The Dysmorphia Strikes Back

Hello my friends,

Until pretty recently, I’ve been doing pretty okay with eating reasonably without obsessing over it, but I’ve started to struggle again on the eating front. Basically, I’ve reached the highest weight I’ve ever been at since quitting alcohol (which is 35 lbs over the baseline I’d had previously until 6 months or so ago). It’s really obvious to me on an every day all day basis, clothes not fitting anymore, etc. I’ve been carrying a lot of needless shame and anxiety around, and on top of that, guilt for getting worked up over something that isn’t a big deal (I’m still technically in the healthy weight range for my height, though barely).

So, I’m fairly confident in my ability to handle anxiety around purge and binge urges again, but I’m still working on how to keep a handle on the restricting behaviour. I found myself skipping meals the other day by forgetfulness, but now I’m struggling not to do it on purpose. Right now, it’s just a here and there thing. If I don’t get a handle on it, it gets compulsive like any other addiction, so I want to get out in front of it.

For those of you who have struggled on the eating disorder front, what have you guys found helpful to get back on track? Strategies for healthier thinking and dragging oneself to the dinner table?

Alright, I’m out of my lane on this one. I struggled briefly with eating disorders as a teen though and, if I’m being honest, still have dysmorphic tendencies. Though now it mostly comes out as depression and mild fear of being around others when it kicks in. (It was kicking in hard at the end of my last drunk.)

Gonna go way out on a limb here though. Do you do much exercise? It’s a tool I’ve been putting back in my belt lately. Knowing that more than liking how my body looks, I wanna like how I feel, too. After a while it feels good to put in the work and any feelings of guilt for eating sort of fall by the wayside.

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(Understanding of course that exercising needs a careful, healthy balance, too…)


Great point to bring up. My exercise is pretty minimal. I’m trying to incorporate more of it because of the many clear benefits it has. I have a baseline reluctance to exercise, and I’ve found it a lot more difficult to do when the struggle flares up, because exercise is naturally a very body-conscious activity. I don’t have a reason not to exercise, and get internally pretty rough with myself on a regular basis for continually falling short of what I want to accomplish on that front. Count another area of my life I’m still learning to navigate, I guess.

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I hear all of that and 100% recommend a plan.

My adventures in 150 pushups are chronicled on the 30-day challenge thread. Getting through that with the group, my goal being to steadily up what I could do and reach my goal in 30 days, was internally transformative in a lot of ways.

For that and for the cardio challenge there were so many days I felt beat. I got up and to it again anyway, just sticking to the plan. And those were the days where it immediately made all the difference.

All of that sort of snowballed my mentality on “progress, not perfection.” I felt it slowly changing in me, I lived the progress. Today I feel so much better and with the rains done, ready to start my Couch to 5k in the morning.

Sure I’m preaching to the choir here. If ya want a C25k buddy though, lemme know. :wink: I’m not kidding when I say I do it so I can eat my pizza in peace!


Like @Eke it’s not something I am actively dealing with so please ignore as appropriate!

I know I have mentioned it before but yoga is something to consider. It’s such a mindful way of exercising but if done daily it has some good fitness benefits. And you can do it at home. Walking is the other thing, it’s amazing the difference an extra 10 to 20 minutes a day can make! Those are things that work for me - I guess the key with exercise is to find something that you enjoy and that can be built into a regular routine.

Here’s a link to the 30 day yoga series we’re working through on the 30 day challenge thread at the moment, if you want to check it out :blush:


Oh do I hear ya. I’m constantly fretting about my weight. I have a bottle of laxatives in my purse but so far I’ve fought the urge to take them. They don’t really help me lose weight anyway…it’s just emotional release I get from them.

I used to be a huge workout queen…aerobics, weights, kickboxing, kettlebells, hiit…I’ve done just about everything but I always tend to overdue it eventually.

What I’m trying to do these days is just yoga and other stretching. I need to learn to lo e my body no matter the weight. My body is pretty amazing in what it can do no matter what it looks like.

One thing I do is think about how I feel about other people’s bodies. Sure I admire beautiful bodies but when I’m at the beach and see heavier people confidently playing and having fun I NEVER think “ooo, they’re fat, they need to lose weight”. If anything I think “wow, they look great, so why do I think they think I’m fat?”. Chances are they don’t. Actually, chances are that they just don’t think anything about me…they are busy living their own lives and don’t even notice me!!!

I know you can do this. Focus on your health, not your appearance. If eating more helps you not drink then that IS healthier!!!


Thanks guys, there’s lots of good stuff to think about.

I think I’ve realized, after much thought, that I mentally block myself from exercise as a way to avoid the punishment I unleash on myself when I have an off day or a missed day of exercise. Learning to treat myself better, have self-compassion, may be something to keep in mind as I move forward with this.

(I keep editing this paragraph, second-guessing it considering the public audience, so I’ll just leave it out.)


I think that’s such a good point, going into it with the expectation that you probably won’t stick to a routine 100% regularly because life just isn’t 100% regular! That’s also why finding something you enjoy is so important… When you dip out, which you inevitably will, it makes it something you can look forward to getting back to rather than feeling guilty for not doing.

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I wish I had some words of wisdom for you James. All I can say is I can relate to what you’re going through and it sucks. Only once or twice have I thought that drinking would just take away the annoying dialogue in my head about my weight, how I should look, how much I should be eating, how little I should be eating. But that thought was fleeting because alcohol isn’t going to solve anything.

I try to remind myself every time I’m stuck in that cycle that I am allowed to think and feel whatever I want about myself. As long as it’s positive. Negative thoughts have no place in my head. I also try to eat intuitively-there’s a book out there called Intuitive Eating you might want to check it out or just look up the term.

Starting small with exercise is ideal. An extra 10 minutes of walking in the morning and then evening can help kick start a workout routine and get some endorphins flowing.


Well, I still plan on giving myself a reprimand if I don’t exercise when I had decided to do so, but hopefully one that is corrective more than punitive, and proportionate to what will actually help me to do better the next time.

Finding something I enjoy will be so much easier. I seem to miss out on the good feelings other people talk about when they have a good exercise session, I tend to come out of exercise irritable and with low self-esteem, unless I exceeded my expectations on what I thought I’d accomplish that day. It happens a lot less when I can let myself get lost in a good game of volleyball, something that’s hard to find for free.

@Lionfish Thanks. I like the simplicity of the “positive only” rule. And I’ll look up that book, sounds interesting. And yeah, with me, routine is probably at least half the battle, so if I can get that going, dialing up the intensity to where I’d like it to be will be easier to maintain.

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Funny thing I find about exercise… don’t often need to punish myself if I miss a day. The body does it for me. Just missed a month of running and body let me know it wasn’t super happy to be back out there today, lol.

On the other hand it was also still so much easier than six months ago, which was a lift! The body just is, and mine is alright.

For sure it’s important to strike a healthy balance however we roll. The acceptance @anon30771928 mentioned. All this gym rat and yogi stuff can probably be every bit as much a boost as meditation. A good conversation. The right meal. Think whatever is needed today is clearer with that acceptance. Including accepting that change takes time.

This all just has me rethinking my own eating and self image. Tend not to head-on usually… :confused:


Like with everything else, I suspect balance is the key. Easy to say, difficult to achieve!

And re accomplishments through exercise, again I think that is about expectations. I aim to spend some time on my yoga mat each day - that’s it. So any day where I practice yoga I feel accomplished. Some days it feels great, some days I hit all the poses, sometimes it feels like I’m going backwards but that’s all ok because all I aim for is to show up. When I don’t, well it happens, tomorrow is a new day to try again! With walking I set a distance that I want to walk for, plan my route in advance and do it. Sometimes it’s faster and sometimes it’s slower, my pace varies, sometimes I feel out of breath and sometimes I could run up a mountain (poetic licence there :joy:). But I set my expectation at something I know I can achieve.

Over time this has made such a big difference. Like last year I did a 34 mile walk on my own. In yoga now I can sometimes touch my heels to the floor in downward dog. Keep showing up and progress does happen, even if you don’t notice it every session!



Yeah, the acceptance is a really important thing for me to correct. I’ve identified a big barrier that I have in the way of acceptance, which is good information to have, I just need to figure out how to tackle it.

Yes! I know for a fact that patience is a weakness of mine, though I didn’t see how it affected my approach to exercise. Thanks.

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So after having this conversation, and skipping yoga yesterday I thought I should really take my own advice and get onto it :see_no_evil: It was funny because she actually talked about the main thing is to keep showing up and how it doesn’t matter if you miss a day… Also she said about being present - focusing on where you are at right now rather than where you were yesterday or where you want to be tomorrow.

Expectations, acceptance and being present - lessons we can apply to every area of our lives I reckon :pray:

A bit out of my lane here, but who hasn’t looked in the mirror or down at the scale and said “damn, where’d that come from?”. I know I have, and since leaving the service at the end of 98, I’ve cycled through periods of being extremely health conscious and well conditioned, to being quite overweight. I got to the point where if I had to haul ass, it would take two trips. I also ended up in the hospital with vertigo. While there, it was discovered that I was borderline hypersensitive and had high cholesterol. I got back on the healthy path and am happy with my progress.

Remember, there’s more to health than what you see in the mirror, or what the scales says. How’s your blood pressure, cholesterol and heart rate? Do you get winded walking up a flight of stairs?

Also, be mindful of the season. I am prone to “winter blues” or S.A.D. and tend to want to overeat in the winter. I have found that being mindful of vitamin and mineral intake, really does help my mood, as well as does regular exercise.

Make sure you get enough vitamin D. Males can be quite deficient in the winter, just as females are more prone to anemia during these months. I supplement D in the winter. Months where I am out in the sun, I don’t need it.

I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but maybe look at martial arts. Tai Chi is good for those who aren’t into the hitting parts. Regardless, martial arts are holistic in approach, mind, body, spirit. A healthy 3-legged stool.