Tuesday, May 22, 2012

On Body Image Evolution

Happy Tuesday, everyone!  I hope you had a great weekend, and that your week is off to a good start!  My weekend was productive, and good.  Lots of studying, 2 runs, and a fun lunch with family.  So all in all, a great weekend! 

It was nice to end the weekend with a slow, recovery run around one of the local lakes.  The temps were perfect, the sun was shining, and the lake was like glass.  I ran with a friend at a slow, conversational pace, and didn't pay attention to my Garmin for a change, which was a nice feeling.  It was one of those runs where I finished thinking, 'gosh I love running.'

Getting into running has been beneficial for many reasons, but I think one of the unintended and surprising benefits is the fact that I am kinder to myself than I used to be before I took up running.  Before I got into running, I had a pretty crappy body image.  Like many girls in their 20s, I would talk down to myself and focus on my flaws when I looked in the mirror.

Well, then I started running.  And logging lots of miles.  And I went from fixating on my trouble zones and instead was amazed by what my body was able to accomplish out on the running paths.  I let go of that magic weight I had in mind for a goal and instead focused on becoming a stronger, healthier runner.  I threw out my scale because honestly, it had a negative influence on my body image - and I found that it didn't always tell the whole story. 

Despite the improvement in my body image, I still had one hurdle that I had to jump over in terms of body image.  And that hurdle was represented by a pair of fitted LuLu Lemon shorts I had bought the afternoon after my Portland Marathon back in 2010.  I bought those shorts when I was on top of the world and feeling so good about myself.  I usually run in looser fitting Nike shorts, so switching to these fitted shorts was a bit of a stretch for me (no pun intended). 

I bought those shorts that day feeling confident I would get my money's worth and wear them a lot...  Well, nearly 18 months later, I had still not worn those dang shorts.  Last month I decided that it was time to put those shorts to use, and I wore them on a run.

   
Apprehensively wearing the new shorts...

It's definitely an adjustment from the looser fitting shorts, but I really liked them.  I figured it was time to stop caring about what other people might be thinking about me.  Plus, when I think about it logically, I don't really pay attention to what others are wearing while working out - so I am sure no one is paying attention to me either.

So yes, my body image has vastly improved over the years.  I still have some room for improvement, but I am really happy to say that as the years go by, I am kinder and kinder to myself.  I don't know if I will ever be the senior citizen who traipses around naked in the locker room of a gym, but it's a good feeling to walk by a mirror and to feel more drawn to the things I like v. the things I don't. 

How has your body image evolved as you've gotten older?

20 comments:

Kelly (She Wears a Red Sox Cap) said...

Hahahaha, I am more than fine with you not running around the locker room naked as an old woman... I seriously wonder about those people!

Seriously though, you look fabulous in those running shorts and you should have a good body image because you look great :)

abbi said...

I've definitely gotten more confident though I still won't be running in the super short tight booty shorts and a sports bra because I'm still a bit conscious. Yay for breaking out the shorts you bought some time ago!

Amber @ A Little Pink in the Cornfields said...

I've definitely gone through some major ups and downs with body image throughout my lifetime. My weight fluctuates quite a bit and controlling my weight has been a long struggle (that I am still dealing with!). The running, I have to say, has helped quite a bit. It makes me feel amazing physically, and I think that follows through to emotionally as well and just has amazing benefits all around! Although, I have to say, I am terrified to weigh myself, and I don't think I'm going to do it!

imlivinginadream said...

Lisa, I seriously can't tell you how much I love this post. Body image is something SO MANY OF US struggle with & I love seeing how you've overcome those obstacles through your 20s up until now. I really want to find my exercising niche that will make me feel this comfortable about myself. I'm SO hard on myself all the time and I wish I wasn't. I definitely have body image issues like any other girls, but I don't feel UGLY, I'm just extremely self conscious. Like, I'm fairly certain I don't look bad in a bikini for example but I still have a lot of trouble taking off all my layers. I feel like if I just had *something* (like you have running) then I'd begin to be so much less conscious. I think I look funny when I run, so I'm not sure if that would be my thing. I don't know. I need to try things! Haha :)

Anyway, really great post, I love seeing how you've gone through all the EXACT same things I go through & you get through on the other side as a more confident woman for it. Good for you!

PS you are totally rocking those shorts, lady!!

missris said...

My body image has changed a lot since I started running. I LOVE my legs now, and I think about what I eat and how I treat my body in terms of what I'm asking it to do--ie carry me through long runs, grueling workouts, etc. Now when I eat healthy it's not because I want to be skinny, it's because I think "Only premium fuel for my body!"

Leigh said...

First, I am so happy you finally wore the shorts! I used to be against Lululemon, but their clothes are so comfortable and I LOVE their running shorts, so hopefully you do too!

My body image has changed with running and especially with CrossFit. I had never lifted weights before starting and now I can deadlift more than my body weight. Having faith in my body and abilities makes all of the difference!

Raquelita said...

Great post! I have had my share of ups and downs and not surprisingly many of them have paralleled ups and downs with my clothing size/ the number on the scale. At this point, I try to focus on being fit and healthy and not get too upset about the cellulite and love handles.

Carolina John said...

I always go with the square leg swimsuits when I'm' at the swim team practices, and most of the other men there wear the banana-hammock style speedo. I bought a BH speedo a few years ago but have never actually worn it in public thanks to body image issues. I don't know why I thought that was embarrassing. I just couldn't stand it. Finally last week all of my other suits were in the laundry so I had to go speedo and it wasn't that bad. I didn't look out of place but was still self-conscious about it. Soon enough I'll get over that.

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

I can't say I've ever had a negative body image. I am pretty realistic about my body and its shape ... I know what proportions I'm supposed to have (I'll always have "athletic" thighs, even when I'm in the best of shape). Am I feeling good about my body right now? No. But, I'm carrying extra weight that I know I need to lose. The thing about losing it, though, is I refuse to starve myself from living life... so, it's happening at a snail's pace, but that's just fine with me.

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

This is a great post. I think you touched on such an important point, and that is that once you begin to feel good about yourself, you stop worrying about what other people are thinking, or what the supposed norm is, and you do it for YOU. If we could all feel that way, strong and happy about eating good things and exercising, we, as a nation, would be so much happier!

I love those shorts. I am not confident enough to wear those tight shorts or sports bras, but like you said, I never worry about what other people are wearing, so I am not sure why I worry about what I am wearing!

Alli said...

Great post and good for you. And good for you for throwing out your scale. I am so anti-scale because people fixate too much on a particular number rather than how they look and feel.

Those shorts look great on you btw.

As for me, I hate the way I look now as much as I ever did.

Stephany said...

It's pretty awesome to see how happy you are with yourself. I wish I felt the same but I do not. I think true happiness comes from within but also from doing things that are GOOD for your body: exercising and eating good, whole foods. Being lazy & eating junk? You're not going to feel proud of your body that way. I think it all boils down to finding something that works for each of us. Our bodies respond differently and we have to find things that excite and thrill us. Running does that for you, it doesn't for me. :) So I just have to find my THING in exercise and stop making excuses that hinder me from finding that happy body image.

Anyway, wonderful post from you. I hope to be where you are some day!

Amber (Girl with the red hair) said...

YA! Those shorts seriously look great on you to boot (also no pun intended).

Running and yoga have really helped me with my body image. I used to be quite self-conscious, especially in high school, but after losing 20 pounds four years ago now I've felt WAY better about myself. It's taken time but I know I have to let the scale go and just go by how I feel on a day-to-day basis. I absolutely still have "fat" days but I think that's a normal part of being a woman. Overall I feel really good about myself and I'm glad you do too!!

San said...

Can I just say, you look amazing (!) in those shorts!?! I really don't see why you feel self-conscious about wearing them (because I am sure many women would kill to have your body!).

Of course, though, I can relate to the fact that we always look at our flaws. While I am overall very happy with my body (and never really had a really negative body image), I definitely have problem zones that I don't like and often focus on when I dress myself.

Yay for overcoming those negative feelings and rocking the fitted shorts!

Jeanie said...

Bad question -- mine has become so very much worse. But you look fabulous and you deserve to -- you've worked it with GREAT results!

On an unrelated note, I saw Paris Paris on your sidebar. Is it good?

J said...

I still have body image issues - i don't know why but I just do. Some days are more of a struggle than others but I know that I like my body and just need to remind myself of that.

jillconyers said...

Lisa this is such a great post! Yes, I'm happy to say my body image has evolved! I rarely avoid or dread looking in the mirror and like you I'm kinder to myself and more drawn to the positives instead of immediately seeing the negatives. If only it hadn't taken me so long :)

[Fitness, Health and Happiness]

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

My body image only gets better the older that I get.

Marlys said...

Those shorts look great and I think the transformation you described is so healthy! Cheers!

Cherry Blossoms said...

You look fabulous!
And if you are ever looking for some great workout out pants I highly recommend the zaella brand from Nordstrom. I live in my fitted capri pants. They have been great for running as those were the bottoms I wore for my half. I recommended them to Brooke and she also just bought a pair and loves them too.