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Tess Holliday opens up about dealing with body dysmorphia: 'It causes me to spiral a bit'

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Tess Holliday has opened up about dealing with body dysmorphia and the anxiety she feels when looking through old photos.

Over the weekend, the plus-size model shared a series of photos of herself doing yoga alongside memes displaying empowering messages, noting that she was "working out and trying to stay present in my body without self-doubt or self-judgment."

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 26: Tess Holliday attends the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards at Staples Center on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
Tess Holliday is opening up about living with body dysmorphia, and how she manages to overcome the darker days. (Photo by David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

Despite being in her "happy place" — a yoga studio — Holliday admitted that she has been struggling lately.

"My body dysmorphia has been really trying me lately [and] when photos from previous years pop up while I’m scrolling through my phone, it causes me to spiral a bit," she wrote. "Then I have to check myself & ask: ‘Why are you really sad?’ because I like how I looked there — but I was also in the throws of my most disordered eating, in an abusive relationship and so deeply unhappy.”

“Now,” she continued, “my body is different but my heart is fuller. I smile a lot more these days, [and] I know y’all have noticed how much happier I am too. It takes work to look at old photos of a body I miss (it’s okay to grieve stages of your body) [and] see instead how unhappy I was back then instead of glamorizing those moments that were far from perfect.”

Holliday went on to say that in the photos she takes today, “my body doesn’t always look or feel like ME, but the joy? The self-love for WHO I am, not how I look? That’s real.”

“This is why I say that our sizes and weights don’t affect our worth, because bodies evolve, and moments fly by us so quickly,” she concluded. “And I don’t want to waste a minute of my beautiful life because I’m worried about a new stretch mark. #EffYourBeautyStandards

The post received a swarm of positive affirmations, including from singer-songwriter Elle King, who wrote, “Love you Tess. Thank you for reminding me important things!”

“That last part! Sending all my love,” added fashion insider Chrissy Rutherford.

“You aren’t alone,” chimed in Kimberley Gordon, founder of the luxury clothing line Selkie. “I think all women romanticize their younger photos as if you were a better person in them. But this very photo, this exact moment, too will become an old photo to romanticize. We must not exist in a perpetual Russian doll state of looking back. We must love the doll today because she is the only one existing, and remember that we will always look back with feelings like this until we make conscious efforts to stop.”

“Ever since I discovered you on TikTok I have been in awe of your beauty!” wrote a fan.

“This is so powerful,” another commenter wrote. “As a disabled person with a progressive disease, it's hard to get past what I used to be able to do. I get so mad at my body for not being able to to do things I used to be able to do. Thank you for reminding me that I can still be grateful for my body as it is. You are truly a treasure. Never stop being authentically you.”

Holliday is no stranger to using her platform to share uplifting messages of body positivity. In October, she used her social media following to discuss the erasure of fat bodies from history — while also embracing her own.

In a series of photos showcasing a black bikini, she wrote, “Fat bodies have always existed, they’ve just tried to erase us from history. We’ve always been sensual, beautiful, strong [and] capable. I don’t post photos like this to be like, ‘look how hot I am (but also plz look away).' I post pics like this because I refuse to let them write us out of the story.”

One month prior, in September, Holliday criticized the media for sharing photos of her eating while at Disneyland.

"When the media shares photos of me through the lens of their fat-phobic assumptions, they tell everyone who looks like me that they are worthless," she wrote at the time. "When they create a breeding ground for body-shaming comments, they create a swamp where hatred of others and of ourselves can grow. It’s just not productive — if we want to live in a better, kinder world, we need to reject this kind of harmful behavior.

“To my community of fat folks/those that struggle with your body image: y’all are seen, valued and appreciated just as you are RIGHT NOW,” she continued. “We live joyful, active and fulfilling lives ... just like everyone else. No matter who you are or what you look like, no matter what you can do with your body or how you choose to dress, y’all are worthy of love. Don’t let morons ... tell you otherwise.”

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