If you had spent any time on social media in the last few years, you would have seen a huge trend in the fitness industry: body (and booty) building. And there are thousands of people following it, which is why you can get a so-called booty guide from almost every fitness influencer/model you can find on Instagram. I have to admit that I tried these, as well. And I’m sharing my story here. SPOILER: It had quite an impact on my life.
How it all started
Growing up, I struggled a lot with body dysmorphia. I had gotten out of it for the most part and it was not affecting my life on most days. Never had I thought that I could fall back so hard.
The story probably started three years ago, when a “friend” of mine told me that he didn’t like my bum and that I should do more squats. That was around the time that this whole butt hype started. Because I was kinda passionate about weight-lifting at that time, I thought I might as well give it a go. With that, a year-long journey started.
I bought a guide, I changed my gym and I worked out. And ate the way I should eat. And while I could most definitely feel a difference in my muscles, I just couldn’t see it in the mirror. So I just tried different strategies – no difference. My social media feeds were full of big booties, fitness models and food.
So there I was, looking at all these perfect (photoshopped?) bodies and couldn’t help but wonder: Why doesn’t it work for me? But that was not it. I started to find little things about my body, that I hated. Why can’t my belly be flat? Why can’t my legs be thinner? And my arms, they are huge! I literally spend half a day posing in front of the mirror to maybe discover the bum I was looking for all along. It became an obsession. I would flex different muscle groups in front of the mirror and try different angles, took hundreds of selfies, but in the end, I couldn’t compete with these girls. On some days, I did finally see a change. Which then magically disappeared as soon as I got my camera to take a picture. It was frustrating.
How things got even worse
I started dieting because I now hated my body more and more because it was so “flawed”. And as always, dieting led me to gain more weight than I started with. Also, I always felt incredibly guilty when I missed a work-out because I was too sore. I was miserable. Still always checking Instagram and seeing these girls smile while showing off their bubble butts. It finally got so bad, that I couldn’t look in the mirror anymore. While trying so badly to embrace my body.
Before starting this journey, never had I ever thought this experiment would be so toxic to me. Don’t get me wrong, there are many girls that change their bodies and embrace their appearance and live their perfect lives. I am honestly happy for them! But unfortunately, I was none of them. It took me a long time to get back to normal again.
Looking back, I feel as if I wasn’t myself. I was constantly comparing myself to EVERY SINGLE GIRL I saw online. I became self-conscious and felt unworthy. At first, I posted like a hundred athleisure pictures or belfies on my account. That changed drastically after a few months and I didn’t want to post any pictures anymore. And I wasted so much time and effort in my pursuit to look photoshopped. I could have used this time to learn a new language, paint with watercolors, knit, or whatever, and I would have been a pro by now.
Anyway, this adventure had its positive sides, as well. After I reached my all-time low self-esteem and negative body image, I put a lot of effort into removing all toxicity from my life. I unfollowed at least 200 fitness accounts. Next, I stopped watching their YouTube videos. I quit weight-lifting. And I focused my attention on surrounding myself with positive people. I learned to love my body again because it does incredible work for me, every second of every day. Eventually, I stopped comparing myself to others because I am unique and that is who I am. I decided that I would rather people like me for my character and my humor than for a part of my body. It hasn’t been easy, I still have days where I feel meh and don’t want to leave my apartment. But I have more and more days where I feel fine.
My key to recovery is:
– no dieting. ever. again.
– a whole food plant-based diet
– looking for better role models
I can proudly say, that I’m in a much better place right now than I had been before this whole insanity. It has been a year and I don’t look back. I wouldn’t trade my mental health for a certain look ever again.
This was my story. If you are into bodybuilding and that works with your mental health, I am lucky for you.
Love and light, K.