As a beautiful member of young Hollywood, all trim and perky, it's hard to imagine that someone like Hayden Panettiere could ever feel badly about her body. But in the latest issue of Women's Health, she admits she had body dysmorphia.
Body dysmophic disorder basically means that what you see walking down the street is not what the person sees in themselves. It could mean always believing they're fat when they aren't. It could mean obsessing over one perceived flaw that may not even exist. Many simply cannot see themselves as others see them. It's a problem.
A few weeks ago, a friend was complaining that she has a very thin friend who often complains of feeling fat. As a woman who is a size 12 (the friend is a size 2), she felt her friend ought to be more sensitive. I heard her. I disagreed.
The problem I imagined is that she really might FEEL fat. And the reason I know this is that I also have this issue. No matter how much I run or lose weight or weigh on the scale, the body I see in the mirror and in the shower and on me is always, always chunky. It doesn't matter how wrong I am or how anyone else sees me. In my head, I am fat.
Unlike Panettiere, I never outgrew my body dysmorphia. I have simply had to accept that I don't see myself clearly. It's a bit of a problem in the world. Whether I feel "fat" or not has nothing to do with the scale or even with the mirror and everything to do with what is going on in my life. If I am stressed, I feel fat.
I know I am not alone, either. For every small girl who says, "I feel fat" so she can get 1,000 compliments, there is also one who says it because she means it.
Body dysmorphia is a problem in this country because we have vilified "fat" as a character defect, as a flaw that doesn't go away. Many women are so scared of "fat" they see it everywhere.
I very rarely believe celebs when they say they have overcome their body dysmorphia. It's not so easy to overcome. Once you have it, it's almost impossible to shake.
Do you see your body the way it is?
Image via Women's Health