I think it’s normal for us, as humans living in a world where we’re bombarded with perfect images of others, to find fault with who we are and what we look like.
I’ve struggled with body image issues since, well, probably since I was 5. And I still do today.
So, I talked to my therapist about it the other day, because it was really getting me down and making me feel stressed. It’s something that I’ve talked about many, many times in therapy, but this time the conversation took a different direction than usual.
First, she asked me:
“If you had a friend who expressed to you the same concerns you just expressed to me, what would you say to her?”
I took a second to think, then said:
“I have no clue. That’s why I’m asking you.”
Instead of giving me an answer like, “Well, here are some things you can do to help yourself…” which probably would’ve been advice I’d heard a million times over, she said:
“Okay, can you think of one friend you have right now who is completely confident in her body.”
I thought for another second and said:
“Oh my gosh. No. I can’t think of one friend who hasn’t expressed some form of dislike towards her body.”
**Friends, if you are actually the one in a million who is completely confident in your body, please message me, as I must’ve overlooked you, and for that I apologize. Also, we want to know your secret.**
That woke me up. And then I started thinking through the many, many times I’ve heard from others and myself:
“I feel so bloated.”
“I feel so fat.”
“Well, I’ve gained weight so that’s why my jeans don’t fit.”
“Sorry, I’m quiet. I just don’t feel very confident in how I look right now.”
“I wish I had muscles. You’re fitspo.” (And to that comment, I laughed out loud, because I don’t even know what that really means.)
“I hate my double chin.”
“I used to be so toned.”
“I hate how I look today.”
I mean, the list goes on and on. Then, that evening, my boyfriend who is the most confident and comfortable-with-himself person I know (and who continually inspires me to love who I am for who I am), complained because he had just shaved his facial hair and didn’t like how he looked without it.
“What in the world is happening!?”
My therapist said we’re a culture focused on our defects, which is heartbreaking, because I’ve seen this mentality wreak havoc in my own life over and over.
And if you’re human, I’m sure you know the feeling I’m talking about. The feeling when you look in the mirror and your stomach drops a bit as you notice a bright shining pimple popping up. Or see a roll of fat you didn’t know was there. Or, the worst feeling, when you step on the scale after a long week of dieting, only to be met with a larger number than you saw the week prior.
Stop the madness, people! You know you’re beautiful. You know you’re worth it. Don’t listen to the lies.
So, in light of all this negativity, I’ve started looking at my body differently.
I’ve started looking at my body as a gift. I was given this body to do good for God and for others. Focusing on how I look, and beating myself up when I don’t meet the expectations I have in my head, isn’t conducive to thoroughly enjoying this gift of life that has been given to me.
That’s easier said than done, yes. I know that.
And when running doesn’t help break the negative mental cycle, what do you turn to?
Yup, just like a little kid. Take yourself back to those innocent days when running through the grass was the most exhilarating experience. Or when you’d sing your favorite song and not care about what others think. Or dress up in crazy costumes and play characters who aren’t you (let’s be honest, we all still do this on 10/31 every year).
Create. Dream. Be.
And appreciate yourself for all that you are. NOT what you look like.
That’s what I’m practicing this week. What about you?
Half Marathon Training
I’m back at it, y’all. Running, that is. And I’m starting to train for a half marathon on April 8th here in Charlotte.
Here’s what I did this week (following my Running Myself to 13.1 plan… for the most part. Week #2):
Monday: 3 miles
Tuesday: Switched it up and did 3 miles during ARC Running, instead of strength training
Wednesday: Strength class at the YMCA
Thursday: REST… and beer cheese at Heist Brewery
Friday: 45 min cycling class at the YMCA
Saturday: 5ish miles… my Strava app stopped at .3 and I didn’t notice till about 2 miles in
Today (Sunday) I ran 4 miles during the Super Bowl 4 miler. So much fun!