Body dysmorphia is a devastating PMS symptom no one is talking about, yet every woman should know. Doctors don’t think to ask about it because it’s become common for women to feel dissatisfied about their bodies.
Our serotonin levels (a feel-good hormone that gives us an inner sense of satisfaction), naturally dip the week before our period.
This natural dip can cause you to look in the mirror and see yourself as bigger than you actually are.
You may feel dissatisfied with yourself, others, and your life. This can drive you to excessive behaviors like eating less, working out more, or quitting on projects before you even start. You may find other ways to fill a void in your life like racking up the credit card bill with some online shopping.
I’ve struggled with this in my life, and every woman I’ve worked with has said the same. It’s hard not to get choked up about it too. Most women know the feeling of looking in the mirror and feeling less than stellar about herself.
In a study conducted by the National Eating Disorder Association found, “Nine out of 10 women say they will actually not eat and risk putting their health at stake when they feel bad about their body image. And 7 in 10 girls said they’re more likely to be less assertive in their decisions when they’re feeling insecure”.
As a Boss Babe, you don’t have time to feel insecure or not assert your thoughts and opinions. You’ve got a business to run and an empire to build.
Have you noticed this monthly dip at all? How many other women do you know who struggle with this too? If we all knew to view this time with more awareness, do you think less women would suffer?
I believe our lives would be completely different if more women knew about body dysmorphia as a PMS symptom. It comes and goes as we move through our cycle, and how we choose to think, eat and move makes a huge difference.
If body dysmorphia has happened to you before your period, I challenge you to stop and look at the situation objectively:
Did you really, “all of a sudden” gain 10 pounds, or is your brain lacking serotonin?
Do you truly look different or is this something that will pass?
Do you really not like your life or feel anxious over certain situations that are not actually real?
I’d love to tell you I’ve overcome this, but I have not. Some women are more sensitive to this hormonal dip than others and we feel it more deeply. We may also all express it differently.
As you’ll learn in a moment, I turned to exercise to deal. You might turn to something else, or find other ways to deal with emotional upheaval.
It can lead to wedges in relationships too, so I highly encourage you to tune in here.
Each month, the week before my period, I look in the mirror and see myself differently than the week before. My face looks different, almost like my eyes have a harder time focusing on what’s in the mirror. And I do see my body differently.
In the past, this led me down a 12-year battle with an eating disorder called compulsive over-exercising, also known as anorexia athletica.
This became another way to offset calories by exercising them off. It also became what I turned to as a way to deal with my emotions. More exercise, in this case, was definitely not better. It led me to emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion. I withdrew from my friends, ditched events to workout, and never felt thin enough.
Now six years into my recovery, I challenge every thought that comes through my mind. Like clockwork, the week before my period, I find myself wanting to go to the gym more. Feeling like I NEED to.
Have you felt this urge in your life? With exercise or something else?
When I have these thoughts come forward, I stop and tune in. I use these thoughts as a sign of where I’m at in my cycle and know my body is right on track. I opt to go for a walk outside for vitamin D and blood circulation. Our brain needs these!
Just moving your body and spending time outside can boost your mood, release more endorphins (another feel good hormone), and reduce stress.
Then I eat my way to higher self-esteem!
Foods that contain tryptophan can naturally increase the production of serotonin. Like dark turkey meat, avocado, salmon, hemp and pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate, bananas, walnuts, or chia pudding.
Filling up on these the week before your period may cause body dysmorphia thoughts to subside. These good mood foods help you feel happier, more calm, and emotionally balanced.
If you think you need additional support, please reach out to a loved one or your physician.