I'm Stephanie Konter. Honestly I could describe myself in many ways, and today's "me" is a different "me" than when I began my journey about 14 years ago as a freshman in high school. With that said, I want to say that I am not a huge fan of labels, so I try to stay away from them and stick with stating what is effective and what's not. Having disordered behaviors (I.e. Eating disorder or body dysmorphia) aren't good for anyone's well being.
I am someone who is passionate about educating individuals about body image issues that can easily turn into disordered behaviors and perceptions. So what does a disordered behavior surrounding your body even look like? Well it can be self mutilation (I.e. Cutting and burning), restricting food, eating compulsively, exercising compulsively, abuse of substances, laxatives, having a "good" and "bad" food list, purging, taking diet pills, going on a diet often, hoarding food... the list can probably go on. The tricky thing is disordered thinking typically evolves into these behaviors once our perception is skewed. The behaviors generally start looking like skipping a meal here and there, not wanting to eat "bad" food, weighing yourself often, starting on a typical diet. The evolution starts when the individual gets a high from the attention changes they get from their weight change. Whether it be more or less attention, disordered behavior evolves when their weight is attached to their sense of self, their confidence, their identity. By this point the individual's perception is ultimately attached to their body weight and size, and they become obsessed upon that particular aspect of themselves.
This is how my story and several hundreds of stories like the "old me" occur. I was a teen athlete focused on being the best in every race I participated in; focused on doing what I thought would make people proud of me and notice me. It became about my body size when I compared my performance to other teens, and what I felt set us apart. So to be "the best" I had to look the part and act the part. My eating disorder and body dysmorphia as an athlete wreaked havoc on my life for many years. I got stuck in a cycle of disordered behaviors and thinking my body was a different size than it really was. The body dysmorphia (misperceptions of my body size) held me tightly wound in my eating disorder, and I eventually ended up in therapy. I needed help and had tried to "heal" and stop the destructive behaviors on my own to no avail.
Now, everyone's story is different and the factors that lead you to behave and perceive things in a certain way vary. However, I am an advocate of asking for help, because we all succeed when we work together and collaborate.
With that said I have some tips on how to work with where you are an athlete, an individual and someone who worthy of love.
1. Practice treating your body as a whole, and honor what it does for you every day.
2. Stand in the mirror and repeat a mantra such as, "I'm perfectly imperfect and I am enough".
3. Shift your thoughts to believing your performance as an athlete will improve if you respect and honor your whole body.
4. Get rid of labels: of food, of other people, of yourself. Judgments are keeping you from reaching your zone of excellence.
5. If you notice yourself comparing yourself to others, take note of how you feel doing that, and be curious about why that thought arose.
6. Practice self acceptance!!!
If you need help, please reach out. I can be reached at my website, phone or by email. Go to www.stephaniekontercounseling.com or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.