I may Have Mental Issues…

Posted: May 27, 2010 at 6:14 pm

…but at least they aren’t like they used to be. Today they were more of the scatter-brained variety, and not so much the negative thinking variety. I’ll get to the bigger mental issues later in the post. For now, I just have to relish the fact I was actually productive today, even if some mental freak outs on still having so much to do occurred.

I woke up feeling much better than yesterday, so I decided to hit up the gym for a Power class and a brief and easy 20 minutes on the elliptical with my book. It felt good. The sick feeling even stayed at bay until after a grocery run for this weekend. We are going to a cabin in the North Georgia Mountains with 6 of our friends. I look forward to the good times, even with a forecast like this…


…and a hot tub I won’t be able to get in. Sad, but true.No matter what, I’m looking forward to it. We leave tomorrow afternoon. Yay!

I still have quite a bit to do, namely packing and baking (Heather’s Insanity Bars!!!) and finishing laundry, but I work better under stress. At least that is what I tell myself. The hubs would disagree and just say I go mental. But he isn’t stopping me from watching Dear John tonight with him.

dear-john.jpg (800×600)

The hubs would also pretend to disagree with my movie choice, but I know he loves chick flicks deep down. Even more so when he knows they will put me in a better mood and not give me a reason to refuse baking those  Insanity Bars for him. I would have to be insane not to though. Yes, that pun was intended. Did you really expect less of me? 😉

One way I am no longer crazy? I no longer battle a completely distorted view of my body daily and just strive to be healthy. While watching The Biggest Loser Finale the other night it hit me that many of those contestants are probably going to face some mental repercussions after the show ends. I have a feeling that many of the tougher competitors went into the finale extremely depleted in hopes of winning.

erik-chopin-before-after.jpg (375×351)

My main point is, that these contestants went to such extremes (a very restricted diet and HOURS of working out every day) to drop weight quickly that when they return to a still healthy, but more modified way of doing things their bodies won’t likely be able to maintain where they were for the finale. I realized how similar that is to after a fitness competition. You go from intense and restricted to normal living and your body just won’t stay as lean as it was. Which is a good thing, since it’s not the healthiest way to live anyways.

Even though your body might appreciate following a healthier approach to food and exercise, your mind many times doesn’t. I know I faced some serious body image issues for a couple months after the show. I fought and prayed hard to gain a more realistic view of myself, consider how I was taking care of my body, and be reasonable about why I had to gain extra. I am thankful that we immediately were trying to conceive because I think having a bigger reason behind the weight gain made it easier to swallow. However, it didn’t stop me from looking in the mirror and sometimes seeing a distorted version like this…


Remembering that made me wonder if those contestants will face the same thing. Or even some of my fellow beautiful women out there? Will we naturally put back on a little weight after reaching an unrealistic point and then never view ourselves the same again through constant comparison to our previous levels of “fitness/leanness”? I admit that while I do it less, it still happens. Sometimes I will look in the mirror and think I am more out of shape than I have ever been, only to have Peter point out some pictures of when we were first dating and give me a reality check. I never thought of myself as out of shape at the time of those pictures. Now, I’m in better shape but by comparing myself to how lean I became for the show, I inevitably think I’m huge.

The terrible thing about this way of thinking, is it often can lead us to even unhealthier practices. We think we are “unworthy” because we couldn’t maintain a particular body and feel it isn’t worth the hard work, possibly leaving our healthier habits behind. Or we simply continue berating ourselves until nothing can bring us back to reality and we lose confidence, affecting our relationships with others and the passion with which we live our lives. Or we become so focused on what we see in the mirror nothing else matters and we will take unhealthy steps to reach the perfection we wish to see and pursue a futile, never-ending process of finding happiness in our looks.


How do I fight the negative images that sometime appear in the mirror like an ugly mirage? I always have reasons why I’m beautiful in my mind that I can turn to during weak moments (post with my reasons scheduled for this weekend when I’m out of town). I have prayer so I can turn to my Creator and feel His peace. I tell Peter or my sister or my mom so they can give me a realistic view on things (they will be honest if I do in fact look like I’ve been packing on some unnecessary lbs). I walk away and refuse to sit in the mirror picking myself apart. I think about my day or week and how well I cared for myself with exercise and healthy eating. Find anything that works for you to keep yourself feeling strong and confident and beautiful. Because you ARE very beautiful.

  • Have you ever experienced body dysmorphia where what you see in the mirror doesn’t match the reality of your beauty? How has it affected you? How do you fight it?
  • Do you freak out easily over a busy schedule? It’s something I am always working on. I can be a worry wart when I don’t feel 100% in control of day to day things getting done when I want them to.
  • Best movie you have seen recently? Movie you want to see soon? I guess mine would be The Blind Side out of any I’ve seen recently. I have both Dear John and It’s Complicated rented to watch soon. In theatres I can’t wait for Sex and the City 2 and Eclipse!!
  • What are your Memorial Day plans?

Disclaimer: I know I’m not huge. I feel amazing and healthy (besides days pregnancy ailments get the best of me). The distorted thinking is minimal now, but it is a relevant issue that I have recently experienced and felt called to discuss.


25 Comments to “I may Have Mental Issues…”
  1. I ended up with It’s Complicated tonight. I assume Dear John will be my movie of choice this weekend at some point. 🙂

    And I think we all experience dysmorphia at some point or another- just not all to the same extremes. I hate that I still let it get to me from time to time- even though I FEEL healthier than I’ve ever been.

  2. Kati says:

    Those bars looks scrumptious! And let me know how the movie is ;>

  3. I will fully admit that I suffer from body dysmorphia. When I look in the mirror I see a HUGE person. Really. But I see myself very clearly in photographs! So whenever I am having my so-called “fat days” I will have Keith snap a photo of me (gotta love digital photography) and then I can see myself cleary. It is hard though. I don’t ever publically talk about it on my blog but it is there and I wish it wasn’t. Thankfully I have never had an actual eating disorder but it is hard because it definitely affects my confidence level a lot. Thanks for this post Tina. You help me a lot…I want you to know that. Sometimes I feel like you posts are directly speaking to me! 🙂

  4. I think we all have a bit of a distorted body image. I went through a time where I was SUPER thin and I thought I was fat. Now looking back, I realize I looked SICKLY thin. It’s crazy how the mind can warp what you see in the mirror..

  5. I hope you have a terrific weekend! Yes, I will admit that I have experienced the dimorphic looking glass syndrome. What I perceive to be a huge belly bump is nothing more than a lot of water for the day or stronger abs even. I try to to remind myself of at least one thing I do like about “me” each day at least. It’s really sad to think that nearly all women go through this and why?

  6. Holly says:

    Wow, this post almost made me tear up a little- just because of that picture of the girl looking in the mirror. Just brings back a lot of memories..and how I currently tend to treat my body. I need to be more thankful to how strong it really is..and that the LAST thing it needs is to limit it’s calories. Poor thing is trying it’s hardest & I am not always ‘fueling’ it in the proper way. Thank you for this one…
    I’m now going to go & eat my frozen yogurt & reward it 😉
    Have a GREAT time on your vacation Tina 🙂

  7. Jessica Lee says:

    I just re-read this post like 3 times. It’s soooo well written. Thanks Tina for the reminder that we are not supposed to be at 7% BF and LEAN ALL THE TIME!!

  8. janetha says:

    ah i love these thought provoking posts you write, tina. looking forward to coming back to see the comments 🙂

  9. Lee says:

    I definitely think of myself as bigger than I am. Even when I weighed 10 lbs less, I still thought I was big.

  10. Hayley says:

    GREAT post Tina!! You always write such thought-provoking posts and once again I can definitely relate. I can definitely relate to what you said about The Biggest Loser – I notice that whenever they bring previous contestants back on the show they always look as though they’ve “normalized” a bit since the finale. I personally think Helen looks better now than when she did at the finale. Erik (I think that’s his name?) is a good example of the repercussions of losing weight so quickly and taking on so much – he put back almost all the weight he’d lost and is struggling to lose it again. As much as I love the show, sometimes I wonder…

    Yep – I definitely suffer(ed) from body dysmorphia. Perhaps not quite as badly now, but sometimes it does take looking at a photograph to realize I’m not huge (though I definitely feel it by the time the evening rolls around now! 🙂 ) I’m working very hard at finding a good balance in life – mentally, physically and spiritually – because I want to provide a healthy environment (right now especially!) for my little girl and never let her experience what i’ve had to go through.

  11. Shannon says:

    I have not watched the Biggest Loser for many of the reasons you described. I think that the contestants are set up to struggle mentally. Not only as their bodies “normalize” with realistic diet and exercise. But also because for many of them, they will get home and all of the problems that caused them to gain weight in the beginning will still be there. I hope they have the support to keep up their healthy behaviors despite the stresses of daily life.

    I can definitely relate to feeling much larger than I actually am. Thankfully, that is mostly in the past. I still have days where I feel more insecure, but they are few and far between now. That being said, it is hard to see my body changing and gaining weight with pregnancy. Even though I know this is what is supposed to happen, and I love knowing that there is a baby growing in my growing belly, I still miss the flat belly I worked so hard for. Oh well….it’ll just give me a new goal after the baby arrives 🙂

  12. homecookedem says:

    I want to see Dear John!! Have lots of fun this weekend!! 🙂

    I can relate to this. I’ve been bigger than I am now and I’ve been smaller than I am. Having been so many different sizes can really mess with a girl’s mind! It’s a struggle, but I’m really trying to love myself just as I am today.

  13. Great post, Tina! Your honesty is really inspiring.

    I am a bit worried that what you’re discussing here might happen to me now. I am in pretty darn good shape right now b/c of my half-marathon training. But now that’s over, and I’m starting a new job, so I’m going to be easing back on the running a bit. I’m sure it will affect my body, but not in a bad way. I am just hoping I can remember not to judge myself in the future against my body and fitness level of today.

  14. Jess says:

    Great post Tina. I have to say, your blog posts always hit on such great topics and this is one that I think we all struggle with – and its clear by the comments on your blog already, that SO many of us women struggle with body dismorphia, it’s so very sad. And I am definitely one of them. Like Heather said above, I DEFINITELY have those irrational “OMG look at how FAT my stomach is” moments when I get ready for bed at night only to wake up the next morning and realize it was just extra water weight or something. We are our own worst critics, clearly. The way I try to tackle it is to remind myself that I work hard to play hard and that balance is necessary. If I ate an extra cookie one day, I’m not going to gain 10 lbs the next. And my husband comes in handy in terms of reminding me that I am who I am and he thinks I’m beautiful so I should probably listen to him more, too. 🙂

  15. Tina, this is a phenomenal post. I think the same thing about the problem with “The Biggest Loser” once the contestants leave the competition. They are partaking in such an intense daily lifestyle that is definitely not typical of a normal person in the “real world”. It’s a great idea to get them to drop the pounds, but unfortunately, I don’t think many of them are able to carry over their newly learned way of life.
    On a lighter note, I’m SUPER PSYCHED to be going to see Sex and the City 2 tomorrow with my girlfriends from college 😀
    And I have 3 Memorial Day parties on Sunday, and one on Monday to go to, so it’s going to be a BUSY weekend for this gal! 😉

  16. ellie says:

    This is something I catch myself doing- comparing my body now to how it has been and forgetting that what it has been wasn’t healthy (and still isn’t- I’ve made progress but am not all the way there). It’s hard to look at yourself with fresh eyes…

    I get stressed out with busy schedules but am way more productive with multitasking and deadlines keeping me focused!

    Have a wonderful time away this weekend! No big plans here… 🙂

  17. Sarah says:

    Great topic! When I’m feeling “fat,” I try to remind myself that the feeling will pass. Most likely I am bloated from too much food, sodium, or hormones, but if I take care of myself, I will feel a whole lot better. Still, I’ve found myself struggling quite a bit more than has been normal lately, so I really appreciate these kinds of posts!

  18. Maren says:

    Yes, I had or have body dysmorphia. I say have because does it ever really go completely away? I always say to my very significant other, Max, I don’t know if I will ever be completely better from that time in my life. Healing has been hard, but I’ve managed to switch my thinking from “skinny” to “healthy and inshape”. I’m an ex-athlete from college and always grew up very toned with little body fat on my body from intense year round basketball practices. I’ts hard to look in the mirror when your not as toned and have more fat on you than you were ever used to. I also had to realize alot of things about myself. I’m tall (5 foot 10) so I’m supposed to be a size large in juniors or a medium in womans because I’m just a naturally bigger human being. I also carry a lot of muslce mass on my body naturally from working out at such a young age and my body growing during those times. I’m never going to have really skinny legs like those girls who have never done anything physical except climb a flight of stairs lol. I also had workout dysmorphia. People don’t workout and feel the exaustion I was used to when they work out. Its a 30 minute little sweat session then they go on with life. Once I started realizing all these things my dysmorphia began to get much better. But I still have days where the “out of shape” “squishy” “fat” Maren looks back at me in the mirror or is present when I’m sitting on the couch and I look down at my body. When this happens I tell myself I’m beautiful, I put on something that makes me feel good and I remember that I’m on a quest for health not for a certain size. Im in the process of getting my life back from eating diosrder/body dysmorphia and my body is changing a lot. But those days when the dysmorphia is right there looking back at you are hard, great post and good job with kicking your dysmorphia to the curb! You are beautiful!

  19. Holly says:

    Great post, Tina! I think this is something we (well, women) all struggle with at some point – or at least, I think so? The thing that makes me the most sad is when I hear women (with body dysmorphia) “slamming” their bodies in front of other women, or worse, young girls. I *always* try to correct them and say something positive about their bodies, but you know how hard it is for many people to take compliments….

    I have my ‘good’ and ‘bad’ days, so I just TRY to tell myself on those bad days that the good days will come back. That what I’m seeing is like a mirage, in my head more than in reality. And then I go find my favorite/most comfortable shirt or outfit, and try to rock it!

    I am SO excited for SATC2 and especially Eclipse!

  20. * I can’t say that it’s affected me DRASTICALLY but my perception of myself is much bigger than other people see me. I feel like that is due to me being able to feel if my “fat” or muscle jiggles and stuff.
    * I definitely freak out over busy schedules, and freak out means i cry uncontrollably for a bit and then take a deep breath and just do the dang thing. I know that I could deal with it in a healthier way, but I’m also working on managing my time a little better which is good too 🙂
    * LOVE the Blind Side, but I also really enjoyed Sherlock Holmes and Robin Hood. i want to see Letters to Juliet soon though (as I’m sure all women do :))
    * We are thinking about going camping sometime this weekend, but don’t have solid plans just yet! I’m just glad to have a day off 🙂

    hope you enjoy the bars!!!

  21. Rachel says:

    I lost 40 lbs a couple of years ago and did it the right way. Changed my eating habits and incorporaited more fruits/veggies/whole grains, and upped my activity. The loss was slow and steady. However, since it was so slow, I can’t see any difference in how my body looks. I know I fit into smaller clothes but when I look in the mirror, I don’t really think I look that different. And I feel exactly how I felt before, like I could lose a few pounds, but that I generally like the way I look. So I guess its okay, but sometimes I wish I noticed the difference and know my old self would be screaming at me for ever complaining about how I look now that I am 40 lbs lighters. Woo that was long winded!

    This weekend is going to be somewhat low-key. On Saturday, my good friend is actually moving in with my boyfriend and I for the summer. She needs a place to stay, we have the extra space, and my boyfriend could use the extra money since he is working on getting my engagement ring paid for 🙂 🙂 🙂

    On Sunday, my boyfriend and I are going to the finals for a big golf tournament in Ft. Worth, Texas. Monday will be spent probably relaxing by the pool after getting a workout in while its still cool in the morning.

  22. I think I definitely suffer from time to time not seeing myself as I truly am. I especially felt “big” in high school, but I was very very tiny. Strange how our minds can play tricks on us!

    I get stresed when I am super busy. I am a person who needs downtime. I don’t thrive being extremely busy and running around…I’m quite the opposite!

    I’m going to Florida this weekend! wohoo! 🙂

    Nice post!

  23. Hallie says:

    I have always said that I’ll always feel like a “big girl” no matter how small I get. Being overweight as a teen will get you that, I guess. I’m trying to get a more realistic view of myself, but it’s SO hard. I try to pick people in the gym and figure out if I’m the same size or bigger or smaller, and most of the time I have no idea unless they are clearly much heavier or much thinner than I am. Speaking of the gym…I’ve found that when I’m lifting weights and watching my form in the mirror, it’s the only time I don’t feel big. I feel strong and beautiful…for that hour, twice a week :-/

    And even reading these comments, I look at all these bloggers and think they are all MUCH smaller than I am…which may or may not be true in real life. Oh, the fun-house mirror that is my brain 🙂

    You’re going to have a great time on your trip! I can’t wait to read your posts this weekend. Clearly, I need help with all this stuff haha

  24. Lindsay says:

    I suffer from Severe BODY dysmorphia. I also struggle with Anorexia on a daily basis. While I am in recovery right now and I am learning to accept my body for the way GOD created to me. When I was in the worst parts of my disease, I was 82 lbs and 5’9″ tall and I thought that I was absolutely enormous and I NEEDED to lose weight. I wish that I could go back and stop what I was doing to myself. But at least I know NOW and my body is thanking me for the food I feed it daily!! 🙂

  25. Becky says:

    I’ve had some degree of body dysmorphia for the majority of my 20s. I’d say it just began to get better in maybe early 2009. I credit my husband and family, but mostly just God’s grace, for pulling me out of it. I’m so thankful I was able to tackle that before getting pregnant, because whew…pregnancy can do a number on you. The bloating, the nausea, the fatigue, the anxiety…it is a LOT to handle. I hope I can maintain that focus after lil’ man gets here.

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