Body image: we’ve all got one.


I’m a woman and it seems as though all, or most, women have the same type of body insecurities that I do. I’m sure there are men that participate in this behavior. I have yet to meet one. My husband walks around freely, completely embracing what nature gave him, if he feels bad about one body part, I would never know. It’s a characteristic I envy and one I wish I could embrace but it seems no matter how hard most of us work, we still find the flaws. Why is that?

Let’s rewind like 10 years and you will find me as a blissful 19-year-old. I was 178 lbs. My entire life, I have been somewhere in that area. I’m 5’9″ and have always had an “athletic” build. I thought I looked amazing. At the time, fashion was somewhat important to me. I would drop my extra money on clothing whenever possible, favoring J.Crew, Guess, or any shop on Newbury Street that would take my money. I was still modest. I couldn’t take my clothing off at the beach. Bikini? Nope. One piece suit? Barely. I have always been the shy type. But in general, I was completely happy with the way that I looked underneath all my layers. I ran a lot. I raced minimally. At the time, running was just running to me. I ran when and how far I wanted, whenever I felt like it. There was no way to track it, no GPS watches, no IPOD Touch with a Nike+ option. I ran with my body. I listened to the cues it gave me. I was one with my breathing. And it was a superior way to move. I ate what I wanted, when I wanted, however I wanted. If I felt things getting a little tight, I skipped a bagel in the morning and the weight would just come off. Now, this does not mean I was hitting up the golden arches everyday, I was always healthful but I splurged when I wanted and staunchly refused to ever count a calorie.

Few years later I have little Emma. My weight skyrockets from 178 to 275. I basically ate pecan pies instead of a snack, yes the whole thing. Bags of Cheetos went down the hatch like no one’s business. Starbucks donuts, yup, I’ll take six of those and then wash it down with an 800 calorie beverage. Were you going to eat that croissant? No, well, I’ll take it. Someone get me a fucking pizza right NOW or I will punch your face. I mean, yes, that was the situation. Oh, and I had my baby, that weight doesn’t just leave? Damn it. Running, I hate that shit. Moving, don’t wanna do that either. I mean, maternity pants for days.

Finally I had a reality check. Rediscovered running. Lost all my weight with a little extra, down to 165. I tried really hard to be something that I wasn’t. That weight for me, just was not sustainable. So I went back to my level place of 178.

When I had Miles, I tried to be a lot smarter in my choices. And I was. At birth I weighed in at around 237. Six weeks after having him I was down to 215. After that, the struggle began. He’s almost three years old now and it has been a long road. For some reason that weight was hard to deal with. I stayed around 205 until last June, refusing to accept that I needed to do anything else. I kept telling myself, maybe this is just the way you are now, I mean, I had two children right? Doesn’t that mean that I will always be just a little bit large? There were countless conversations with my inner self. The dialogue was so continuous. But I finally had to see the cold truth: my shit didn’t fit. I looked sloppy. And my one pair of jeans had a whole in them. So, was I going to go pantsless? Probably not. I turned to running once again, vowing to rediscover what I once loved about it and give it the power to change me. It didn’t happen over night and I had to modify a lot of my lifestyle but I am now down to 182 lbs. 4 pounds shy of when I was nineteen years old. I still make mistakes, the other night I ate Domino’s Pizza, I just ate a cookie, I mean, it’s just the way I am. Nothing can reconfigure that. But I have worked really hard on the road, mostly by myself, to get here. So why, oh why, at my almost teenage weight am I still beating myself down?

The bottom line is, we are all too focused on the number and not focused enough on how we feel. We are all so busy comparing ourselves with other women that we forget just to take a good, long look at ourselves. When we have sex, we focus on what’s jiggling, instead of the man (or whomever, random stranger you met) we are doing it with. Every morning, when I get dressed, I list the things I wish I could change. It’s silly. And pointless. And stupid. What I think women need to learn is that everyone has something great and something not so good. God (or the big eye in the sky) gave us flaws to keep us centered, in check, humble if you will. Those size zero models have no tits and probably a broken vagina, since there is obviously no room for a penis. I have bad skin but I have great hair. My ass is starting to end up in places an ass isn’t supposed to be, but I have pretty killer legs right now. We, as women, as men, as children even, need to embrace the positive instead of creating an everyday roadmap of things we hate. I’m making an effort from this point forward to give myself a break. Come May, I will be running my first half marathon in years, when all my heart doctors said I wouldn’t be able to, when everyone said I would be dead, when I had two kids and didn’t think I ever could, when I was too large, I over came it all. I’m going to have my moment in the sun. Why don’t you?

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