Body Dysmorphia

I think a lot of people do or have had, body dysmorphia to an extent at some point in their lives.

Ever have a nagging obsession with a perceived defect of your physical appearance?  Have friends told you, you have amazing arms or whatever, but you still think they’re too flabby?  Ever fixate on a particular body part like your arms, stare at them endlessly in the mirror, hating them and wishing they were different?  Is it the first thing you look at in a photograph of yourself?  Has it caused you to withdraw socially?  Ever not go out because of it?

Body dysmorphia is when someone has an obsession with a minor or an imagined flaw in his or her body.  Its NOT when someone actually has a high body fat % and hates their belly or thighs etc…  Body dysmorphia is about an obsession with a minor or imagined flaw that is insignificant, not visible or not noticeable to anyone else.

I only realised recently how much I’m affected by it.  Most of you know I used to be very overweight and lost a lot of weight about 9/10 years ago.  When I look in the mirror naked, I still see the Fat Andy.  I know I’m not, but that’s what I see.  I used to obsess about it but just don’t look in the mirror anymore and it doesn’t really affect me.  Although its also part of the reason you’ll usually see me in baggy hoodies.

It was only a few of months ago, that I put on a pair of jeans and they were too big for me, I then realised I’d mistakenly put on my flatmates jeans.  I’d always considered him skinny and it shocked me to put my own size into perspective.  Realising my own jeans were smaller, than someone I considered skinny.

I also see it all the time with clients who are in great shape but constantly battle with their own view of themselves.   Or obsess about certain body parts that others would kill to have.  Even models I know or I’ve had as clients, with the perceived “perfect body”, will have body parts they hate or would like to change.

Has the media, fashion industry, Barbie dolls etc a lot to answer for, or is it just human nature?  Did cavemen worry about getting fat or what they looked like?  They had jewelry so maybe they did?  Imagine a world where someone hadn’t invented mirrors or photography, would we know any better?

We all have our imperfections, its what makes us unique.  Learning to love and accept your own body image – if healthy, has to be more important than what you might think – others might think of you.  How can we possibly know what others might think and even if they did think negatively, so what.

Its something I’ll personally always struggle with, but I’m passed the obsession point and accept my body pretty much as it is.  I try to focus on my health, strength and fitness, as that’s what’s truly important.

For more information checkout the great links below:

Facts about BDD 


Picture 1 taken from: The Bliss project.

Picture 2 taken from:Manhattendigest

author: Andy Kenny