I do my thinking when I’m running. A lot of thinking. Siri gets quite the workout because I’ve discovered I can’t run and write. And if I don’t write it down right away, it’ll be gone.
One of my BFOs (blinding flash of the obvious) was that I didn’t care how I looked while I was running.
Here it is:
The One Step Solution for Getting Over Your Body Image Issues
1. Take up a fitness activity that requires new clothing.
Here’s the thing, when you start running/playing tennis/soccer/swimming you think, “I’ll just use whatever it is I have in the closet. These old sweatpants will work. I don’t need a new bra, this one will work. And here’s that old ratty t-shirt/swimsuit. Ok! Let’s go!”
That will work. It will!
For a bit. Until you get semi-serious about your new fitness activity.
Then you’ll realize it’d be nice to have some pants that you didn’t have to unpick from your crotch every 10 steps. And a shirt that didn’t rub against your collarbone and cause a rash. And perhaps a real sports bra that held your boobs in place so they don’t slap you in the face (that might be a bit extreme, but sometimes…) Or maybe a swimsuit that doesn’t have tiny holes in the butt (from sliding along the concrete deck for so many years).
You decide to invest some money in your new activity. And you should. Having the right clothes for your activity is huge. You wouldn’t try to run a marathon in flip flops, right?
You take yourself to the sports store. You pick out a pair of capri pants, a bra and a few shirts. They are all in colors you like. “I’m going to look so stylish!” you think.
In the changing room you realize something very important – Your body doesn’t look ANYTHING like those bodies in the ads. You’ve got rolls of fat in places you didn’t realize you had rolls of fat. And is that how my boobs are supposed to look? You must have the wrong size.
You go back to the racks and pick out the right size. Except that they don’t have those awesome colors in your size. All they have is puke green pants and an awful neon yellow shirt. And some sort of electric blue bra. *sigh*
You try these on and they fit. Except you still don’t look like the bodies in the ads. You’ve still got rolls of fat in places that you didn’t notice before. Sports clothing is supposed to be rather skin tight. Not restraining-oh-my-gosh-i-can’t-breathe tight, but you don’t want stuff flapping around. And if it fits right, it’ll hold all those loose things that flap around in one place. And, unfortunately, highlight all the not-so-tight areas of your beautiful body.
You stand in front of the mirror. You look like the vomit from someone’s bad acid trip. You run in place in the changing room. It feels GOOD. Really good. You carefully open the door and do a sprint around the store, just to make sure they fit well. They do. You buy them. You keep the receipt, just in case.
The next day you put on your new clothes and lace up your shoes and head out. If you’re like me, you’ve got a belt with holders for your water bottles.
That’s when you realize that the belt really helps the pants to accentuate your fat rolls. So much so that it looks like you’ve got 3 rolls of fat, somehow.
(Here’s the thing, my stomach skin and fat is really really pliable right now. So before you suggest that I’m wearing my belt too tight, I’m not. There is no firmness in my stomach anymore. I’ve got to cinch it down (it’s not painful) to hold it in place.)
So you scrunch it down to be around your hips. But then your pants roll down. And that’s uncomfortable. So you move it back up to about 3 inches above your bellybutton. It might look silly, but it’s comfortable. And everything stays in place.
And there’s the lesson:
It doesn’t matter how silly you look, if it’s comfortable, you’re going to wear it.
It doesn’t matter if your hips look huge. It doesn’t matter if your stomach’s fat rolls are really highlighted. If it makes you able to get active and be comfortable, you’re going to do it.
I spend about 20 minutes of every gym session staring at myself in the mirror (working the dumbbells; form is important!).
I have to look at how ridiculous and ugly I think I look for 20 solid minutes.
I realized I could make a choice.
I could choose to look at my ugly stomach and its fat rolls or I could choose to look at my super sexy arms doing their best to lift those heavy weights.
Guess where I look.
Where are you going to choose to look?
Photo courtesy Missy Schmidt/Flickr