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TW: Mental Health, Body Image, Disordered Eating
Something cool happened the other day.
A dress I last put on seven months ago, when I was at my worst point for disordered eating and body image issues, finally made its way out of my wardrobe again today and even out my house.
It’s no shock that my weight fluctuates with the health conditions I have (Hashimoto’s and hypothyroidism), but after years of obsessively counting calories, convincing myself that I was only good enough when I kept shrinking myself smaller, I started to come to terms with being more accepting of my body. After all, I only get one!
When I last wore this dress seven months ago, I poked at my wide hips, my waist that used to be smaller, my bigger thighs and stomach that used to be flatter, and told myself I was gross. All because society, those around us that usually mean no harm, as well as the diet industry, tells us that we should hate these parts of our body if they don’t fit a very specific and very unrealistic ‘image’.
When life moves as fast as it does nowadays, and we struggle to fit everything in to each day, there is no room for such horrible thoughts and language towards yourself. And quite honestly, there’s no point wasting time and energy worrying about things that an industry have created to make us buy in to their idea that we need to keep changing ourselves and never be happy with who we are. Happiness doesn’t begin when you reach a ‘goal weight’ and neither does life. Life begins now.
Obsessing about reaching a specific number on a scale or measuring tape, that you’ll inevitably not be able to maintain forever (because bodies change all the time), sets us up to ‘fail’ from the get go, and that’s how the diet industry has you buying in to their products and lifestyle for years. You go through the same cycle repeatedly.
Before and after photos, dress sizes lost, pounds and calories and all the other numbers. They don’t represent who you are as a person. Instead they perpetuate this idea that a smaller you = more worthy of love and acceptance. And that’s just not true.
Once I realised this, I stopped blaming myself for not being ‘perfect’ and instead accepted who I was. Life is much happier when you go through it at peace with yourself. Thyroid conditions often affect our weight and body image, but by hating ourselves, it does nothing but stop our recovery and healing.
Have you felt a shift in your body image since having a thyroid condition?
Rachel Hill is the highly ranked and multi-award winning thyroid patient advocate, writer, speaker and author behind The Invisible Hypothyroidism. Her thyroid advocacy work includes authoring books, writing articles, blogging and speaking on podcasts, as well as being a board member for The American College of Thyroidology and The WEGO Health Patient Leader Advisory Board. Rachel has worked with The National Academy of Hypothyroidism, The BBC, The Mighty, Yahoo, MSN, ThyroidChange and many more. She is well-recognised as a useful contributor to the thyroid community and has received multiple awards and recognitions for her work and dedication. She has authored two books: ‘Be Your Own Thyroid Advocate‘ and ‘You, Me and Hypothyroidism‘. Rachel is British, but advocates for thyroid patients on a global scale.