Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Body Image & Battling My Inner Critic

You would think that, after having spent years being morbidly obese and then finally, finally, being slim again, I would be thrilled with my new body and wouldn't have a complaint about any part of it. I mean, really, can't I be happy that I look and feel so much better now than I did when I weighed more than twice what I weigh now? Shouldn't losing 145 pounds make me feel really good about what I now see in the mirror?

But nothing is ever simple or easy, and even though I am an advocate of girls and women feeling good about themselves, believing in themsleves and in their own, natural beauty no matter what shape, size, age or color they may be, I still find myself being very critical of my own appearance.

I have been asked before about loose skin since losing so much weight, and I will answer honestly by saying, yes, there is some loose skin. It's not a lot of loose skin and it's not as bad as it was in the beginning. The more time I spend at or near my target weight, the more the loose skin firms up. But I still find myself looking at it and feeling unhappy with it. Loose skin in my belly area, boobs that have lost their fullness, and a bit of loose skin on my upper arms; it all makes me sometimes feel less than lovely.

Then there are the signs of age. I spent my 20s and most of my 30s being so overweight that any wrinkles that were beginning to appear were hidden in layers of fat. Now that the fat is gone, my crow's feet and laugh lines are showing. The skin on my neck is not as smooth as it once was. My forehead has creases that were not there before I gained all of that weight. My red hair is much thinner now than it used to be, and tiny strands of white are beginning to appear in it.

But I am trying and striving to silence that inner critic, the one that tells me I will never be pretty enough or thin enough or young enough. Because I used to hear her, that inner voice telling me I'm not good enough, all of those years ago when I was young and thin and had never been overweight, when my hair was thick and shiny without a strand of grey. She used to speak to me when I was a young girl and a teen, and strangely enough, despite my youth, despite the terrific figure I had back then, she still told me I wasn't pretty enough or good enough or thin enough. And this is how I know that my inner critic lies.

So I fight her. And there are beginning to be more and more days when I win against her, when I feel good about myself and even feel pretty. There are days when I don't fight her hard enough, but I am finding that, the older I get, the less I hear that voice. She's still there, whispering in my mind and hidden behind my own thoughts sometimes, but I am able to ignore her more often. I even find myself replacing her with a new voice, one that tells me I am more than good enough. And I am finding that I like this new inner voice much better.

Next time you hear the voice of your inner critic, remember that your inner critic lies, and try replacing her voice with a new one, one that encourages you and helps you to believe in your own worth.


  1. You are beautiful! You are perfect in every way for Becky.
    I know that inner critic is a tough witch. Mine tells me I am not smart enough or good enough to pursue my goals of going back to school, and she is placing enough doubt to prevent me from trying.
    I will overcome her. And so will you. Because she is wrong, wrong, wrong...you have shown her how wrong she is!
    I hope to do the same.

  2. Wow, what a great post. I love the honesty of it and the acknowledgement that despite weight loss, the inner critic will still chirp away unless we work at it. I still make that ugly face when I look at my legs and hips in the mirror, even tho I've come so very far.

    But you're right, that critic was even louder when I was young and my body was perfection...so the point, to me, is that the weight is not the issue - we are the issue. And we must work on loving ourselves everyday.

  3. I started my own blog today, and this has really helped me get through the day. I wrote my first entry before reading this ... and for a while this has made me feel great. But how long can this feeling last? I think i really need to teach myself to sustain this feeling of drowning that inner critic. But it is that exact inner critic that has got my so many places in life? Uni for example? xx

  4. I just read the article about you in the new SW magazine and I was stunned!! You are one of the most prettiest people I have ever seen so please don't put yourself down!

    I was wondering if you struggled with the last few stones because I always get stuck at 11 stone :-(

  5. I struggle with this too! And you're right, she does lie, and always has. I am so glad that +90% of the time I hear edifying, true inner voices on the subject, and not baseless or degrading self-criticism. It's still frustrating, but not wallowing in what she says or allowing it to throw me off plan is the best I can manage, at this point.

  6. Thanks, everyone. :) It's sad how so many of us have to battle that inner critic!

    Judy - YES! I got stuck for 5 weeks when I was 10 lbs away from my target weight, but it eventually came off, and now that I am AT target, I feel like I have to work even harder sometimes just to maintain.

  7. Confidence is definitely key, and that's how I found your site. I look for like-minded individuals to remind me that I'm not alone. I actually found a show that preaches mental gain to promote weight loss in Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition. It airs Mondays on ABC at 10pm if you want to check it out.

    Thanks for the story and good luck with your journey!


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