It's the brain, silly. Silly brain!

Not that YOU, dear reader, need a reminder that body image is only loosely correlated with actual appearance, but this may help you explain it to others.

Fluctuations of Body Images in Anorexia Nervosa

It was not until I'd lived in eating disorder world for a while that I realized that my own body image fluctuates. I see someone different in the mirror and carry around a different body day to day. It is generally a lunar cycle, actually - and not surprisingly as part of it must be hormonally influenced - I also note that stress, screwing up, the meanness of others, and bad news cycles play havoc as well . Pre-ED world, I would do like most women and look at myself sideways and say "hey, girlfriend, looking good today!" and spend the day sashaying happily through my day. Or, on those bad days, I'd see this lumpy, ugly, frumpy person and resolve to go buy a product or do more time on the exercise bike or skip dessert in an attempt to correct the miscreant mirror. The greatest thing about learning about body dysmorphia and body image schema was to realize that while I saw these changes I was really the same person throughout and that others saw that same person - I wasn't going to change her, and she was - gosh darn it - "good enough." I have the self-esteem, most of the time, to believe others see the Laura I prefer and give a mental snub to those blind to her charms. It's saved me buckets of money on beauty products!

P.S. I dare you to say that Miss Piggie is the one with body image problems!


  1. Laura, it's interesting that you make the correlation between stressors and body image dysmorphia even in non Ed people.
    This was my early perception of my sweet daughter when she first started showing signs of body dysmorphia before any dietary restrictions or rules surfaced and before I knew much about Ed.
    I thought and made note of her body image distortions that would surface under stressful settings, big tests in school, overwhelming workload, etc. I remember pointing it out to her that she was the same person and body the day before
    when she wasn't stressed and liking how she looked.
    I remember my older non Ed daughter suffering through teen hood body changes and hormones and days where she would be happy about how she looked and days where she hated how she looked.
    I personally suffer somewhat the opposite although I do remember feeling that way as a teen and young women. Now, I guess I still have days where I like the way I look better than others, often in my dreams I'm this svelt younger women, Ha! Anyway maybe this dysmorphia and perceptions are built into beliefs and our own ability to shape our minds based on beliefs, real or imagined. You know like the old self fulfilling prophesy or placebo effect. What we believe has very powerful consequences on our own outcomes. Very interesting thought!


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