I recently received a depressing email from an online friend. She amazingly ran her first 5k, started weight training and feels absolutely wonderful! However–and I’m thinking a lot of us can relate to this–She saw a picture of herself that set her back. She went on to describe how she looked. How miserable and awful she now feels after seeing the photo.
This saddens me so much I can barely find the words. I really didn’t know how to respond. How do I tell her that sometimes I feel the same way. That there have been pictures I’ve seen of myself that cause those same negative thoughts.
This one comes to mind…
When I saw that picture I was so conscious of my belly. I almost didn’t post it. All these thoughts started flooding my head…
Was it worth it? The weight loss? The tummy tuck? Look at me. Look at my gut. I’m disgusting. Why do I even bother?
I’m not kidding or exaggerating. Thoughts like that pop into my head ALL the time. I’m constantly battling them. Constantly.
But battle them I do and I will continue to do. I’ve come to accept that my brain works this way. Blame it on my upbringing or what people told me when I was younger, but it doesn’t really matter. I’m wired like this and I don’t think I’m alone.
My strategy for dealing with these negative thoughts is simple…
I ignore myself as much as possible.
Ridiculous, right? But what’s the alternative? To feel sorry for myself. Dive into a pint of ice cream. Ignore my child’s requests for walks to the park. Become a wall flower at weddings instead of dancing with my husband. Hide under a towel when everyone is else is swimming in the ocean.
No. No. No. I did that the first half of my life and I refuse to go back to that place. It’s what started the yo-yo diet cycle of hell to begin with.
Instead I ignore and I live the life I want to regardless of any negative self talk going on in my head.
It’s not always easy. Reminding myself that many women, regardless of size feel the same way helps. That all those "perfect" people in magazines don’t exist. That this is my body and it can do extraordinary things. It’s also the only one I have and I only have it for a short time. In a blink of an eye I’m going to go from 34 to 64 and I want to live up every moment I have before that happens. I want to run on the beach. I want to play tennis with the husband. I want to keep up with Ryan and hopefully dance around like a nut with his children. THAT is why I keep trying.
So to my friend who shall remain nameless unless she chooses, I get over my bad self-image by reminding myself of all these things. At the end of the day I’m happy with who I am not because of the body I’m in but because I’m living the life I want to live.