Body Image

I had this weird moment at work this week..the kind of weird moment that happens kinda fast and you don’t really think about it until after. Then it gets all deep and shit.

I was working on a client who’s a runner and we were discussing “best temperatures to run in” and he was a 12-15C guy and I said that I like to run in the warmer weather. I love running in the heat. He said “well yes, because you are thin”. I laughed. Like, giggled out loud for about 5 minutes. I replied with “well I’ve been called a lot of things in my life but never that” and it’s true. That’s really the first time anyone has ever said “thin” as a way to describe me. Now, let’s be clear, I would describe myself as fit, athletic..but not thin. Then it got me I? I mean he wasn’t trying to be rude and he wasn’t commenting on my body like in a weird inappropriate was in context. However..

There was a time (pictured below, as an example of one of many many times in my life) where THAT comment would have made me super happy. Dancing in the hallways kind of happy. Go out and celebrate (likely with too much beer) kind of happy. But now, it’s just a word and it didn’t have that kind of impact. It IS interesting to see how other’s perceive us though, right?

I suppose when I look in the mirror I see what I assume everyone sees. However, when I THINK about what I look like, what shape my body is or isn’t, I still see myself 15 years ago. Before babies. I don’t know why that is..but I’m interested to dig a little deeper.

I’ve had a major shift in body composition in the last 4 years and my body continues to change and morph depending on what kind of training I’m doing..but it wasn’t drastic and it wasn’t fast. The assumption is that when we do it right, (slow, controlled, maintainable), that our mind changes with it. That’s the entire freaking point of doing it slow and in a sustainable way. And in many, many ways my mind has come along for the ride..except in this one area.

Don’t get me wrong..I’m not trying to slag myself here or start a “omg I’m so fat” pity party. Not at all. I’m healthy..that’s the important thing. It’s just very interesting that my self perception hasn’t changed. I still see girls on the street and think “ya, that’s about what I look like” and the reality is…it’s not at all. This isn’t me falling into the comparison trap’s just a reference point I suppose. *now I’ll stop explaining myself at every turn*

The way we perceive ourselves is important..and there is a lot of girl-on-girl bashing when it comes to this topic. If you have too much confidence, you are called vain. If you don’t have enough, it’s low self esteem. What is the just-right-amount? Where are we allowed to sit with how we feel? Sometimes it’s as though if you aren’t actively participating in self-bashery then you must be too proud, too ‘high on yourself’ but then we aren’t allowed to be self-shaming either. I suppose I’m digressing now..

It’s okay to be happy where you are right now AND still want to work on yourself. These two things aren’t mutually exclusive. I am personally happy with where I am and still I want to explore what I’m capable of. And quite frankly, I don’t know how to get my brain to recalibrate with where I am physically now. It didn’t have a problem recalibrating other drastically changed areas of my life (lol) but this seems to be stuck circa 2004. I will continue to work on this, pay attention to old thoughts and patterns, and learn from them.

Always a work in progress…in all areas. Progress…not perfection is the goal. This, I believe, is all part of becoming self aware. Being aware of the choices we make, the productive and self destructive habits we partake in, the nasty self talk, the positive changes we make (big or small) and the simple act of growing, aging, becoming wiser. What an incredible gift it is to age.


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