Sunday, February 12, 2012

Body Image Challenge

Well here it is...
Not the most flattering angle nor outfit...
But it's the first picture that has been taken of me that has captured my whole body in months:

It was hard to decline when a colleague of mine took out her camera to take a few shots from a charity bake sale we did last week.  I have been shying away from cameras for about 5-6 months now, only allowing family to take the obligatory pictures from holiday gatherings.  What's hard for me, is accepting the 20-25 pounds that I have gained in order to be healthy.  It's difficult to accept that when eating three balanced meals a day, while following Canada's food guide, my body wants to be at a BMI of about 22.5-23... with most of my curves being from the waist down, it's hard to shake that ideal of a Barbie image... or the ideal of thinness that is so ingrained in the media.  And I must accept that I do have a booty... (Maybe listening more to Sir Mix-A-Lot will help?)

But I keep reminding myself that beauty is more than just the ideals projected by the media.  What's important to me is my loved ones, the opportunities I have for learning, art, having fun and so much  more.  When an Eating Disorder takes over, all the wonderful things that life has to offer slips away. 

(BMI of 19)

Controlling my body by unhealthy means, only caused pain to myself and loved ones.  Even though I felt like I was in control and could take on anything, in reality I was just numbing out and escaping life.   What I have learned about myself is that I can handle the tough emotions and stress of life without turning to E.D. It sucks at times and sometimes I feel out of control, but that is something that comes along with living life to it's fullest.  Learning acceptance is key to my recovery.  

I'm curious to know how people handle the "tough emotions" like sadness or anger.


Shybiker said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I get thrilled every time you post. See you healthy means so much to me. Life is an opportunity and I want you to be sitting at the table near me.

Ashelle said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Thanks Shybiker for your supportive comment. It means so much to me that you continue to be there. And, literally, I would love to one day have dinner with you and Robin.

Bonnie said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Keep in mind that there is no such thing as perfection. Perfection and beauty is in the eye of the beholder -- cliched but true. I think you look beautiful because you look happy. Happiness is the key to life. Screw anyone who tells you otherwise.
Twitter: @GlamKitten88

Jenarcissist @ the closet narcissist said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I agree; you have no idea how much it means to me when you're healthy.

And I think you look FABULOUS in the new picture, way more than the old one. The way you're posed in the old one is so lovely. But just to be honest, you don't look remotely healthy. In the new one, the way you're smiling is just precious. I know you're not 2 years old, but that's the best word for it. :) You just look more confident somehow. And you know I like that side ponytail. I've started wearing my hair that way so much that now I think it looks funny any other way. I'm racking my brain trying to remember what I would've said to you when you originally posted the old pic. I desperately hope I have never said anything triggering to you and wonder if I called you beautiful back then, would you think I meant because you were thinner. You are and always have been beautiful, separate from your weight, but I mean this 100% that you are far more beautiful at a healthy weight. It makes you more radiant and less hollow. Maybe you could do a post on what kinds of different well-meaning comments could be triggering for people with E.D. I tend to always want to make girls feel good about themselves and will compliment them, but can that sometimes be a reinforcement of why someone thinks they should not eat?

I totally think you should do a new photoshoot. Not when someone's catching you off-guard and you're already not feelin' it. But set aside some time with some hot new clothes and cool scenery and use all that experience you built up trying not to be afraid of the camera anymore and WORK IT. You might not love all the pictures - but if you take 20 photos of ANYONE, they will usually not like but 5 of them. It isn't a reflection on your new body or your level of attractiveness. Focus on the ones you do like and pick out things about you in the pictures that you like or can at least appreciate.

I do agree that it's either E.D. or the things you enjoy. You've proven to yourself you can't have both. But you CAN simultaneously have the things you enjoy and learn to love your healthy body. And it's obvious to me that's exactly what you're doing.

I totally have a booty. And you know what, I really like it. :) If I were a guy, I'd be way more into you at this weight than the old weight. For real.

Jenarcissist @ the closet narcissist said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

With all my lengthy wordage, I didn't answer your question. I think gratefulness is the antidote to fear, insecurity, sadness, and anger. It's not always the easiest thing to master, but when you get to the point where you live in a state of gratitude without even having to try hard most of the time, it is life-changing. There isn't as much room left anymore for those other, energy-sucking feelings. For example, my mom dying when she did is not something I will ever just "get over," nor will I ever fully stop feeling ANY sadness or anger about it. But when I changed my perspective to one of gratefulness for the time we had and the love she taught me, it changed me. When I feel insecure, I try to make myself focus on things about myself that are awesome. When I'm sad, I think of how lucky I am to have so many reasons to be happy. When I am angry, well, first I get real irritable, and then I figure out the root of the problem...not always what I thought it was. And I talk through my tough emotions, which helps me sort them and look at them more objectively. Hope this helps!

Ashelle said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Dear Jenarcissist @ the closet narcissist personally, you have never said anything to reinforce my unhealthy E.D. thoughts... It differs for everyone with an eating disorder though, as we are all driven by different things.

Even though I enjoyed when people commented on how thin I was, that wasn't the underlining reason to why I was restricting my food.

You are such a positive and wonderful person that I don't think you should change anything about the way you are or how you talk to others. I think I might take your advice sometime in the near future to do a photoshoot with the new body :)


PS: I enjoyed your response of gratefulness.

Ashelle said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Bonnie thanks for your comment, I enjoy your confidence and perceptive.

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

just thought i would leave a gentle reminder: there is absolutely nothing unflattering about the angle or outfit in your new picture! when i see it, i'm like, 'wow! simply beautiful!'and your side ponytail just adds to the prettiness.

you've been out of touch recently! let's hang?
<3 J.

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