Note: Today’s post discusses body image. If this isn’t what you feel like reading today, no hard feelings! See you tomorrow 🙂
A few weeks ago I had a crazy yet enlightening realization. I was getting dressed in my real clothes which involved my favorite pair of black high boots. As I was zipping the boots up, I noticed they were taking some extra time to pull up over my calves.
I laughed. Ha, look at me with the calf muscles! They are making my boots tight! Maybe by next winter these very boots won’t even zip up at all!
I literally just laughed, smiled….and moved on.
And then I realized — If it were my jeans or black pants being pulled up and taking too long to get over my thighs, feeling snug up top or heaven for bid, not getting up at all, there’s a chance I would have started to freak with thoughts that would look something like this:
What did I do? What did I not do?
Did I gain weight? Am I eating too much?
Is it PMS? Am I bloated?
Am I not running enough? Am I running too much?
What happened? How did this happen?
Is it Pure Barre? Am I building too much leg muscle? Am I not targeting my thighs the right way with my workouts?
Do you see what I am saying? My calves do not phase me but higher up in the leg has the potential to send me into a frenzy.
If I need a larger size in shirts, that’s cool. I need room to move my arms and like to be comfortable.
Need the next size in shoes? Sure thing, bring them out. No big deal.
But jeans? Because the thigh area isn’t fitting right? Cue freak out, call my mother.
I am not a fool, I absolutely know I am thin. And I also know that if I needed a bigger size in my jeans, I would still be a healthy size for my body.
However, I think that the brainwashing effect of living in a society that praises weight loss and small sizes combined with knowing I was once chubby and that chub was in my thighs still has the potential to play an initial role in my thought process if I allow it.
I try to replace the thought process with something like this:
You are insane, you know that? You look awesome and you feel awesome, so stop it.
Like hello, you are a runner. Those legs and muscles continue to carry you across finish lines, faster and faster.
You love Pure Barre. It is a wonderful cross-training workout that has absolutely changed your shape for the better.
You couldn’t eat less even if you wanted to! What would you do, genius, what would you even do? Skip an apple? Not eat sweet potatoes? Start measuring out your servings of vegetables instead just eating the amount that you actually want? Nonsense.
And, eating any less than you do right now would wreak havoc on your body and you know that! You would lose your period, slow your metabolism (and then gain weight for real rather than the fake weight you are imagining right now) and increase your risk of injury.
You realize you are able to run injury free right? I do not bring this up as to not jinx myself but I increase mileage and run 6 days a week for years without issue. I continually thank my body (and how I fuel it) for this.
And heck no, you will never give up dessert. You love dessert and also know that those occasional favorite treats are not what’s going to do you in but giving them up, most certainly will destroy your soul.
I receive so many emails from readers each week looking to me for guidance regarding their own body image struggles and for answers to their disordered eating recovery questions that I think it’s important for me to share my own thoughts and experiences. Realizing we all have the potential to experience these moments about our bodies can help us to see that our initial thought processes aren’t any different from the next girl.
The trick (and probably the most difficult part) is not only realizing that these types of thoughts will pop up from time to time but how important it is to take those body image thoughts and learn how to put them into perspective in order to keep a healthy mindset.
As fitness enthusiasts, I do believe we are most in tuned with our bodies and more likely to notice the little changes that may or may not occur in our muscles and structure.
But see, we are actually the girls who have the wiggle room. The room to eat more because we are always exercising, to skip a workout because we are so routine that hey, it’s okay to rest today! and the room to bounce between sizes because, more than likely, we changed sizes because our shapes changed for the better from our workouts, not because we were inactive and gained weight. Let’s remember this, okay?
Post of Interest:
Finding Balance Part One – How many calories do you really need?
Finding Balance Part Two – How what and why should we eat for our workouts?
Finding Balance/NEDA Week – Female Athlete Triad chat
Do You Really Need To Lose 5 Pounds? – Probably not!body image chat #girltalk #bodyimage #disorderedeating #running #coldstone #fitfluential Click To Tweet
Has running changed your calf muscles and do you notice them in your boots?
How do you handle the thoughts that pop up when you think your clothes don’t fit right?