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attractiveness and body image

cameymb member since Oct '11

911 rep

I'm trying to be excited for myself, I am. Every time I look in the mirror, I see something different though. One minute, I'm thin(er) and happy and attractive. I turn around and see myself in a different one and I'm short and plump and a 4, maybe.

Despite the confidence in myself that I seem to have, I never think a man will be attracted to me. I constantly think of myself as fat and undesirable. I have this strange dyconomy (I don't think I spelled that right) of thinking in my head. On the one hand, I know I'm attractive. One the other I don't think I'm sexy. One of the reasons why I'm going to the gym is that the kind of men that I am attracted to aren't attracted to me.

Body image and how I see myself has always been an issue. I've never considered myself "fat", though I secretly use that word to describe myself. But I also know how good I am at compartmentalizing things, like reality versus what I want to be true. I know I'll never be 120 lbs. But I'd like to be in better shape than I am right now. Hopefully hope springs eternal. If it doesn't, then I'll have to do it out of romantic desperation.

I guess the discussion that comes out of this is, how do I reconcile 24 years of slightly off body image? Buy a new mirror? I know that working out will help, but support from the outside would help too.

Vicki Bowland member since Jun'10

53k rep

You need to stop the "negative" tapes in your head-- and that is really, really hard to do. But it can be done. You sound like you have a touch of body dismorphia-- not altogether unusual, and commonly related to self esteem and those blasted negative tapes.

It is time to focus on the "cans"-- thing you CAN do, not things you can't, or want to, or might be able to do later-- those things you CAN do, right now. And you need to stop focusing on what other people see-- because you don't know what they see. But right now, you are sending out "I don't like me very much' vibes-- and that makes it hard for any guy to see past. I understand, I was there. In some ways, I still am. It's okay. We are all works in progress. Happy

I read, in Working Out Sucks about the separating the mind and the brain. Your brain is what stores all that input-- positive and negative, good, bad, indifferent. Kinda like your computer hard drive. Your mind is your software-- it can access the parts you want to access. It is your mind (mindset) that needs "re-written"-- Cam 2.0 as the case may be. Wink There is a separate course of thought that says your mind can spit out negative thoughts at the blink of an eye-- and to superseed them, you need to think 6--- 6!! positive ones about yourself.

So, every time you think something negative "I'm a 4Worried "-- You need to stop. And force yourself to think (at least) 6 good things about yourself " I have pretty hair Happy , I love my nails Happy , I am smarter than the average bear Happy , I am stronger today than yesterday Happy , I did really well at work today Happy , tomorrow, I'm gonna be a 5 with a bullet!! Happy Happy " It really only takes a week or two to get those "negative thoughts" to be less negative, and to have those positive ones start coming faster and faster.

Not unlike the new you being fashioned at the gym, it will take some time-- but in the end, you will be fit, fabulous, and ready to accept all the world has to bring! (And maybe even the attention of one of those guys.Wink )

posted : 2/16/2012 at 8:58 AM

megan.wolf member since Sep'11

687 rep

Body Image is something I am currently struggling with as well. The first thing I realized in my struggle with weight loss is you have to lose weight for yourself. It makes it easier for you to feel good when you do it because you want it for you, not to appear attractive to men.

I know the struggle of an off body image, I've been struggling with that one for 22 years. Now that I have lost weight, I still struggle with seeing who I am now versus who I was before. That part doesn't get easier.

I think what you have to do is learn to love yourself for who you are, not what you see in the mirror.

posted : 2/16/2012 at 10:39 AM

Courtney Murzyn member since Sep'09

28k rep


Try to think of the positives instead of the negatives. I also recommend reading "Working Out Sucks", it is a great book that discusses many topics that may help you to stay positive.

posted : 2/16/2012 at 2:07 PM

alidecker member since Jan'10

26k rep

Let me know if you figure it out. I have lost a significant amount of weight, but sometimes I still see the fat girl when I look in the mirror. Don't get me wrong, I couldn't be happier with my progress and I know I look a lot better than I did before and I am truly happier than I was before, but there will always be that feeling in the back of my head. I have no confidence when it comes to flirting with men or trying to meet men. Every once in a while I get a flash of self-confidence, but it doesn't stick around long enough. It seems to be getting better though.

posted : 2/16/2012 at 3:59 PM

gpunswick member since Jun'11

144 rep

I can't speak for all guys, but I think feeling less-than is common for both genders - I know, as a guy, I feel unsexy or unattractive often. People, including myself, are so eye-oriented, and we turn ourselves off and on mostly through our eyes. It would be fun if we could find a way to equalize our sensuality, spending equal time with all our senses, so that we don't habitualize our thinking which gets us (me) stuck in a rut. Thanks cameymb for bringing this up.

posted : 2/22/2012 at 11:44 AM

Devon Greer member since Feb'12

2.9k rep

I feel the same way every now and then. Maybe not as much as some people, but one thing that keeps me positive is having a goal and knowing I am working toward that goal

posted : 2/22/2012 at 6:22 PM

Kim Harrison member since Sep'11

8.7k rep

I keep a Gratitude journal. Each day I write down five things I am grateful for, thus starting my day with a positive attitude. It really gets you thinking about all the good things in your life and how blessed we are. Try it for seven days and see if it doesn't make you smile at yourself and see yourself as someone you're really proud of!

posted : 2/25/2012 at 2:01 PM

rippeddiscgolfer member since Feb'12

1.2k rep

totally agreeing with Vicki. The more you think of yourself in a negative way the less you get accomplished. When you think positive of yourself you will see way better results

posted : 2/27/2012 at 8:34 AM

cameymb member since Oct'11

911 rep

Thanks everyone for the responses. Even the guys. It's a little petty to say, but I'm kind of glad to see this is not just a chick issue.

I was talking to my room mate (and workout buddy) the other day about this particular problem. She mentioned that since I had started to workout regularly, meaning 5 or 6 days a week depending, that I have become a much more positive person overall. All those endorphins, I guess. I'm really hard on my self most of the time, but I have noticed lately a lack of heavy sighs when I look in the mirror. There is just the faintest hint of a smile, too. Happy

Kim, I've been doing that gratitude thing for years now. It really helps one appreciate the little things. If every I have a terrible, rotten, no good, bad day I make a list of things that were good (a new pen, someone smiled at me, etc). It's a great tool just for the every day battle.

posted : 2/27/2012 at 8:01 PM

JoAnne E member since Aug'11

5.5k rep

How you feel about yourself is more than what you see in the mirror. I had a short stint with annorexia years ago. How I see myself in the mirror will never be good enough. You must focus on who you are as a person - forget the mirror for a while. I know that if you start your day with positive reinforcement about the wonderful person that you are, you will start to change how you feel about yourself. Being healthy through exercise and good nutrition is more important than those 15 to 20 pounds (now, if it is more than that you are looking at health problems in the future and if you have children you owe it to them to get healthy and live a long life for their sake). Set small goals for yourself; 5 pounds in one month to start with. Make small changes; get rid of one bad habit and start your exercise habit, even if it is only for 5 minutes a day, that habit will then get established and you will want to go from 5 minutes to 10 and longer and longer. Love yourself, and constantly remind yourself, every morning, that today you will be a winner. One day at a time. Remember, real people; the ones with good hearts will love you for who you are, not how you look.

posted : 4/3/2012 at 2:49 PM

Linda Garland member since Jan'12

1.4k rep

Wow, JoAnne E...very nicely said! Happy

posted : 4/3/2012 at 8:28 PM

SADGIRLINSAC member since Apr'12

164 rep

No one in this world will be attractive to everyone, most of what you see on television is fake. They have to starve themselves and be air brushed. Everyone is beautiful in their own right. Yes, some of us attract more than others but, in reality most people will never admit who they are attracted to or even ask some one out, out of fear. You can get a mate at any size trust that.

posted : 4/6/2012 at 6:44 PM

cameymb member since Oct'11

911 rep

Since posting this initially, I have come to some conclusions about my life.

1) I know that I am pretty much awesome. On a scale from "Quarterly Earnings Report" to "Neil Patrick Harris", I can usually find myself on the NPH side of things.

2) 20+ pounds later, the mirror and I don't fight nearly as much.

3) I have decided that body image is entirely what you make it. If I don't think I'm attractive, I won't be. I can choose to see myself as a person that people want to be around, and by giving off that vibe people apparently want to hang out with me.

4) Going to the gym and working out helps me to deal with problems a lot better than snack foods. I still snack, but with carrots not cake.

5) Running 4 miles without stopping helps me put everything in to perspective. If I can go from barely walking 1/4 mile to RUNNING 4, I think I'll be okay.

And lastly 6) There will be crap days. There will be days that I will want to crawl under the covers. And there will be days where that is okay. The trick is to not let those days come around more often than those days that I run to the beach and back.

I'm trying to keep my head up.... Wait now my head is up! I'm trying to stand up straighter.... Wait, there's that posture I was missing! I'm trying to walk confidently.... Watch me strut down the street with a smile.

posted : 4/14/2012 at 6:43 PM

Devon Greer member since Feb'12

2.9k rep

Nicely put Camey. Sounds like you have your head on straight Happy

Now if we could all get our crap together there would be a lot less problems. Unfortunately, I tend to let things get to me more often than I should.

posted : 4/15/2012 at 9:16 PM

Sally . member since Mar'12

4.9k rep

This is a great post,and while I wish all of us who feel this way didnt,there is comfort knowing that others understand and can actually relate to it.

posted : 5/4/2012 at 3:24 PM

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