Why I Started an Instagram to Beat Body Dysmorphia

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My struggle with body acceptance began as early as elementary school. My family shamed me and gave me nicknames like thunder thighs or squatty body. I was always the biggest one on the cheer squad or ballet or gymnastics.

It didn’t seem to matter what I could do, I was always faced with the ultimatum of “if you could just lose 20 pounds.” I tried all the diets in high school and eventually destroyed my metabolism by starving myself.

During my life, I was also constantly shamed by doctors. I have a thyroid disorder, and instead of checking my levels, they’d introduce a new diet or tell me to keep a food log. When I would turn in my log, they’d accuse me of lying.

Obviously I secretly eat, or else I wouldn’t be so big. During pregnancy, I gained between 30 and 40 pounds each time. Each appointment would turn into a lecture about my weight, not about my baby.

Eventually, I left my abusive marriage after 13 years. I always blamed my weight on his infidelity. If only I were smaller, if only I were built differently, if only this or that.

But when I met my new husband, all those insecurities melted away. The way he would look at me or touch me just solidified a million times over that I was beautiful inside and out.

I know that seems unhealthy that him being a rock of stability was exactly what I needed to fight the demons that lived in my head, but I was so beaten down from the previous 32 years.

When I turned 40, I decided to start an Instagram account (@Hourglassmama). It was for me to take a photo daily to prove to myself that my body dysmorphia was in my head. I wanted to see if I could push through the bouts of depression and still take photos. I wanted to be able to look back at the pics previously taken (when I knew I was in a funk) so I could see that I physically did not change, at least not as drastically as the mirror showed me.

Body Dysmorphia

DEFINITION: Body Dysmorphia

1) Being extremely preoccupied with a perceived flaw in appearance that to others can’t be seen or appears minor.
2) Strong belief that you have a defect in your appearance that makes you ugly or deformed.
3) Belief that others take special notice of your appearance in a negative way or mock you.

That journey led to me trying on lingerie and posting reviews. Being five-foot-two and in between sizes left me in a sizing void. The more I posted, the more I realized that my body type needed to be represented in social media. So I just kept at it.

In the first year, I had over 250,000 followers. Most of my followers are not my target market BUT when I do get that direct message from a woman I inspired or the husband who bought outfits for his wife, it makes it all worth it. The little stories from fans saying that seeing a stretch marked belly or cellulite-covered thighs looking all sexy made them realize that their body is also beautiful.

It has been a struggle to stay motivated at times, from haters, to algorithms, to depression weeks or months. But I still am out there buying outfits and “modeling” them so other women can be inspired to feel beautiful in the skin they’re in.

Body Dysmorphia

What have I realized on my body acceptance journey so far?

💋  Bra and panty sets are impossible to find for my size. (My body type is in a size void.)
💋  Just because lingerie doesn’t fit doesn’t mean it’s because I’m too fat or too curvy.
💋  When your husband (or wife) tells you jiggling or bouncing is sexy, LISTEN! They’re right.
💋  Bodies have stretch marks and cellulite. My lumps and stripes are not a defect.
💋  Meeting a goal weight doesn’t make me happy or feel any better about my appearance.
💋  Weight fluctuations are normal and just fine.
💋  It’s ok to be sad. And it’s ok to be sad as long as you need to be sad.
💋  Taking a photo a day despite how you’re feeling is a great way to see that your self-body shaming issue is in your head.
💋  Buying a goal dress or jeans doesn’t serve me anymore. I’m ok with the size I am NOW.
💋  Sizing makes no sense whatsoever, so it doesn’t matter if I have to order a 2XL or a medium. Size doesn’t define me.
💋  Food isn’t “bad.” I am not “bad” for eating pizza or drinking too much rum.
💋  Boobs sag and they look just as good hanging as they do pushed up in a bra.
💋  Being sexy does not define me as being a sex object.

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