As those that read regularly know, I blame my weight problems on a body image issue. I have never felt comfortable in my skin. I routinely put a pillow on my lap when I sit down on the couch. I cross my arms in front of my chest and I rarely wear anything that exposes any unnecessary skin. And when I’ve tried, like wearing a sleeveless dress to a formal event, I’ve always regretted it and felt uncomfortable the whole time. It’s just how I’ve always been no matter if I was 210 or a 150 pounds.
It wasn’t until I started down a path of self acceptance did I start to make strides on the weight loss front. I say "started" as I don’t think I’ve completed the self acceptance journey yet. I still fight fat thoughts. I can look in the mirror one day and see a fit active body with muscle tone I thought was only reserved for the genetically lucky. The very next day I swear I see the same chubby insecure girl I once was. I know it’s in my head. I know it’s ridiculous. Which is exactly what I tell myself. I try to suck it up. I say to myself, "Who cares? This is my body, this is what it looks like, deal." Fat or skinny is irrelevant, just get out and enjoy life because when push comes to shove, it just… doesn’t… matter.
There’s been a few times I wanted to be "that girl". You know the one who wears the cute little outfits. The one in a sport bra top and capri pants at the gym. I’ve always looked at "that girl" with jealously. Not so much of their bodies but of their confidence. The seem to exude it.
Generally when I go to the gym I wear a pair of sweats and a tank top. That’s right, a tank top. Sounds pretty basic right? Well It took me almost 20 years, TWENTY YEARS, to feel comfortable in a tank top. I’m not kidding and I have the picture to prove it (working on a pictorial post.) Now I have become really comfortable in one and with my arms. I didn’t wait until I had "Jennifer Anniston’s Sleek Arms". I still have loose skin, I’ll never have the arms the 16 year old version of myself longed to have. I’m not even sure why I wanted them in first place. My arms are my arms. They are strong. They let me easily pick up my 3 year old and dance with him. They are mine and I love them. (ok.. that just got a little corny, but you feel me. Right?) :)
So a few months ago when I was in Chicago, I decided to go out of my comfort zone yet again (like the first time I wore a tank top). I was meeting MizFit in the hotel gym and I decided to go down in a sports bra and capri pant like "that girl". It was my version of exposure therapy. I figured no one knew me in the windy city anyway, so why not? Maybe I could pull it off? Well I felt more then uncomfortable. MizFit even commented. Telling me I looked good, which, of course, made me feel even MORE uncomfortable. Why can’t I just take a stupid compliment without the flood of thoughts about how I must look out of place or stupid or fat. Why couldn’t I just say thank you and never think about it again.
I realize I sound like a raving lunatic, or at the very least a whiny baby. Sometimes I just want to smack myself and say "get over it! Wear what you want to wear and shut the heck up. You are manufacturing these issues. No one gives a $hit about what you wear or how you look except you."
That’s exactly what I did tell myself today when I went to the gym in a "that girl" outfit. My midsection was exposed. It’s never exposed. I have worn a bikini on the beach since losing the weight but I rarely last a half hour before I throw a t-shirt on under the guise of "I’m getting too much sun." When really I’m just super uncomfortable. Sad, isn’t it? I’m 32 and still uncomfortable in my skin.
Well guess what happened at the gym? Nothing. The sky didn’t fall. The world didn’t end. No one threw eggs at me (where did that come from?) I’m still here. To be honest, (and this is what inspired the post) while I was there I actually forgot what i was wearing. It didn’t even phase me. I had a tinge for a moment but then once I started working out, I was just working out. I wasn’t even self-conscious. I was just doing my thing. I was just another skinny girl at the gym.