I've been feeling really lost and extremely unhappy lately and I'm really just looking for some support. I'll give some you background info on my situation. I'm a 21 year old female who has lost about 75 pounds in the last 8 months. I've been trying to lose weight for as long as I can remember as I've been overweight for most of my life. I've always had self esteem issues, but I feel as though my self confidence and happiness with myself have plummeted as I have lost weight...the more I lose the more unhappy and dissatisfied with myself I become.
I've never felt like I've really fit in or been good enough for anyone. I've had to deal with some screwed up family dynamics throughout my life that has really taken a toll on me. I've also had to deal with some bullying and went through friends really quickly, which has made it hard for me to trust people and have close relationships. I'm also really tall for a woman (5'11) and have always been ridiculed for that...so I feel like that's been a big part of my lack of self esteem. The fact that I feel so uncomfortable around people all the time hasn't helped my body image issues as I have lost weight. I feel so hideous all of the time...I am extremely unhappy with my body. I have a TON of stretch marks all over my body (breasts, shoulders, arms, stomach, back, thighs, knees, hips) from weight gain/loss over the years. They are probably the biggest cause of my lack of self esteem and my overall unhappiness. They make me feel so hopeless all of the time. I'm so restricted by them and it's so frustrating. I thought that if I lost the weight they would suddenly just go away, so when that didn't happen I didn't really know how to deal with it. I also have some loose skin on my stomach and arms that is really bringing me down. I feel like I'll never be able to live a full life because my body is so disgusting. It really just sucks that I have worked so hard to lose all of this weight and I can't go out there and feel comfortable wearing a bathing suit, much less t-shirts and shorts.
I just ruined a relationship with a really great guy because of my lack of self esteem. It scares me to think that I'll never be able to have a serious intimate relationship because I make it impossible for it to happen. I pushed him away because I was so ashamed and embarrassed of my body. I feel like nobody should have to have a girlfriend that is so hideous. I'm really depressed about the whole thing and am having a really hard time letting him go. I can't stop thinking about how I regret acting the way I did with him and I can't help thinking if I had more self esteem that we would still be together. It makes me really sad.
My exercise routine and eating habits were quite strict over the first few months of my weight loss. I started off doing moderate intensity cardio for about 2 hours and about 20 minutes of stretching everyday. I also did about an hour of either pilates, yoga or weights/strength training everyday. I was eating 3 meals a day, no more, but it was very healthy balanced meals and amounted to at most 1200 calories a day. For the last few months the intensity of my exercise increased. I began doing much more high intensity workouts and began obsessing more about exercise. I would blow off friends and other things because I had to exercise...it became an addiction. I also began obsessing more and more about food and calories. When my relationship ended I turned to food for comfort and began binging. To offset the amount of calories I was eating I began to exercise in more extreme amounts. Eventually I became injured and was unable to walk or run for a couple of weeks. That's when I began throwing up my food...it was the only way for me to offset the calories I was eating in the day because I was unable to exercise. Now I am doing both extreme exercise and purging. I started out binging and purging a couple times a week, but now I am doing it a couple times a day, everyday. My binges have also become much more out of control. It's like I can't stop. I don't know how to stop. Eating all of that food makes me feel happy for just a split second, it takes the pain away from everything that has happened to me in my life and in the last year. But I can't stop purging, because the thought of gaining any weight scares me more than any of the damage I could possibly be doing to my body. I'm so unhappy right now that it's like I don't really care what happens to me as long as I stay thin.
I am seeing a counsellor right now about my issues, but I feel like I just needed to get all of this out there as I haven't really told anyone all of these details. I would love to hear from anyone, I'm just tired of feeling so alone with all of this. Thanks so much for taking the time to read this huge rant.
I don't know what to say, except good luck. my daughter has lost over 100 lbs and has had issues with stretch marks and loose skin , she said for a while she had lost who she was .
Just remember what your doing now it not making you happy , change it a bit a a time , every journey starts with small steps. Good luck.
Having lost a lot of weight myself I know how the loose skin and stretch makrs can make you feel about your body.
All I could think when I read your post was that - if even after you have changed so much physically you still do not like yourself, and dont have confidence around people, then the problem was never the way you looked but your atittude and approach to others. I can't judge as I'm very similar. I often find people intimidating and think they're judging me when they look at me, I'm always comparing myself to others. But as long as I remind myself that it's just my head making me think that I get by ok :)
You have done so amazingly well losing all that weight, you have honoured your body by getting healthy. Don't jeaprodise that now by trying to lose more weight (i know it might not feel like you're actively trying not to lose, but rather terrified of gaining - I've been there). But exessive exercising and purging are both massive warning signs of disordered eating. Please confide in your consiller about this.
I was also terrified about my body, the stretch marks and the fat rolls with my partner when i first met him. But he genuinely was interested in me and a person and made me feel beautful no matter what. ypou just have to give a special person the chance to show you this.
I went through the same thing again with the same partner after having lost the weight, I was ashamed of the skin and stretch marks and tbh i didnt feel like I was in my own body. This affected our bedroom lives and still does because I havent built up that confidence, but you have to let people in to work past this. It IS possible, it just takes a little trust and faith and this isnt easy if you've been burnt before.
I tell you this because I noticed a lot of similarities between us in your psot, you are where I was and possibly where i could still be now if I didnt have amazing support and hadn't worked through it.
You are worth more as a person than what you are doing tyo yourself. You deserve better than the way you talk about yourself. Believe in yourself.
If you need to talk please feel free to message me at any time.
and i repeat morgana with her ((((HUGS!!!))) :)
Oh, hon. You sound so sad. And I'm sad for you. :(
First of all, hugs.
That said...your stretch marks and loose skin are not the source of your self esteem issues. They're the physical manifestations that you focus on, but low self esteem is much more than skin deep. That's kind of what an eating disorder is, really--it's a way for us to focus all of that self hate onto our bodies. A way for us to show it to the world, maybe. For others to see just how unhappy we are...maybe our family will be able to see inside of us, how much we hurt, just by looking at our bodies and how much we are hurting them.
Just by reading your post I can tell that you are extremely hard on yourself, probably to the point where you harbor the blame for things that aren't even remotely your responsibility. You say that you ruined a relationship with a guy--how? Did he treat you like a goddess and finally give up because you were so terrible to him? probably not...I don't know all the details, obviously, but a relationship is a two-way street. If you did "push him away," as you say, you must've had to push pretty hard. Did you? or is it just easier to blame yourself than to accept the fact that other people sometimes suck?
I think it is good that you are reaching out for help. You sound terribly isolated, which is both the cause and effect, in part, of your low self worth. I'm glad to hear you're in counseling, especially with the bulimia. I don't know if this will help to hear, but at 21, I felt much as you did. At 39, my mindset is much different. I think some of the things you are feeling can be helped immensely by therapy, but at some point you have to ask yourself, do you really deserve all the punishment you're giving yourself? I mean, what did you do that is SO terrible that you should be blamed for everything, be treated so poorly, be deserving of the pain you're enduring? Answer - NOTHING. There's nothing I can do to convince you of this, though. At some point you just really have to accept that you're deserving of love and respect--and then you have to actually give it to yourself.
You say you are in counseling...are you seeing a psychiatrist? I don't know how you feel about this--everyone has their own opinion--but you might benefit from an antidepressant. I couldn't say that depression is the cause of your bulimia, but it's certainly an underlying factor, if not the biggest one. If you'd like some information about this, feel free to PM me--I have a long history of EDs and depression/anxiety disorder. I'm more than happy to give you some recommendations, if you want them, and at the very least an ear to bend. :)
Please be gentle to yourself.
I feel as though I am exactly as you are. I use to weigh 240 now I am 133 pounds and have tons of loose skin and stretch marks.
I do Pilates 3 times a week and an hour of cardio 3 times a week on alternating days and it has helped a lot! I also use a lotion and body wash with coconut oil and it helps as well!
For the past 3 months I have been mini-binging (1,000 calories) late at night then waking up in the morning and going for a 5 mile jog or doing Zumba. Sure I will not "gain" weight but what else am I "gaining"? I am fueling my low self-esteem and that is not right. I am in the same place you are and I'm not sure what the solution is. I think I feel so RESTRICTED that I just cave and eat everything in sight that I would not normally eat: two slices of bread, 20 crackers, 3 tsbp of peanut butter, whole bag of chips, etc.. is it that I can't eat these things EVER?? of course not, I just have to do so in MODERATION. Easier said than done.
I like my new body and I enjoy the compliments I receive but the FEAR of gaining weight and being heavy again is constantly looming over my shoulder and I'm not sure how to make the feeling go away.
In the past 3 weeks I've lost 7 pounds and my period is late although I haven't been sexually active, I'm afraid I may not be eating enough! I eat about 1500-2000 calories a day but I burn about 1800 a week, and although it "seems" like 1500-2000 is enough, sometimes it's not and now I realize that.
I hope that you can find it your heart to realize that you have made a LIFESTYLE change, you would have to totally change your eating habits to gain weight and stop exercising and I doubt you will let yourself go back in your old habits!
If you LOVE your body you won't binge and starve yourself, you'll eat healthy (most of the time) and exercise (regularly) and all will be well. I am now starting to realize this and I hope you will too, best of luck, I know how it is, I've been there, heck I'm there now!
Thank you so much for the support everyone. I really appreciate the time all of you took to read and reply to this.
Morganadk2: Thanks so much for your words of support. I feel much like your daughter...I don't really know who I am anymore. That might be one of the scariest things of this whole experience.
Myoelastic: You're right. I am finally starting to realize that the problem was never my weight, of course it didn't help, but it is not the real cause of my issues. I'm just starting to realize that the issues of my insecurities and confidence and self esteem are much deeper than my appearance. First step to fixing things is figuring out the real problem :)
Thanks for sharing your experience with your stretch marks etc. and intimacy. It helps knowing that I'm not the only one who has had troubles with it. Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one in the world with such a hideous body...and that men are going to absolutely be repulsed if they see my naked body. I think I forget that nobody is perfect and that not every man will be put off by stretch marks and loose skin. Hopefully someday I'll be able to be confident enough to truly believe that.
"You are worth more as a person than what you are doing to yourself. You deserve better than the way you talk about yourself. Believe in yourself." Thank you for this.
Venus_envy: I think you're right. In part, I believe my ED has developed because it was a way for me to find some control in my life. It was like if I couldn't control anything else, I was going to be able to control my weight and how fast I lost it and I was going to be able to control what I ate and whether or not it stays in my body. I also do agree that it was a way for me to ask for help...in some way I'm hoping that someone will notice and start to realize that I am really unhappy and in so much pain. So far that hasn't really happened. I'm still waiting for someone who is supposed to really care about me to step up and just ask me if I'm ok.
I do think I'm hard on myself. But I did push pretty hard. I think it really is just easier to blame myself than to think that it may not have been all my fault. I think I've grown up being told and believing that I'm a failure...so I figure that this relationship is just one more thing I have failed at.
I'm not seeing a psychiatrist. Just a counsellor who specializes in eating disorders. I have wondered about antidepressants myself, because I'm starting to feel like the depression is taking over my life. But I haven't really approached the subject because I'm too terrified that one of the side effects may be weight gain.
Imia345: Thanks for the tips. I also have that looming fear of weight gain. It's like a constant weight on my shoulders that I just can't get rid of. It's starting to get really heavy and I'm starting to become really tired.
I've also been having some issues with my period. It is very irregular and only lasts for about one day and is extremely light. I didn't really see it as a problem..but I guess it is a sign that I'm starting to really screw with my body.
Thanks again for the support everyone!
I covered some of this in my PM to you, but not all antidepressants cause weight gain, so you needn't let that deter you from pursuing that possibility. Again, I don't want to push medication, but I know that without it I probably wouldn't have survived the last decade of my life.
You've probably heard the expression "life is too short to be unhappy." But I have a different view: In my mind, life is too LONG to be unhappy. I mean, at age 21, you've got fifty more years to live. That's a long, long time to be miserable, isn't it? And when you're depressed time seems to drag, doesn't it? You don't deserve to be so unhappy. If medication can help you feel better, my theory is, there is no shame in treating your illness, which is what depression is.
I also want to say that at age 21, I felt much like you do--not knowing who I was. I think in your 20s you're just starting to figure out who you are, understanding what things are important to you, what your value system is, just basically learning about yourself. You experience so many changes in your personality. It's a very difficult age, I think. It was for me. But I'm here to tell you that it does get better. Just don't be afraid to do things to figure it out; read books, do research, talk to people, and learn who you are, and who you want to be. Eventually you will come into your own. But it is a process, and sometimes a difficult one. And if you've got an underlying depression it can be very painful.
As far as your comment that you're "waiting for someone who is supposed to really care about me to step up and just ask me if I'm ok"...you can do that, but I can guarantee that it won't matter. Because let's face it--if someone asked you if you were okay, would you open up to them? I think you'd probably plaster that fake smile on your face and say, "I'm fine!" Because that's what we do, isn't it? We put on that mask for the world, and then when we're alone we peel it off and wonder why nobody notices how much pain we're in.
The fact is, you're NOT okay. You can't rely on other people to take care of you. Nobody can read your mind. I say this from personal experience. I spent a lot of years wishing someone would notice how much I was hurting and finally do something. I did this for ten years before I figured it out: I needed to take my ow well being into my own hands, because I'm the only one who can possibly be invested enough in myself to do it. The fact is, most people are very wrapped up in their own pain to really go out of their way for someone else. Everyone has their own learning to do, their own world to discover, their own pain to deal with. You can't rely on someone to make you better. Only you can help yourself. You just have to convince yourself that you're worth it. :)
I came out the other side, and you can too.
Hi, just to let you know I am also a 5'11 female (age 20) and I know how being taller than most of the female and a lot of the male population can make you feel. I understand the feelings of self-hatred and how much that can affect your confidence. I've also had problems with ED's.
What I have found that helps is self exploration; finding things, activities, situations, foods, anything really that sits well with the way I view the world. I'm socially anxious so I choose jobs that don't involve too much human interaction. I also am doing a distance learning university degree. I enjoy art and reading so i try and make time in my day for either or both of those things.
I have also always been self-concious about my body with regards to intimate situations. The way I ended up approaching the problem was first making sure the person I wanted to 'be' with truly liked me for me, liked me as a person etc and then I decided to leave the decision up to them...You know if he likes/doesn't mind my body then that's his decision, trying not to push him away because I don't like my body and think that he automatically won't like my body. I don't know, that probably doesn't make much sense.
Anyway, best of luck for the future.
Venus_envy: I've always been really skeptical of medications, but I'm starting to think that it might be something I should consult my doctor about. I honestly never thought of it that way, but you're right. My life will be much too long if I continue to stay this unhappy. It scares me to think that this right now is my life and I feel like I'm just wasting it.
I definitely feel like my age has a lot to do with it. It's such a scary time because I feel like I don't really have a place right now. I'm finished with the high school phase, taking a break from university, and haven't figured out a career. I can't tell you how good it is to hear that I'm not alone in feeling lost at this age and that it can and will get better. I'm really going to try to take your advice and get myself out there so I can start to figure out who I am...hopefully as I start to do that I'll begin coming out of this rut I feel like I'm in right now.
You're right. I would just plaster on a fake smile and say that I'm fine. Come to think of it...that's what I've done my whole life. To most other people I probably look like one of the happiest people because I'm always so friendly and sociable while I'm at work. Even on the days where I am barely holding it together and trying so hard to keep myself from breaking down I try to make myself seem so happy so I don't have to bother explaining otherwise to people. It's much easier to just plaster on that fake smile than it would be to even begin discussing the details of my unhappiness. It definitely isn't until I'm at home and alone that my true unhappiness starts to come out. I am also starting to realize that other people have much too much of their own pain and problems to deal with to notice others. I do need to take this into my own hands and start to realize that this is something I need to do for myself. I need to start believing that I am worth figuring out how to come out of this rut and rid myself of all this pain and unhappiness.
Thank you so much for all of your encouragement. I really can't tell you enough how much it means to me.
awol_feet: Thanks so much for your reply! It's good to hear from another female who knows what it's like to be so tall. I knew that it always bothered me, but I never really realized quite how much it has affected my self esteem. I hate feeling like such a giant all of the time. I suppose that's one of the things that I need to learn to love about myself...everyone always says how confidence is sexy..so maybe that's a bit of my problem.
I definitely need to do a bit of self exploration myself. I feel like a big part of my problem is that I'm lacking in doing things that I love. I feel like I've lost a big part of myself somewhere along the way and have forgotten how to have fun. I need to start doing things that I love again and start finding new things to do that I love and that make me happy.
That does make sense. I think this is going to be one of those things that is going to take some time with me. I definitely think that I need to start feeling more comfortable with myself before I even try to let someone else in...because let's face it...if I hate myself so much and exude so little self confidence...how the hell is anyone else supposed to find that attractive. The thing I'm really starting to realize is that I was so focused on trying to look good that I completely forgot to show him my true personality. Instead of trying to win over his heart with the rest of me...I focused on looking good and obsessing over trying to fix all of the things that I think are physically "wrong" with me. I didn't give him the chance to make a decision for himself if he liked me or not.
Best of luck to you too and thanks again for all of your support!!
I once read something that struck me as profound...
No matter how long you stand in front of the mirror naked picking yourself apart, you will never see what is reflected on the inside.
I've lost about 80 pounds over the last two years. Diet and exercise are overwhelming priorities to me. Its so bad that when I see other people eating I guesstimate how many calories they are eating.
What is the point? When are you good enough? Size 8? Size 6? Size 4? I guess the answer will depend on the person you are asking. It is so easy to cross that ED line. Most of us are already obsessing about food consumption and exercise. None of us want to regain that weight that was so hard to take off.
Sometimes you just need to stop, take a good, long look in the mirror, give yourself a big hug and forgive yourself. Let go of the past experiences that cause you pain. Something that helped me tremendously was to write those experiences down on paper. Really read and digest what I had written. Burn the letter and bury the ashes.
You have accomplished so much. I wish you the best of luck and hope that you are feeling better soon.
I have to say thank you to tciherr - that quote -
No matter how long you stand in front of the mirror naked picking yourself apart, you will never see what is reflected on the inside.
Is amazing. I've never ever thought of it that way.
No problem. Its one of my go tos when I'm feeling down (or fat)!
I really have to agree with chazi_bear, that quote is amazing. I also never really thought about it that way....but that is so true and makes so much sense!
When am I good enough? I think that really is the question I have been struggling with most lately. It was extremely easy to cross the line with an ED because I didn't want to regain any of the weight...that was my biggest fear. It was unbearable to think of becoming that heavy again and enduring all of that pain all over. Except now I'm just causing myself pain in a completely different way.
I do need to just stop and forgive myself. That is something that I am slowly working towards with my counselor. Writing has also helped me a lot! I have started journaling daily and can't imagine my life without it. It really does help to just let go of some of the pain!
Thank you so much for all of your support :) It really feels good to hear from everyone...your kindness is really appreciated!
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