Re-Thinking My Image

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I haven’t written about myself in a while.  In all honesty, I haven’t wanted to – which, for me, isn’t usually a good sign.  In this case it’s a mix of both bad and good – I’ve had a fantastic time traveling and enjoying Europe, but at the same time, long-term internal struggles just don’t go away that quickly.

I know this cycle:  talk about things that bother me, actively work on making it better, forget about it after a while, the positive changes slip away but I still convince myself I’m doing well, and then break down.  No, I have not had a breakdown, I think I’m getting better at this.  But I have dug myself into a corner, and it’s time to get out.

There are a million things going through my mind at a given moment.  The biggest one, of course: body image. What prompted me to write about it?  Unfortunately, it was this:

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(Please excuse the angle.) Yes, I know my *one* pair of decent, wear-able jeans got ruined because I put them in the drying and they shrunk and lost all elasticity.  But ill-fitting ripped jeans don’t make you feel good.

I’m not going to lie and say I’m perfectly happy with my body. I’m getting there.  And closer to it than I have been in a while, but there are things still constantly in the back of my mind.

For one, I’m pretty sure I’m back at my heaviest weight – before I started on this whole health journey thing.  (Of course I don’t know for sure, as it’s been months since I stepped on a scale) Granted, much more of that is muscle now, I’m much leaner and fitter than I was then.  It’s like night and day, I couldn’t even run a mile or do a single push up at that time.  I already wrote about my latest feelings when it comes to fitness.  And don’t get me wrong, that still holds true.  But fit does not mean skinny.  And for me, I don’t think it ever will without being incredibly strict. Even at my absolute smallest, when I was not eating enough and over-exercising, I was still on the heavier side of the spectrum.  I’m not built small, and that is that.  I will never be tiny without working my ass off every single day.

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(February of this year.  Not a great photo – I don’t really take many photos of myself, because I don’t really like looking at photos of me.  I’m pretty much the same now, with maybe a little more muscle from more consistent training)

I looked good, but I was fighting my body. I kept at it, because that was what I thought it had to be.  Then, in moments of weakness, I would break down and eat.  Eat like the fat-kid I was supposed to be.  Food was comfort.  Yes, I’m sure I’ve written the story before, but I feel the need to share it again.  Bear with me here.

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(December 2010 – hard to tell, this was my skinniest.  Those leggings don’t fit quite as well anymore)

A large part of my initial weight gain (before attempts to make healthy life changes) was due to food as comfort.  I don’t know when it happened, but before I knew it, I was eating away my emotions and boredom – and I don’t think that ever went away. Which is why I haven’t been able to stay at a consistent weight or body mass since. Yes, I know, bodies change all the time.  This I’m okay with.  But fluctuations of clothes not fitting, then fitting again bother me.

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(clean eats, good portion size.  not too much, not to little)

There is my problem. I do really well for a time – clean eats, great workouts, etc.  Then eventually I reach a point where I feel like I’ve done enough, and eating a little more won’t hurt.  Before I know it I’m eating easily way more than I need to, and all self-control has gone out the window.  I then vow to clean up my act, and thus the cycle begins again.

And nowhere in there am I content.  But I’m on the way there – slowly but surely stepping closer to balance.

No more under-fueling for workouts.  No more over-fueling for recovery.  Eat to train, eat to live. I’m tired of worrying about not eating enough – then going overboard.  And then getting down on myself and hating myself even more for it.

Love and balance.  That is all I want.

Every day I look in the mirror and tell myself I am beautiful.  Do I believe it? Honestly, no.  But I will, someday – and this is a start.

Starting with an impromptu 6k race I’m running tomorrow.

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I’m going to fuel properly – just right.  I’m not going to overdo the carbs, it’s only 6km.  I’m tired of un-doing all my hard work.

But that’s not what this post is about.  It’s about feeling good. It’s about being in a place I can maintain.  About feeling comfortable in my own skin, feeling beautiful. I will feel beautiful.  I will get there.

~Rachel~

I’d love to hear your thoughts on maintaining fitness/balance, and being happy with the result.

Is it do-able, even for those of us who are not naturally built slim?

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17 thoughts on “Re-Thinking My Image

  1. Jamie

    I’m usually a silent reader but i thought I’d finally comment. :) I love this post! I’m sure you will get to a point of balance eventually. I too am NOT built small… Even at my lowest weight when I had an eating disorder, I was still clinging to the “healthy weight range.” But I was so unhealthy and starving myself! I’ve always been really muscular and I’ve found that my happy weight is on the heavy side and always will be unless I follow some extreme diet. But somehow I’e been able to come from eating disorders and hating my body to really being completely confident in myself and body image. In fact I just don’t really care anymore as long as I’m healthy. :-) There is hope!

    Reply
  2. Vitamins for Beauty

    Thanks for sharing your story! I think for fitness it is doing activities that make you happy so for the most part you look forward to it. There will always be down days but for me once I have a routine I workout at around a certain time everyday I manage to do it. When I don’t feel like it I put on my workout clothes and trainers and tell myself just 10 minutes and I usually end up doing my full workout.

    As for being happy with how I look there will always be up and downs but as long as I almost always do my best and keep trying it makes me feel better. But I will always have days when I feel fat or not beautiful its just the way I am but I keep trying.

    Nicole <3
    Vitamins for Beauty recently posted..Beauty ScoopMy Profile

    Reply
  3. Ellie @ healthy belly ellie

    Great post. I really appreciate your honesty. Sometimes it is too easy to get caught up in “pretend perfect” mode – especially in the blog world. I know that alot of girls can relate to this. I have finally come to a place where I feel as though I can truly listen to what my body wants and needs…Emotionally, physically, and food wise. Even if my mind tells me something (as in: you really should work out today) but my body tells me no… I listen to my body.. I have finally been able to relax a little, not worry so much, and just live. Easier said than done, but it takes time. And you will get there! Being healthy is number one- being skinny doesn’t get you an automatic pass to being happy. Great blog- and I will definitely try making those lentil cakes! Sounds yummY!

    Reply
    1. Rachel Post author

      Thanks for stopping by, Ellie! You are so right about being healthy, and I hope to very soon reach the point where I am truly at peace with my body.

      Reply
  4. Kat @ a dash of fairydust

    Wow,you are so courageous to write this post,Rachel. I really admire your honesty,so inspiring!
    Anyhow,I understand it’s tough to accept your body – it just seems so unfair sometimes if you see people who are naturally thin,doesn’t it?
    In the end,it’s necessary to realize though that your looks is NOT as important as your HEALTH. If you’re not naturally built slim,that’s okay. You don’t need to be thin,in fact,I can assure you you’re VERY pretty and look great just the way you are! If I compare the photos above,the most obvious different I can see is that you’re looking terribly unhappy in the second one while you look super likable and warm-hearted in the first one where you’re smiling your beautiful smile. And seriously,I’d rather like to talk to you if seeing you like that. 😉
    Kat @ a dash of fairydust recently posted..[Simply] WIAW #3.My Profile

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  5. Tayla

    “I will feel beautiful. I will get there.” This is what counts the most, that you have hope. And as long as you keep waking up in the morning and tell yourself you are beautiful, you will make peace. Good luck in your race tomorrow! Remember, you are truly gorgeous! <3
    Tayla recently posted..{one day i’ll be happy without you}My Profile

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  6. Faith @ For the Health of It

    Body image definitely changes over time, and I think that’s normal. I’ve had absolute lows, and I’ve had manic highs – lately, I like to think that it wobbles somewhere in the middle…a very realistic middle. I think accepting yourself as a whole helps quite a bit with accepting the visible things. The feeling comfortable in your own skin comes with a accumulation of physical and mental factors…and it’s a beautiful thing…but a evolving process!

    Reply
  7. Catalina @ Cake with Love

    Rachael, I will start by telling you my story (very short), I always used to be slim, I ate healthy but a lot, like really a lot that my father ate less than me, and I never gained a pound, I used to workout but not on a regular basis, finally when I moved to US I gained 20 pounds in 1 month, I was shocked, I didn’t change my eating habits, but the food here is just different, I wanted to lose the weight but I wasn;t used to eat less, I was used to have an entire large pizza to myself and still be skinny, I had to learn to control my postions if I wanted to get back in shape, and here the cycle began I would eat less extremely clean and after that I treated myself to weekend where I could eat everything I want since I did so good during the week, I would gain 2 pounds back during the week and will start Mondays sad that my progress was gone, I switched to a 80% Organic diet, I realized that I don;t have to punish myself and just have everything in moderation, to understand that sometimes I will have good days and sometimes bad days, I have lost all the weight, I am back to my previous fit slim bosy, and today I have a mantra “everything in moderation” and I try not to use extremely intensive workouts as a reason to eat more or carbo load, honestly I have never undestood this, if you want something eat a small piece, it will be fine! You are beautiful and you have to believe it, it will take time to understand what works for you and it will take time to be able to be in FULL control of your bofy and cravings, but every day is a journey and I am sure you will soon come to the finich line as a winner! Just trust yourself and never ever hate yourself for doing or not doing something!
    Catalina @ Cake with Love recently posted..Condensed Milk DonutsMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Rachel Post author

      Wow – thank you so much for sharing your story, Catalina! We have a very similar story, in that I also used to be able to eat more than a grown man and not gain a pound. Then my metabolism caught up with me, and all this craziness started.
      I love your ‘everything in moderation’ approach, and I do often forget that. Thank you for giving me even more reason to believe that very soon I will find my happy medium.

      Reply
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  9. Tessa @ Amazing Asset

    Rachel, somehow I missed this post! I am sorry it took me so long to get to it, but I am glad i finally found it and was able to read it. I really loved your honesty and appreciate it as well. I am tired of trying to be something I am not- a teeny, tiny petite thing… it’s just never going to happen and the sooner I get that the better.
    Accepting who we are is essential and all time is wasted before that happens if you ask me!

    Reply

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