I’m not alone …. Avondale member; Rebecca Kennedy

Rebecca Kennedy

Avondale YFC

BDD also known as body dysmorphia, is a mental health condition where a person spends a lot of time worrying about flaws in their appearance. Although these flaws are often unnoticeable to others, it can have a huge impact on the individual’s life. We live in a world where social media is a part of everyone’s lives, and with its benefits also comes negatives. These negatives involve brands showing photos of women, which have often been altered or set up to look a certain way. This results in portraying a body imagine that is often unattainable and unhealthy for girls to achieve.

With body dysmorphia, the “perfect body” is never achieved as the person continues to find flaws in themselves. So, I know what you may be thinking. How is it possible for someone who studies dietetics and has had a close family member previously go through the same thing to begin to develop body dysmorphia? Well here is my story.

I was going through a stressful time in my life which caused me to lose a regular eating pattern and I was over exercising.

This resulted in me losing 2 stone in 2 months without intending to. I started to notice the weight loss when I was out and people where commenting “wow you look so good” and “you have lost so much weight”. These comments made me feel good about myself, in a time where I was so stressed, I didn’t feel this often. As time went on, I started to look back at old photos of myself and noticed how much I had changed. With the use of social media, I then began to compare myself with others, feeling like my body did not look a certain way.

I became paranoid that I would also regain the weight and I was weighing myself daily. I also had an unhealthy relationship with food, restricting myself and not eating enough to fuel my body.

A year on and I have regained some weight, however I am feeling as happy and as confident as I ever have. I am thankful to have close friends and family who made me aware of how obsessed I had become with my intake and how drained of energy I was. I then decided to stop comparing myself to others and focused on myself, reducing stress and getting back to a healthy balanced diet.

Body dysmorphia is increasingly affecting young girls and can sometimes cause seriously damaging effects to their bodies and mental health.
In today’s society, it is important we promote body positivity and accept there is not a “perfect body image”. If I can give one piece of advice to my old self and anyone suffering with BDD it would be to talk to someone, whether it be a friend, family member or a professional. We are all unique and all have fantastic traits and these factors are what make you, you.