’m eating, and most importantly I feel comfortable with the way I look. That was not something I was able to say for a long time.

I wanted to post this story because I know there a lot of girls going through the same thing I did, and its not a fun thing to go through. It’s also something you should never be embarrassed or ashamed of. With today’s “body image type” portrayed in advertising as the ideal way to look, there’s no wonder that the number of girls and woman effected by this disorder increase everyday.

Here are some Media and Body Image Statistics:
  • 8 million people in the U.S suffer from an eating disorder


  • 90% are woman and girls


  • 8 out of 10 woman are not happy with their reflection


  • 80% of children are afraid of being fat


  • more than 50% of 10 year old girls wish they were thinner


  • Americans spend more than 40 billion a year on diet and beauty products


  • The average American woman is 5’4 and 140lbs.


  • The average American model is 5’11 and 117lbs.


  • In your lifetime 50,000  people will die as a direct result of their Eating Disorder


  • The current media ideal of thinness is achieved by less than 5% of the female population.

10 comments:

  1. Carole VonAllten9:26 PM

    Thank you so much for sharing your inner secret. Wow! I can really relate to your story about image. I was put on prednisone and gained 50 pounds, and my face blew up like a balloon. I hated myself. I felt ugly, obese and horrible. Being bipolar didn't help any either. The I was taken off the drug, lost the weight, but ended up with extra sagging face. That's where I am today. I hate my hair (I had a bad haircut) so I am letting it grow and wear wigs to get through the growing to all one length. I just started going to the gym again. I have fibromyalgia, and a lot of pain, but I have discovered that the working out helps. Plus I am on disability for post traumatic stress disorder. (I was in a terrible train crash) I am just now carving out a life for myself. I am eating right and losing weight. I have been working on the face and just started using a face tightener from Hydroxatone. The only time I like myself is when I am wearing a maxi dress (hate the legs), makeup, and a pretty wig that helps distract from the sagging face. I started an on-line cosmetology school for something to do just for me in an area I love. (I have a BA in Anthropology).

    I also was elected to the board of directors of the homeowners association where we live. I started driving again, and planning meals and doing the grocery shopping. All of these things are helping me with my self image. I am taking a new medication for the bipolar illness, and it has made all the difference in the world. This is how I am finally starting to live a life and meet people.

    Your story is very inspiring and touched my heart. Best of luck to you in your life, too.
    I forgot to ask - are you married? Children? I have been married to the same man for 34 years,(no children) who is just wonderful, but can't understand why I feel the way I do about myself. I try to explain to him that as little girls, we are raised to be the prettiest, smartest, most popular. It's hard to overcome. But, being aware of the problem is half the battle.
    Your friend,
    Carole VonAllten

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  2. Kelly this is an amazing story. I knew there was a reason why I "connected" with you. One of my passions is encouraging, supporting and empowering women and when I first saw your blog and your pic I wanted to stay in contact with you b/c you appeared to be just a nice person with a tender spirit. Your transparency in your story is relevant and appreciated. I have never experienced an eating disorder but I know ppl who have. Coming from the modeling industry I have seen my share of men and women who do not have a healthy self image. I guess I avoided it by not taking myself too seriously. One thing I will add is that I saw a story a few years back that talked about those mirrors in the fitting rooms. Apparently the mirrors are especially made for the retailer to make the person look smaller so they would purchase the clothing. It was a major undercover story. So you were definitely not alone when you tried the clothes on at home and saw something different. I pray your story will reach many and impact even more. Kudos to you for "telling it like it is." Blessings to you, my friend.

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  3. Thanks Carole!!!
    This means a lot!!! I was hesitant at first about posting this but then I realized its something so many woman are going through and have went through, so why not. Thank you so much for sharing your story with me. It sounds like you've been through a lot but also have overcome a lot too and that's great!!! I can totally relate to what your saying too. It is hard, even though I'm a lot better than I was, its still hard day to day .
    I'm not married and dont have any children. I honestly dont feel like im ready for any of that right now. I was with someone for 7 years that I thought I was going to marry but when I screwed that up, I knew being married with children wasn't going to happen as soon as I wanted. I know i'll find the right person sooner or later and as for kids, I dont want to have them "just to have them" ya know? I have to feel like I'm ready for a big commitment like that.
    I really do commend you for everything you've been through and its hard for guys to understand the whole "body issue" thing we go through. Its not just your husband, believe me. I've tried explaining the same things to guys ive dated and they dont understand so I've learned that you cant really blame them. There guys after all..LOL... Being happily married for 34 years is something to be proud of, bc we both know that doesn't happen that much anymore.
    Thank you for reading and commenting!!! It means a lot.
    Love,
    Kelly xo

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  4. Aww!!! Thanks Kim!!!! lol...I knew there was a reason why I connected with you too, just seemed like we had a lot in common and im sure if we lived close we'd be good friends!! At least I found a really good "blog" friend. (if thats what you'd call it). I never heard that about the mirrors at clothing stores!!! But, wow that makes so much sense now. I cant believe that they do that, crazy!!!
    Im so glad you read my story and I do hope it somehow helps other woman going through the same thing. Like i said in my post, thank god I'm over it pretty much, but its always something that I'll live with one way or another. Thanks for being so supportive!!!!
    XoXoXo

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  5. Awww, Kelly this def touches my heart as well. I have always kinda struggled with my weight. I've never been overweight, I just wanted to be a little skinner. But, now I do realize that my body is a healthy one and it keeps me doing what I need it to. Like sports, acting, singing(takes a WHOLE LOT of tummy stregnth:) , and everything in between.

    You have a great story, and thank you so much for posting this. Honestly, words can't even tell you how many people you have probably touched. You were extremely brave for posting this, and as a long time blogger(well, since March:) I totally see your wordpress getting pretty famous:)

    I know how much bravery this may have taken for you, but you should be so produd of yourself for posting this. It seems like you have such a big heart, and I can't tell you enough how proud of yourself you should be.


    Keep on blogging:) It's really weird because even though we met on totalbeauty, it just seems like you have a been a lifelong best friend to me in the "real world". You're really relatable and you seem so sweet:)

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  6. Awww!! Aly!!! You're gonna make me cry..lol...this was so sweet of you!! Thank you so much, i really do appreciate all your kind words. I know exactly what you mean when you say you've struggled with your weight, im just glad that you know your beautiful and have a healthy body bc thats all that counts!
    I've been writing this post for a while and finally decided to publish it. It's honestly nothing i'm ashamed of (anymore anyway). We all go through diffucult times but get through them and thats what makes us stronger. You're so right, ive always felt since we met on total beauty that we had a common interest in not just makeup but a lot of other things too. I'm sure we would be great friends if we lived near each other. I still consider you a friend though (even if its just through our blogs and total beauty). I know you'll always be there for advice (like when I needed help starting my blog, I came right to you and you were ready to help). Thats a real friend and I'm glad we met. Again, thank you so much for your comments, than mean more than you know! I'm sure ill talk to you soon:)

    Kelly xoxo

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  7. Aww. I consider you a friend too! Even though you are in Conneticut and Im in Ohio- I know that we are still friends.Im happy to help you with anything and I know you would help me with anything as well! We have a lot of common interests, and I am sooo glad we met!
    -Aly

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  8. http://seventhingsbeauty.blogspot.com/2011/07/blog-post.html

    Kelly, go to the link above on my blog:)

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  9. I did :))))) Thank you soo much!!! Read my comment

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  10. This is one of my favorite posts from you. I am so glad to see it again...smooches!

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Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by my blog. I really do appreciate it and read every single comment. I do my best to respond to every single one as soon as I can.

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