The funny thing is that I see and feel these changes. I see the label in my clothes that says 12 or 14 instead of 18. I am aware of my muscles. But there are times when I look in the mirror and I see the fat that lingers. When I was at my heaviest, I wasn't aware of the fat on my body. Now that I'm focused on a healthier way of living, I see the fat and I get critical of it for at least 2.4 seconds. And just as quickly. I remember where I came form, how hard I've worked. Most of all, I remember that my goals are about running, endurance, strength, teaching my kids healthy habits.
But I still sometimes have these odd experiences where what I see when I look down at my body and what I see when I look in the mirror don't always match what is actually there. Last week, I posted a couple of pics on my personal Facebook page. I had, on a whim, picked up a top at a store and was trying to decide if I should keep it or return it. It wasn't tight but it was designed to be more form fitting than anything else in my closet. I liked the front view but when I turned to the side, this is what I saw:
But then a friend left a comment on the pic I'd posted. "the shirt is cute, but as far as your figure, wow Liz! :) You've done an awesome job" " I know I was going to say good job!!! You look really good Liz! The shirt looks cute on you too!" "I wanna butt and tummy like yours. Oh, yeah, keep is my vote!" "It's a keeper! It flatters you and that rockin' body!" Thankfully, I also have friends that save me before my head explodes. Friends like Garret and his comment: "Lovely shower curtain."
Say what?? These friends are complimenting my body? I'm looking for feedback on a shirt and they are pointing out specific areas of my body that they admire? Really? So I went and looked at the picture. I have to admit I hadn't actually looked at it. I took it, I posted it, I asked for votes on keep or return. But I figured I knew how it looked. I figured it was too fitting and would just show off that flab in the front and bumpy in the back- like my arrows indicate.
I'm working to reprogram how I see myself. I'm working on being realistic about what I see when I glance in the mirror. I'm still measuring myself by endurance, diet, exercise, accomplishments and not by pounds or inches or clothing size. But I'm also realizing just how much I need to work on fixing my skewed body image. I've worked hard and the pictures speak to the results of my hard work. And I think remembering that hard work is important when I struggle on a run or lack motivation to exercise or want to dive into a gallon of ice cream. I need to see these pictures below and appreciate them for what they are- representations of the work I've done, captured images of the changes I've made.