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Body issues

Thursday, December 20, 2012

I have a vivid memory from when I was about 10. My mom and my (deaf) aunt were complaining about their bodies. I'm not sure if I was just trying to get into the conversation, express empathy, or what, but in an "I feel you, sister" moment, I looked at my aunt, grabbed my calf and shook it at her like, "Oh yeah? What about THAT?" My calf wasn't fat, but I thought it was. Because a calf is a rather floppy muscle when not in use, my kid brain thought it was flabby.

I know now that I wasn't fat then. However, I was always self-conscious about my belly. I thought it should have been flat and it was (to me, anyway) too rotund. Probably also didn't help that people tried to make me feel better about it by saying it was just "baby fat."

Even today, I struggle with a skewed vision of my body. When I got down to a size 8, and I felt more confident in my clothes, I obsessed about my perceived flaws. See this picture? I look great, right?

You know what I see? Fat arms. I have ginormous triceps from my strength training, but because my arms don't look like Madonna's they look fat to me. And my arms aren't fat. I KNOW this.

Crazy as it sounds, there's a difference between knowing something and believing it.

I'm aware of this disconnect between my perception and reality, but not exactly sure what to do about it. Maybe blogging about it will help...
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • JENNY160
    MJRiemers is spot on--in high school I thought I was such a cow. My stomach was never flat. My thighs always touched. My breasts were always large. Now, at the very same height and NOT having had any kids, that weight is well below my goal weight (or even my fantasy goal weight). I look back at pictures and see that tall woman with the tiny waist, voluptuous breasts and curvy hips and wonder why the heck I was dateless?! Nowadays, that bod would be considered bodacious and bootylicious. Hindsight.

    As for arms, I am embarrassed to say I was "flexing in the mirror" the other day, and even if I lost all the weight I wanted to lose, my biceps and triceps will never allow me to have slender, graceful arms. These are arms built for life, not looks. But flexing (in private) sure is fun!
    1913 days ago
  • WINNIE1978
    I think a lot of us have that same problem. If you figure out a solution be sure to let us know! emoticon
    1942 days ago
  • SUNSET09
    The media throws so much of the skinny girl pics although, some of them are altered. It seems as if we're never satisfied with the way we look and I too, think back to when I was in high school and although quite thin, wasn't thin enough. I am now, happy with what I have and know that if it is to be, it's up to me. Just like goals, there are changes to be made; eating healthier, exercise and have a great attitude because these will be times to look back on as well. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1942 days ago
    You look beautiful in this picture! Why do we, especially women, always criticize ourselves? I remember back in high school, every girl found fault with themselves and now we'd all like that body back! emoticon

    I found out last fall that my oldest has an eating disorder. She's played competative soccer since she was four. Her thighs and glutes are large, but all muscle. This has changed the way I view weight loss and healthy eating.

    We all need to be kinder to ourselves. Keep remembering that you are healthy and strong. Others see it, now we have to see it in ourselves!
    1950 days ago
    I love Pamazon's comment and it helps ME!

    My husband always wants me to wear those tight, cute SLEEVELESS workout clothes the skinny girls wear at the fitness center, but I look like an overstuffed sausage in them. I think I'll just keep wearing my baggy t-shirts that DO NOT sit on my belly & show of my ginormous triceps that are just FAT and not muscle!

    I think we have to work at having a better body image, like focusing on the improvements that we've made and not the perception of what is left to do that is outside of our control.

    It's nice to see you blogging again, girl!
    1951 days ago
    I think you just have to finally accept what God gave you and be happy with it. I have had this exact same body image struggle. Now being a few lbs over my goal weight, I would die to look like I did a year ago. Now all I can see is the role of fat I am still trying to lose over my belly! If you find a magic pill let me know! Keep the faith sister!
    1951 days ago
    I haven't had much luck with letting go of body image issues either. But I have learned how to dress better to compliment myself. The show "What Not to Wear" really changed my life and clothing. I look back at what I used to wear and cringe. Not only was I heavier, but my clothes accentuated the parts I liked least. Why did I buy that!?!?!

    I even checked out the What Not to Wear book from the library and studied it so I could have a guide to go by in the dressing room. I now know how to make my boobs look better and not overly dominant, I understand that as a tall woman I must stop purchasing certain "looks" and hoping that they will somehow fit me the way I want. By modifying my clothing choices, I could accentuate the parts I was most proud of and de-emphasize the parts that bugged me.

    I know it doesn't answer your direct question, I just figured it might help. Because if you look in the mirror in your outfit and think, "Woo, look at all my hard work" instead of focusing on the part you don't like that the outfit is showing off, then you'll be happier.
    emoticon emoticon
    1951 days ago
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