Thursday, January 26, 2012

Body Image and Weight

Today I watched a YouTube video that mentioned celebrity sizes.  The video, originally posted on a Facebook page for my running club, said that the size of the typical model is 0, and size 6 is considered over weight.  That  prompted me to do a little google research.  According to a few different websites, the average American woman wears a size 14. 

Growing up, I was the short child in my family.  My brother and sister, both of whom are older than me, are also taller and growing up, were both thinner than me.  I hated the fact that my sister, who rarely did any form of physical activity, was so skinny.  She wore a smaller size than me and it bothered me.

In college I was more or less happy about my body image and size.  Then, a year after college, I became rather obsessed with my scale.  I wanted to lose weight and become a faster runner.  Eventually, I lost close to 20 pounds and with that, got some speed along the way.  Later that year I got a stress fracture and was worried I would become fat from not running.  Although I ended up gaining weight because I was injured, it eventually came off.  But, I continued to struggle with body image for the next few years.

I am in a much better place now, and I have a few things to attribute that to.  As I have written about before, I have a hard time believing in myself and what I am capable of.  However, if someone else tells me something I'll most likely believe it.  I feel like i constantly write this, but joining my running club has been one of the greatest things I have ever done.  It is such an encourage group of runners - slow, fast, short, tall, accountants, teachers.  I feel like anytime I go run with the group I have my confidence built up and I believe in myself more than before. 

After a run recently, we were talking about being fit.  One of the guys in the conversation mentioned that he thought i was running well and very fit.  I have to admit - I agree.

Am I the skinniest person?  Absolutely not.  According to Hollywood, I am overweight because I wear a size 6 or bigger.  Sizes vary based on brands, anyway.  I am also many pounds heavier than the average American woman. 

I weigh more because I have muscles.  Muscles that I have worked hard to get.  Muscles that I maintain by lifting weight a few times a week.  Muscles that are worked 6 days a week when running and biking.  Muscles that have gotten me PRs and across a marathon finish line. 

When I look in the mirror, I see a successful runner who has accomplished more than she ever imagined she would.  I don't see someone overweight, but someone who is fit and strong.  And that I think is far better than being a size 0.

1 comment:

  1. Fit and strong! I agree - WAY more important to me than skinny.

    When I first started running, I felt like the slowest, most out of shape person out there struggling. Joining a running club has helped me see that we come in all shapes and sizes, and that we are ALL out there trying to get it done. Love this post!