An Extract from Learning to Love the Girl in the Mirror by Helena Grace Donald

Girl cover

I don’t think I know a female who hasn’t had some form of anxiety about their appearance at least once in their life. Consequently, it gives me great pleasure to be part of the launch celebrations for Learning to Love the Girl in the Mirror by Helena Grace Donald.

Learning to Love the Girl in the Mirror will be published on 13th April and is available for pre-order here.

Learning to Love the Girl in the Mirror

Girl cover

This book is for every girl who has ever looked in the mirror and criticized her own reflection; for every girl who has ever compared herself negatively to others; for every girl who has ever thought of dieting; and for every girl who is already struggling with negative body image issues and unhealthy eating habits.

Learning to Love the Girl in the Mirror is a “must read” for any teenage girl. It’s packed full of self-empowering and self-loving tools that will leave you feeling Supergirl confident.

In a world where advertising, celebrity culture and social media reign, it’s becoming more and more common for young girls to have some form of negative  body issue or eating disorder. This is not only harmful and dangerous on a personal level, it’s also destructive and disempowering for womanhood as a whole, and it’s got to STOP now!

This is Helena’s brutally honest story of how she overcame the battle with her own body and went from miserable and self-hating to absolutely loving the skin she’s in! Still in her early twenties, Helena completely relates to her fellow young women in the most loving and supportive way. Helena’s mission is to inspire young women that it is possible to love and appreciate your body in a completely healthy way. This book is packed full of the tools that will help any young girl to do exactly that.

An extract from Learning to Love the Girl in the Mirror

Say Goodbye to Little Miss Critical

Do you have a Little Miss Critical in your life? I bet you do. We all do! Does yours just visit from time to time, or has she moved in permanently? Mine used to pop in occasionally in my early teens, but as the pressures of teenage life increased, her visits became more and more frequent until, finally, when I was about 16, she stuck to me like glue and wouldn’t leave. She came everywhere with me.

Every morning she was there, waiting for me at the bathroom mirror:

“You’ve got another disgusting, humongous spot on your chin!”

She would stand right next to me, criticizing my reflection in the bedroom mirror as I got dressed:

“That skirt is waaay too tight! You’ve put on weight again!”

 She was with me at school, comparing me negatively to other girls she thought were slimmer or smarter or more social than I was:

“How come Emily can have a perfect figure and you can’t?”

 And she was there at every mealtime, whispering threats in my ear about the weight I might put on if I ate what was on my plate:

“That pizza has a gazillion calories. If you eat that you’ll be a big fat pig!”

She thought her job was to make me and my life “perfect,” and she tried to do it by pointing out all the ways I fell far short of “perfection.” One of her favourite things to do was to scrutinize my body, looking for flaws. She would squeeze my tummy and pinch any fat she could find, making tears well up in my eyes. When I walked, she would hold an imaginary mirror behind me to make me conscious of the size of my butt, the way my thighs rubbed together, and the cellulite she said was beginning to appear on the backs of my legs. Her sarcastic and hurtful comments echoed in my head, telling me that I was not good enough the way I was and that I would never be successful at what I wanted to do until I was  skinnier.

Because of her, I put more and more pressure on myself to be the perfect size, the perfect student—the perfect everything. I tried weight-loss plans, diets, detoxes, and I even fantasized about having cosmetic surgery to slim my hips and thighs when I would be older. As far as Little Miss Critical was concerned, I would only be good enough when I had a “perfect” body, perfect grades, and a perfect life. The more powerful she became, the unhealthier my obsession with my weight became.

Eventually, I reached a tipping point when I felt like the only way I could cope with her constant criticism and put-downs was either to starve myself or throw up my meals. In the end I did both—often in the same day. Looking back, I can see that I was really struggling to gain some control over my life and my body while simultaneously maintaining my image of having it all together. Some days I would try to see how long I could push myself without eating, then I would feel so hungry and anxious that I would stuff myself with food in an attempt to numb the pain and anxiety I was feeling. I’d do this until my stomach was about to explode—and then I’d emotionally release it all by throwing up.

I hid this from everyone. It was my shameful secret. I used to excuse myself from the family dinner table, run the bathroom taps so that nobody would hear me, throw up whatever I’d eaten, and then return to the table as if nothing had happened. I counted calories throughout the day, and Little Miss Critical always had something to say about everything I ate. Don’t get me started on how harsh she could be if I ate anything that she perceived to be indulgent!

About Helena Grace Donald

Helena Grace Donald is the founder of Girl Unfiltered. Her mission is to inspire girls to love and value themselves so that they feel empowered as they journey into the wonderful world of womanhood. Still in her early twenties, Helena relates easily to teenage girls and truly understands what it feels like to be in their shoes. She grew up in England and currently lives in Los Angeles where she leads a happy and creative life; acting, writing and raising awareness through public speaking.

You can follow Helena on Twitter @Helena_G_Donald and visit her website.

There’s more with these other bloggers too:

Blog Tour Week 1

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