I’m feeling especially honest today, so I’m going to go ahead and do what I do best: say the thing you’re not supposed to say.
Last week, Lindsay wrote about some of her struggles with body image and not wanting to look like a little girl. I can certainly relate to this. When I was injured this past winter and couldn’t run for 6 weeks, I was miserable, and my body image was miserably low. I tend to be incredibly hard on myself as it is, but when it comes to my body, I’m especially harsh. If I’m not living up to the (probably very) unrealistic ideal I’ve set for myself, I feel like a failure. And my self-confidence is basically non-existent.
In Lindsay’s post, she talked about how her mom asked her if she wanted to look like a little girl, i.e., do you want to be skinny and flat-chested and have no curves??? In theory, no. Women are supposed to have curves!
But when I really think about it, a tiny voice in the back of my head looks down at her feet and wrings her hands and says . . . yes. Somewhere along the way, I went from someone who worked out to be fit and healthy and ate when she was hungry to nourish her body to someone who tied her self worth to being thin.
Somehow, I’ve gotten my body confused with my identity. Let me explain what I mean. Rather than my body image being a secondary element to who I am, it somehow shifted into being all-consuming. Every bit of self-worth or self-loathing has become attached to whether or not my thighs touch or my stomach looks bloated or my triceps jiggle. The way I feel about myself has somehow gotten attached to whether or not I’ve worked out, how hard I feel I’ve worked, and how much or how little I’ve eaten. Not an easy thing to admit to myself, but sometimes you have moments in your life where things just get real. This is one of those moments.
Logically, I know that I’m so much more than the size of my jeans, but the negative thoughts are so pervasive that I’m having trouble escaping them. Rather than resetting my body clock with regular, reasonable workouts and healthy, moderate portions, I’ve been comforting myself with unhealthy food and overexercising to try to compensate. It’s a horrible, vicious cycle–one that I desperately need and want to break out of.
I’m not saying this to get sympathy or even to make some pledge that I’m going to immediately turn things around. But I guess I just wanted to put this out there because I don’t think I’m the only one. It seems like there’s so much pressure to accept your body and be healthy and happy and fit and confident and sometimes, no matter how great the rest of your life may seem, you just don’t feel it. These struggles are real, so why not be honest about them?
Now, of course, I’m saying all of this a little tongue in cheek, peppering this post with self-deprecating ecards to lighten it up a little. But really, it’s something I want to fix. I might talk about it again. I might not. But in the meantime, I appreciate my lovely readers who are willing to listen. XO