Body image. I’ve written about it before and I will probably write about it again. It is something that I know many people out there struggle with. It is something that I struggle with daily. If my own struggles and experience can help even one person, then I count that worth it. That being said, if you don’t feel like reading another post about this topic that is totally fine. Check back Wednesday and Friday for more healthy recipes and tips. Otherwise, read on.
I had done it. I had made the decision to get healthier and I had stuck with it this time. Things just clicked and I ate better, found exercise that I loved, and I lost weight. Clothes started to fit better, I felt healthier and had more energy than I had before. It was like a Cinderella story, if Cinderella was overweight and ate junk food and then magically changed. I thought that because all of these things were happening, I would be happy. I would finally feel like I looked like I should. I would be self confident, I wouldn’t talk negatively about my body, and I would finally have a good body image. I was wrong. The magic Cinderella story didn’t happen like I thought it would.
I was shocked to realize that even though I had lost weight, I still had problems with my body image. At the beginning, I had trouble matching the image in the mirror with what I saw in my head. I was still the bigger girl in my mind and I just couldn’t see the new girl who had finally lost the weight. Over time, I was able to finally see what was really there. Through the help and support of friends and family, I realized that I looked different than I thought I did. It also helped that I could wear smaller sizes and do things physically that I couldn’t before, like run a 5k race. I started to feel better about the way I looked, and I was relieved that it felt like my body image issues were starting to get better.
Imagine my surprise now where I find myself struggling again. It’s been about three years since I dealt with those first weight loss body image issues, but those challenges are starting to creep back into my life. This time though it isn’t problems with matching my mirror image to my mental image. I find myself playing the comparison game and I really hate that I’m doing that. I tell others never to compare themselves to anyone else because they are their own unique selves. No one is like you or can ever be like you so you should celebrate your awesome self. And all the while I can say those things to others, I can’t seem to get myself to believe those sentiments.
The thoughts and questions that run through my mind are so hypocritical of what I want others to think. Shouldn’t I have six-pack abs with all the core exercises I do? Why can that person eat more than me and still have muscles? Am I eating too much? Am I eating too little? Am I not eating the right things? Why can’t I do a full push-up without struggling the whole time? Shouldn’t 5 miles feel like a breeze to me by now? And on and on and on…. I feel like that insecure, high school girl, worried that everyone is staring at me and judging me, all over again. Why am I doing this to myself? Why do I have to go through this AGAIN?
Rather than sit here and wallow in my returning body image issues, I’m going to tackle them head on. There are things that I can do to stop the comparing game and start being proud of myself. I need to stop looking at all the Pinterest images and health magazine models with bodies that aren’t attainable to the majority of the population. Nothing good ever comes from trying to compare myself to them and wonder why I can’t look like them. I’m not them, I’m me and that is just fine. I don’t have a six pack, but I can hold a plank for seven minutes and I know that my core is strong. That’s good enough. I can stop worrying about all the things I might not be doing perfectly for my health. I am a human being and I will never be perfect. That is good enough. I won’t compare the way I eat or how much I eat to other people’s diets. My body needs to be nourished in it’s own way and as long as I feel healthy and am getting adequate nutrition, I shouldn’t worry. That is good enough. I should be proud of all that I can do physically. So what if I can’t clean and jerk an 85 pound barbell or run a marathon in 3 hours? I can do a whole heck of a lot. I should be grateful that I have a body that can do so much. That is good enough.
My overall message for this post is that I, and you, are good enough. Yes, it’s tiring and a little frustrating that I still have to deal with body image issues. I wish that I didn’t have to deal with them and that like the weight I lost, they would just go away. But that’s not the reality of the situation. The reality is I will continue to work on my self image and I will continue to try and help others do the same. One day I know that I can get to the place of feeling totally comfortable in my beautiful skin. Until I reach that point, I will continue being positive and working hard. And that is good enough.