Body Dysmorphic Disorder isn't Just "Feeling Fat"

People can look at themselves in the mirror and see an ugly, skinny skeleton when in reality they are muscular and buff. Then they would proceed to lift weights in self-hatred.

Someone could see a massive fat blob in the mirror when in reality, they are really hot, or really skinny, or really..not fat.

BDD is different for everyone.

1. Obsession

"Preoccupation" doesn't cut it. You're anxious about your appearance at all times. When getting changed, when walking down the street, when looking at photos, when seeing an attractive person, whenever someone is looking your way, and whenever and surface with reflection catches your eye. Mirrors, windows, metal, water, anything. Obsessive thoughts invade your mind at any given opportunity. Concentration is on a task for about two minutes before thoughts stray back to listing all the reasons why you should loathe yourself.

2. Delusions

The nature of BDD is delusional itself, meaning it’s difficult to separate reality from the falsehoods your brain makes you believe.

The reflection one sees in the mirror is different from what other people see.

The people you notice in public who stare and laugh at you actually are not.

3. Individual Characteristics

BDD causes one to obsess over specific body parts. For example, a bodybuilder with BDD could constantly stare at his arms and think 'oh god, they are so fucking skinny. Where is the muscle I work so hard for?? I need to lift heavier weights."

The thoughts about his biceps could manifest his brain all day, every day.

4. Extreme Desire to Change Appearance

Whether it's by working out, starving, eating, cosmetic surgery, or makeup, someone with BDD will have the incessant desire to change their 'flaws.'

The thought of "self-correction" is greatly appealing, but the problems that actually need fixing reside in a place much deeper than love handles and ears that stick out.

5. Depression

BDD is not vanity. It is quite the opposite. And it leads to depression, anxiety, and eating disorders in many cases.

The constant worrying about your appearance and hatred for yourself is clearly not helping one's mental stability. Being petrified if your thighs touch or if you're slightly bloated every single day, all day, is the building block for more serious mental illnesses.

Luckily, society is becoming more open to mental illness, despite the few who aren't, and I hope that those suffering from BDD receive help.

michellebrown48 is a GirlsAskGuys Editor
Who are Editors?

Most Helpful Guy

  • Thats true and its fact you can't change, im 16y/o lets say bodybuilder and im trying to get bigger by eating a lot, even if im at least 5days in week in gym i find my self so ugly&fat when i see guys on juice its just big down for my body , and can't change that fact i will always think how i look bad even if my parents ask me to put shirt of and show to family my muscles while we are in video call haha
    I think there is no way to change your thinking, i was trying to not care about it but still i have very wide lats&back and just like little fat at stomach ( abs are visible), its not even fat its totally normal and i can't look at my self and say its normal when my mind think its not even if it is.


Most Helpful Girl

  • Definitely true. It's rough. Any mental disorder, illness or disturbance is terrible. It's something very hard to control and it takes over your life at one point of another if you let it. The strong ones - that have a lot to live for - will get out of it with the help of their loved ones. (Hopefully even those who are alone in it can find strength to help themselves...)

    Very nice article!


Join the discussion

What Guys Said 7

  • I don't believe in mental illness because the term 'illness' suggests it's something unusual. Everyone has a mental illness to a certain degree, what used to be considered normal is now made into something weird and strange by people who are only interested in taking your money for 'treatment'.

    Body Dysmorphic Disorder? I'd struggle to find anyone who didn't have a mild form of that. Almost everyone has insecurities with regards to their body and would like to change some things, so how do we measure when it becomes a 'disorder' exactly? I'd say we shouldn't, we should address the root causes of the issues that effect EVERYONE.

    • When you're overweight but you stare at the mirror and cannot see nothing but a skinny person, trust me, that is already an illness. Few people reach that level.

    • Show All
    • @Jenima just let it go. nothing he says adds up and he's struggling to refute us, make new arguments, or confirm his own

    • @michellebrown48 You're right.

  • Let me just say this... and I've said it a few times before.

    There are two solutions to BDD: either accept who you are or change who you are. There is no in between.

    I know someone who went underwent counseling about a certain procedure being done and what not. Therapy couldn't help her. She underwent the surgery and now, 20 years later and 2 kids later she hasn't looked back and does not regret it one iota.

    I'm not advocating surgery, and I used to be against it in all cases except for accidents and deformities but seeing how it changed her life made me rethink (not that I would have anything done on myself) surgery and how people use it to empower themselves.

    Yes, one should always accept themselves first if it is just a simple cosmetic "flaw", but I know we only live once.

    Besides, most dental work is not needed and tattoos permanently alter our appearance as well. As long as they are willing to feel better about themselves and don't harm anyone else, I think people can do whatever they want to feel better.

  • I hear what you're saying but are you next going to tell us the Pope is a Catholic? Gregg Valentino is a great example of body dysmorphia as he always thought he was too skinny despite looking in really good shape before he took steroids among other things.
    Perhaps I'm naive but I thought BDD was well known not to be limited to feeling fat? The term dysmorphia alone should imply that it's a failure to see your true form.

  • Great Take! I think you really hit all the nails in the head regarding BDD.
    I used to suffer from BDD, I used to think I was too skinny
    No matter how muscular I got, and how much weight I put on.

    This is much better than the slut take you wrote.

  • Interesting myTake

  • great take

  • Frivolous anorexic.
    Profile pics are me. I don't sext, don't ask.
    I often write myTakes on things I don't actually believe in just to argue with people. Now you know.

    ^^^^^^Keep in mind people that this is directly from the mytake writers profile.

    she's a troll

    • I hope you're right! I've been suffering from this for years and everyones telling me that surgery will make it worse but I don't believe them. I feel like, if I could just look the way I want to, then I won't have to want anymore. I feel like in the future, it will be so easy to look how you want and making people feel bad for knowing they didn't win the genetic lottery will be a thing of the past.

    • Show All
    • yes, of course it does. you basically say you're on here to argue, that means troll

    • think whatever you wanna think

What Girls Said 4

  • well yeah thats capitalism. people are reduced to commodities. of course of image is going to be adversely affected. but its not as if its an innate flaw of a persons individual brain coming from their organic matter. under capitalism you're constantly shifting from treating yourself as an object to treating others that way, unless you're consciously reject doing that. but you can't really reject something just by saying i reject it. i dont think thats powerful enough. youd have to actively fight against it or have some aim that takes precedence over personal measurement. so most people are stuck hating themselves or others. trying to gain power or rob someone else of theirs. unless you have a non narcissistic.

  • I deeply believe there's a reverse form of BDD where overweight people might see themselves skinnier than they actually are. I've done intensive research on this matter and sadly couldn't come up with anything, but i'm still convinced it exists because it happened to me. All my life i've struggled with weight, since first grade, when bullies would call me fat even when i was not, but i still believed it and over the years i took no care of my body whatsoever. Over the years i'd stress over my hideous legs and my fat arms, let myself go even more, then go back over old pictures and realize i wasn't even fat to begin with! So regular BDD. Until two years ago when, somehow, i started to slim down a bit. I let it get to my head and spent the following year thinking i was finally on a nice place. Then last summer, as i went to visit a friend who i hadn't seen in a while, i suddenly realized i was BIG. In fact, the heaviest i've been in my life. I wondered how could i let this happen? Why have i been fooling myself into believing my body looks one way when it doesn't?

    Needless to say, i joined the gym as soon as i got back home. Four months after results are starting to show, yet i refuse to acknowledge them myself as i'm too scared to revert to this weird BDD that makes me believe i'm skinnier than i actually am. Today my trainer commented on my apparent "rapid" weight loss and i felt a little relieved the mirror wasn't lying this time.

  • omg! this was incredibly helpful!! My entire elementary/highschool years, I was completely delusional, not just about my body but in general, I always saw things that weren't actually real. I finally snapped out of it only a few months ago and it genuinely feels like I'm in living an entirely different life, the biggest relief i've ever felt. This delusion shit had my entire life in disorder, I kept thinking it was depression or something and after YEARS i never really knew how to explain what I felt and no one understood me!! i recently opened up to my parents and a close friend for the first time and I could tell they had no idea what I was talking about... this actually really helped thank you!

  • Good one