Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Battle Won in My War for Better Self Image

When I was waiting for the light to turn green at the crosswalk during my run this morning, I looked down at my feet and, for the first time in a long time, had this thought...


... instead of any string of thoughts with the words "thick" or "trunks." Even yesterday, when I looked at myself in the mirror, I didn't completely hate my reflection.

My body measurements yesterday morning were 121 lbs, 26% body fat, and 35% muscle content. This leaves me with a BMI of about 22. According to all the charts for both BMI and body fat, this puts me on the lighter side of a healthy weight.
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And yet, somehow, it's still not enough. I have stagnated in my weight loss with about five pounds left to go. I don't feel like I'm eating as healthy as I could be anymore. I'm still nitpicking at how much I still have to suck in my tummy to see myself as I want to see myself, at how much thinner my legs could be, at how much more toned my body should be for being as athletic as I am.

Changing the way you see yourself doesn't happen overnight.

I could go back to counting my calories, but I know I'm getting what my body needs because I still keep a food log and most of the time, I'm eating a good amount of fruits, vegetables, and other real food. (But I still enjoy some cake and cookies every once in a while, because, come on, why not?)

I could exercise more, but I'm working out twice a day for at least thirty minutes at a time, and none of them are on auto-pilot anymore. (And the only reason why I work out twice a day instead of just once is because I enjoy exercising, not because I feel like I have to. And I don't feel guilty when I take rest days, either!)

There are a lot of things I could do, but the more I read about diet and exercise and tips on how to break out of weight loss stagnation, the more I find that I'm doing everything right.

I'm not fat. I know this. All the numbers tell me this. Looking at pictures of women who are the same height and weight as me also proves it.

More importantly, I am healthy. I'm not winded going up and down stairs or hills (unless I'm running them, in which case, that's the point). I get more vegetables in my diet than most Americans. When I eat snacks, more often than not, it's strawberries or grapes or some other fruit-based treat that is homemade and real. I regularly exercise, usually about 4-5 times a week.

When I bought my full-body length mirror, I chose the cheapest one not realizing that it was for college students. It came with a marker to write on the mirror with. So, I left an Operation Beautiful note for myself:

The body you are looking at has run 3 half marathons. This is the body that can run a marathon.

And it will run a marathon come October.

I still have a long way to go before I am comfortable in my own skin and quit nitpicking at my own reflection, but considering where I started, I'm making great progress.

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