Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Looking in the Mirror

Body image is something that is constantly surrounding people. Media plays a big role in this, focusing on celebrities who have gained or lost weight or the newest treatment in which we should all partake. Body image is developed at a young age. I can remember being young and comparing myself to others. I was always taller, but was I bigger? fatter? I come from a pretty skinny family. Growing up I was shortest, fattest kid among my siblings. However, people usually told me I was skinny. I think height is deceptive that way.

As I got more into running in college and post-college, I lost a few pounds. (fewer pounds = faster miles in my mind) I lift weights and have been doing a lot of cross training so I know that even though I lost fat, I also gained muscle, but still ended up losing weight. After everything I've read, this seems like an unusual situation. I had to go down a size or two in pants, and buy smaller shirts than before, which is great, but I have a different issue.

Even if people tell me I look skinny, or thin, or whatever, I rarely feel that way. When I look in the mirror I don't see a fit person staring back; rather, I see a girl with a gut that should work on her abs and try to tone her gut. It is like one of those pictures where there is a stick person looking in the mirror but the image reflected is a fat girl. Most days, that is how I feel. I think I am having these feelings even more so now because the amount of cookies I consumed over Christmas. Its like they have decided to permanently glue themselves to the inside of my stomach for the time being, instead of being properly digested and lost for good.

I know this is not a healthy way to view myself, and I fight daily with myself to try to avoid these comments from trying to come into my head in the first spot. I should be happy with the body I have, no matter what shape it is. After all, I am in pretty good shape, so my body shape must be somewhat okay. It is just not where I want it to be, which is my perfectionist personality coming through. The same is true for the scale. A number should not determine my happiness, but I'm not going to lie - if my weight increases then I get frustrated. I like to be below a certain number, although it does not always happen. For example, this morning I woke up and saw a number on the scale that did not please me. When I see a displeasing number my body image in the mirror looks about five hundred times worse as well. It was just bad all around, but I tried to remember my run from earlier in the week to make things better. It helped a little, but was not a cure-all.

Hopefully I can get out of this mindset and start to see myself as healthy instead of fat. I do know that a change like this takes a lot of time and patience on my part. I want to change, but it always hard to start.

1 comment:

  1. I completely empathize with you! I think as females, we are particularly critical of ourselves, whether it is from friends and family have made it a focal point, or from our generation/media having brainwashed us to think that we have to look a certain way in order to attract attention and be lovable. It's sad, and most of use realize we shouldn't feel or think that way of ourselves, yet almost all of us do it. I don't know if it something that you can ever truly get rid of, but like you said it is something you can try to fight. As a fellow reader (and friend) who struggles with body image daily, all I can say is always focus on the positives, whether it is something you do like about your body, your personality, or something you have achieved. From personal experience, if you turn your focus on these positive reinforcements, you won't necessarily forget about the negatives, but you think about them considerably less. It may not be the permanent solution you prefer, but it could help. :)

    p.s. As someone who knows you personally, if you need suggestions for positive things about you to focus on, I have plenty! Love ya girl!