Tuesday, April 5, 2011

On My Body Image

I am 5'1" and currently weigh about 125 pounds. And I have severe body image issues.

It's always been hard for me to love my body. I remember in fourth or fifth grade, one of the boys in my choir class emotionally bullied me for being fat, and my mother has always teased me for having "jiggly legs." I think this is where everything started for me. As time went on into middle school, high school, and then college, more and more I found myself nitpicking at everything little thing I found wrong about my body. Honestly, the only thing I'd ever been proud of on my body was my hair, and I found cause to complain even about that.

And then, my second to last year of college, I started running. I started eating healthier. And suddenly, all my body image issues went away. At the time, I thought it was because I could tell that my body was reaching an ideal. My legs were less tree trunks and more runner's legs. I had a waist. When I grabbed my belly fat, it was no longer a disgusting amount of thick. I loved my body, and I loved myself. I weighed 130 pounds during this.

Then my last year of college started, and I couldn't run nearly as much. My eating habits deteriorated again, and I gained 6 pounds. I looked in the mirror and saw tree trunks and a ghost of an hourglass figure. I grabbed my belly fat and wanted to cry at how thick it was. I felt fat, and useless, and felt that I'd make the world a better place if I wasn't in it.

Once I got my current job and found myself surrounded by healthy people who constantly went to the gym and constantly paid attention to what they were putting into their bodies, I found myself inspired to start running again, to the point where I signed up for a marathon. And with that, I found myself no longer depressed, though I'm still hating my body. At least now, I'm doing something about it.

I still nitpick at myself when I look in the mirror. I still hate on my belly fat and my tree trunk legs. I don't feel like I have an appropriate body for a bikini, not that it matters because I live in a landlocked state, which sadly I'm relieved about. Running is doing little for me at this point.

What I need to do now, I realize, is not go back on the Slim Fast diet. Yes, I lost eleven pounds over the past 3-4 months. That's amazing. Yes, I want to lose at least another five pounds. Yes, I'd be ecstatic if I could pull off another ten pounds. But I can't be focused on that anymore.

While I'm not running the Colfax Marathon in May anymore (injury and illness cut into the most pivotal part of my training, but I'm still doing the half marathon), I'm planning to run the Denver Rock and Roll Marathon in October. I am training for a marathon. I can easily run three miles and feel like I've barely worked out at all. My "junk food" consists of clementines, pepper jack cheese cubes, and Greek yogurt. I drink water (and tea) exclusively; there is no soda in my diet. Sure, I'll enjoy the occasional pastry, and I'll pig out on fast food once a month, but dammit, I'm allowed that.

Operation Beautiful's tag line is: "Change the Way You See--Not the Way You Look." The one time in my life I had a good body image, I don't think the way I looked really changed; I just saw myself in a more positive light. I think it's time for me to get back to that. I need to stop changing the way I look and start changing the way I see myself in the mirror.

Things about my body I like:
1. My hair. My hair is thick and plentiful, black and full. My hair is gorgerous.
2. My face. I am half-Japanese and my face shows it, even if my body doesn't. I am a biracial beauty.
3. My arms. I've never had a complaint about my arms. I look at them, and I see skinny.
4. My breasts. They are perky and cute, dammit. Viva la B-cups!
5. My waistline. It's there. I have one. I never used to be able to say that.
6. My birthmark. I have a huge one on my belly, and it gives my body character.
7. My legs. When I run on the treadmill at the gym, I look in the mirror, and I see muscles with each step. My legs are strong. And they can fit in sexy calf-high boots. And they look good in leggings.
8. My feet. It's strange, but I always thought I had cute feet.

This is my blog to help me with my body image and self-esteem issues. I will post something every day that boosts my confidence either physically, mentally, or emotionally.

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