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Body image...struggling.

posted over 2 years ago | Report

I am so frustrated with the fact that I am still struggling with body image and weight issues for almost 20 years now. Anybody also in this boat? I struggled with eating disorders/disordered eating in college and my 20's. While pregnant and breast feeding my kids I always felt great. While preggo I was ok with weight gain and while nursing I was very thin (dairy free diet). Maybe it was that, maybe it was hormones? I don't know...anyway I'd love to breakup with my scale, be happy in my size 4's and be okay with my strong muscular legs, the ones that carried me through my 1st 1/2 marathon 2 weeks ago in just over 2 hours. What is it about that a healthy 37 year old woman wants the body of a 17 year old?

Any other struggling people out there? I know that my body is pretty amazing...runs strongly, carried and gave birth to beautiful children and nourished them for months as a nursing mommy. Why can't this be enough? As a mom to a daughter, I do my best to never, ever talk about this (I want her to have a healthy body image). Hoping I have a safe place to chat about it here.

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  • Michelle, I totally can relate. As some one who has weighed as much as 275 and am currently 195 and run faster and further than anytime in my life, not to mention the best shape too, I still struggle with thinking that I am too big. I am 6'2" btw. You are doing awesome and just have to fight the urge to believe society's lies about what is fit and attractive.

    posted over 2 years ago

  • Hi, Michelle,

    I posted something sort of related -- asking who owns a bathroom scale and what type and wondering if I should get one or not. I was a dance major throughout most of college (I dropped it to a minor before my senior year), so I dealt with the whole ballerina eating disorder issues as well. I have never owned a scale because you're not supposed to have one if you've had eating disorders since you can get "obsessed" with your weight.

    I'm 35 now and feel like I'd be "okay" to have a scale, but part of me thought, "Maybe I should get a body fat percentage scale." But, then, is *that* something else to get obsessed with?

    I know it's easier said than done, but the best thing is really to focus on your health and surround yourself with realistic images of women. Don't buy the fashion mags and whatnot that support unhealthy body images.

    If you get a chance, watch the movie Miss Representation. I hosted a screening of the film at the college where I teach, and it's amazing to just see how our society portrays women.

    Here's an 8 minute trailer for the film: http://vimeo.com/28066212

    Part of the reason we're still hard on ourselves "at our age" and want to look like 17 year old girls is because that's what the media shows as the standard of beauty. Something like 73% of the women shown on TV are under 40, even though they only make up 20-something % of the population. It's a pretty amazing film, and I think watching it might help.

    posted over 2 years ago

  • I'm nearly 29 years old. I have recently lost about 35-40lbs and I'm feeling awesome. But I am still struggling with my image as well. The fact is, I've NEVER had "that" body; you know, the 6pack, V-cut, toned arms, etc. I am working towards it though. Will I ever achieve it? I don't know. All I know is.....I AM DOING IT FOR ME! I don't give a damn how hot or ugly society may see me to be.

    I think the biggest issue is that all of these unhealthy fast food, booze, and packaged dinner companies are showing nothing but society's "beautiful" people in all of their commercials. I cant think of ONE commercial for McDonalds, Budweiser, Totinos, etc. that show someone overweight/obese. They show nothing but skinny female models (some in tiny bikini's) and skinny/muscular men (some shirtless) and people see it as okay to consume these products on a daily basis with no repercussions. It's a society problem overall. In my opinion, its crap like that that is causing young people to attempt these eating disorders. Media is the #1 killer in America

    posted over 2 years ago

  • in reply to what Sang Y. said:Michelle, I totally can relate. As some one who has weighed as much as 275 and am currently 195 and run faster and further than anytime in my life, not to mention the best shape too, I still struggle with thinking that I am too big. I am 6'2&... read more

    Thanks, Sang for your response! I knew I wouldn't be the only one out there...glad to hear from you! :) You are doing awesome too!

    posted over 2 years ago

  • in reply to what Shaindel B. said:Hi, Michelle, I posted something sort of related -- asking who owns a bathroom scale and what type and wondering if I should get one or not. I was a dance major throughout most of college (I dropped it to a minor before my senior year), so I deal... read more

    That trailer is awesome! I'd love to get some of my friends together, specifically those of us who have daughters. Scary stuff!! Noticed that there is a screening not to far from where I live. I might go see it.

    Thanks so much for your response!!

    I'm moving to a new house in a few weeks...thinking that maybe the scale won't make the move.

    posted over 2 years ago

  • in reply to what Adam R. said:I'm nearly 29 years old. I have recently lost about 35-40lbs and I'm feeling awesome. But I am still struggling with my image as well. The fact is, I've NEVER had "that" body; you know, the 6pack, V-cut, toned arms, etc. I... read more

    Good for you on your weight loss and good for you for "doing it for you". Check out the link that Shaindel B. posted above...awesome!!

    Media is awful...I agree - scary to be raising kids with all of this stuff around - and to think that 30 years ago when I was a kid the pressures weren't as obvious, yet I still struggled with self image.

    Thanks for your response!

    posted over 2 years ago

  • I struggle also and have a 10 year old daughter that I am trying so hard not to let fall into the same trap that I did. I dont think that I am fat, I know I'm not i am 32 and 5'2 138 pounds. I would like to lose 8 pounds and not be so mushy... and that is how it has been since I was a teenager and now I would love to look like I was when I was a teenager. Although now I am healthier than ever. I run 15-20 miles a week and I just ran a HM 3 weeks ago. Why cant healthy be all we need?

    I also have a very small group of girls(15 years old) in my youth group that battle this same thing and I have to convince/talk to them and my daughter about a healthy body image when i struggle myself. society and the way people think we/women should look has crippled us.

    Who are these people anyway? they look just like us... that's who they are.

    So what I tell my youth and daughter and myself (most days I believe it) We are God's masterpiece and He made us the way we are and if we dont like what He has made... what does that say to our maker. We are beautiful, healthy amazing women.
    Think of all the things we could do and energy we could have put to something else if we were not focused so much on what we "should look like".

    Now i must take my own advice. LOL. my scale batteries ran out about a week ago and I went without a scale for 6 days. It was wonderful, alas I bought a new one...i'm addicted.

    posted over 2 years ago | edited over 2 years ago

  • in reply to what Rae B. said:I struggle also and have a 10 year old daughter that I am trying so hard not to let fall into the same trap that I did. I dont think that I am fat, I know I'm not i am 32 and 5'2 138 pounds. I would like to lose 8 pounds and not be so ... read more

    Rae, thank you! I love that what you said, "We are God's masterpiece and He made us the way we are and if we dont like what He has made..." so true!!

    Kudos to you for being such a positive role model for those young girls. I'm a middle school teacher and it scares me to see girls struggling with body image and to see girls who clearly think that looks are the be all and the end all.

    :)

    posted over 2 years ago

  • You are definitely not alone. I am 35 and have struggled with body image my whole life. I have always had about 10 or 15 extra pounds that I have needed to lose. Last year, I took up running and finally lost them. And guess what, I am now the size 4 that I always thought would make me look in the mirror and be happy and yet, not so much. Still find areas to pick at (big thighs, c-section lip that will likely never go away, etc). Ugh. So yes, I too struggle everyday. Am really trying to shift my focus to being HEALTHY and not SKINNY. I have two daughters and absolutely do not want to pass this trait to them. I don't have any advice eally, but can commiserate ... Know that you are not alone!

    posted over 2 years ago

  • Yep. In that boat!! For many reasons. Keep up the good work!!

    posted over 2 years ago

  • I'm right there w/ you. I have struggled w/ my weight my whole life and 3 1/2 yrs ago finally got fed up w/ the up and down roller coaster I was on, so I decided to give running a chance. I lost 65 lbs and have kept it off, but still am not happy w/ the way I look. Genetics haven't been kind, haha. I'm only 4'11", weigh 115 and I get muscle very easy, especially in the leg area. Oh, and throw in there that I just turned 40 and now it's even harder to stay fit, ugh!!! I try to remind myself that I would rather have my strong, muscular body than the thin, weak body that most models have. Maybe you're going through a little mid life crisis like me, hang in there, you look FABULOUS!!!

    posted over 2 years ago

  • http://gizmodo.com/5911423/all-models-this-photoshopped-should-come-with-a-toolbar?utm_campaign=socialflow_gizmodo_facebook&utm_source=gizmodo_facebook&utm_medium=socialflow

    I loved the photoshopped images in the video that Shaindel posted. Here's a great article as well. Some people just don't get that these girls really are PHOTOSHOPPED!!!

    By the way, short and muscular and curvy is much hotter (in my opinion) than "tall and slender"

    posted over 2 years ago | edited over 2 years ago

  • in reply to what Hallie H. said:You are definitely not alone. I am 35 and have struggled with body image my whole life. I have always had about 10 or 15 extra pounds that I have needed to lose. Last year, I took up running and finally lost them. And guess what, I am now the ... read more

    Thank you!!

    posted about 2 years ago

  • in reply to what Angela said:I'm right there w/ you. I have struggled w/ my weight my whole life and 3 1/2 yrs ago finally got fed up w/ the up and down roller coaster I was on, so I decided to give running a chance. I lost 65 lbs and have kept it off, but still am not... read more

    Angela, I'm only 5'1', and weigh generally between 120 and 125...I also have very muscular upper legs...I know how you feel and yes, I too need to remind myself that a strong, muscular body is better than a thin weak one. My problem is that I got quite a taste of thin when I was nursing my son - burning extra calories and on a dairy free, casein free diet for him...I got very thin...mid life crisis seems about right! Thank you!!

    posted about 2 years ago

  • in reply to what Adam R. said:http://gizmodo.com/5911423/all-models-this-photoshopped-should-come-with-a-toolbar?utm_campaign=socialflow_gizmodo_facebook&utm_source=gizmodo_facebook&utm_medium=socialflow I loved the photoshopped images in the video that Shaindel pos... read more

    Thanks, Adam :)

    posted about 2 years ago

  • in reply to what Adam R. said:http://gizmodo.com/5911423/all-models-this-photoshopped-should-come-with-a-toolbar?utm_campaign=socialflow_gizmodo_facebook&utm_source=gizmodo_facebook&utm_medium=socialflow I loved the photoshopped images in the video that Shaindel pos... read more

    thanks for the article

    posted about 2 years ago | edited about 2 years ago

  • Hey Michelle -

    I haven't had to contend with an eating disorder, but I was at one point quite heavy - 5'2" at 180+) and now am pretty healthy at 137 and a size 4 and like you, have strong muscular legs.

    First, you need to be commended for doing your best to not talk about your struggles around your daughter. I grew up in a house where my mom talked about her "fat clothes" and continually wanting to lose weight. I remember FiberTrim, Slimfast and other "fads" that she cruised through on her way to try and be "skinny" and it's left a terrible mark on me. In our house - and I'm a mom to two girls ages 7 and 2 - we talk about eating healthy, getting exercise and making the right choices because it helps us be well throughout our whole body, mind and soul.

    I'm pretty certain I'll always struggle with body image - some weeks are better than others, some days are really difficult - but in the end I try to keep in mind that the very first thing I need to embrace is being healthy. Healthy isn't always thin and a size 2. I know I have difficulty seeing myself the way that others do - a very fit, trim, soon to be 36 year old who has run 4 half marathons and in the best shape of her life. And its in those moments that I really have to remind myself - sometimes by positive feedback, sometimes by looking back at a photograph that makes me proud - that I've come along way and I'm doing well. I know it's hard though, especially when the only thing you see when you're looking in the mirror makes you feel like you did when you were heavier.

    Hang in there and congrats on finishing your first 1/2!

    Joy

    posted about 2 years ago

  • Your body has done amazing things. I'm awed by your accomplishments, and envy any woman who can juggle pregnancy, mommyhood AND marathon training!

    I struggled with disordered eating in high school and much of college. It was a control issue for me, addictive and dangerous. I never sought help, and no one paid much attention because I was overweight to begin with, and my rapid weight loss was viewed as my becoming "healthy." No one intervened when "healthy" quickly degenerated into "scary."

    It took a few years and a healthy relationship with my partner to maintain a good, consistent diet and regular exercise. I weigh in regularly once or twice a month to make sure I'm maintaining, not gaining or losing weight, but also trying not to be fanatical about it--easier said than done!

    Now, running is my catharsis. Perhaps I've "traded one addiction for another," but I'm healthier now nearing 30 than I was at 20. My legs can do amazing things I never thought possible, and now my focus is on improving their performance.... That helps, that along with the insatiable appetite I've developed running long distance!

    From what I understand, the compulsion never leaves those who have been eating disordered. I still struggle, still berate myself once in a while for gaining a pound or indulging, then try to remind myself that my body is in control now, not the distorted image of myself I've carried for the past 15 years. You're making great strides every day just by reminding yourself that your body IS amazing, has done AMAZING things.

    posted about 2 years ago

  • in reply to what Leah C. said:Your body has done amazing things. I'm awed by your accomplishments, and envy any woman who can juggle pregnancy, mommyhood AND marathon training! I struggled with disordered eating in high school and much of college. It was a control issue ... read more

    Leah, thank u for your response and for your support!! I have an addictive personality, so I understand where you at coming from. I know that control is a huge piece of it for me, as well. Yikes...people are complicated. LOL. You are amazing too! Yeah for you!!

    posted about 2 years ago

  • in reply to what Joy R. said:Hey Michelle - I haven't had to contend with an eating disorder, but I was at one point quite heavy - 5'2" at 180+) and now am pretty healthy at 137 and a size 4 and like you, have strong muscular legs. First, you need to be comm... read more

    I thought I had responded to you :(. Don't see it here. Thank you for your response and support.

    Yeah for you....you are setting a great example for your daughters!!

    posted about 2 years ago

  • I don't think I've ever been a size 4 in my whole life... I'm trying to get to a size 10. I thought distance running would make me lose weight. I've been logging 30+ miles per week for months and months and the scale won't budge. I am continually frustrated by my lack of progress with the scale, but I am also incredibly proud that since July of last year, I have been able to train to the point of finishing 6 half marathons. I try to take as much as I can from every run that I do, knowing that it's making my body better, stronger, and healthier with every step. Even if the scale doesn't show me that. You are doing so well. Keep it up and remember to enjoy this life as much as you can, and appreciate that your body lets you do some pretty amazing things :)

    posted about 2 years ago

  • in reply to what Heather R. said:I don't think I've ever been a size 4 in my whole life... I'm trying to get to a size 10. I thought distance running would make me lose weight. I've been logging 30+ miles per week for months and months and the scale won't... read more

    Thank you, Heather. You rock...6 half marathons. What an accomplishment.

    posted about 2 years ago

  • As a current fluffy person at 250 lbs, 5'6" and 40 years old... there I said it... I have obviously not had an eating disorder, I have an over-eating disorder (more like a late night snack attack disorder) Seriously though, last year, even at my current weight, I finished dead last in our local Sprint Triathlon (750m swim, 20km bike, 5 km run) at 2:37 but I FINISHED!! I step on a scale once in a while, and hate myself after but try to focus on how I feel inside. I have more energy when I exercise and eat clean. The weight is stubborn but I didn't gain it overnight, I can't expect it to go away overnight and it is always a challenge. With that in mind though, I am working towards getting my Alberta Fitness Leader certification this year with the ultimate goal of motivating others who feel intimidated by the buff fitness leaders and get them to stick to a fitness program (I was a cheerleader in high school so I love motivating!!) I have met many fitness professionals in my training and they are all so enthusiastic for my progress, even though I don't look like fitness model, I think that healthy lifestyle and having love and respect for the bodies we were blessed with and treat them the best way we know how is the best way to live.

    As for body image, I have a very outgoing personality and I don't even really think about my body unless I am trying on clothes and they don't look good. Honestly! A good tailor and a fantastic fitting bra are all you need to look and feel fantastic. I didn't gain any weight with my one and only son but I ate extremely healthy... afterwards, not so much. Lots of takeaway! If you have body image issues, wear something that makes you feel fabulous or fake it til you make it!!

    There is a really good book called "Feeling Good" which addresses internal negative self talk and how to change that extraordinarily bad habit. I have been chronically depressed for 4 years and this was part of what my Doctor prescribed me in addition to psychotherapy and drug therapy. It is a fantastic read to understand why we analyse and perceive how others see us when in fact, it is our own self talk that drags us down. If nothing else, it will help you sleep at night!! LOL!

    Keep at 'er, you look great to me!

    posted about 2 years ago

  • I am in the same boat as you. I had anorexia from age 8-13 and to this day I feel depressed if I get above a size 2. Last summer was the best and worst part of my life.... I got a much needed divorce and fell in love with someone who played me and my emotions. I was healthy and fit, but then stress got the best of me and my healthy habits lol. I found love again and he says I look amazing, it still doesn't matter....I will always struggle with body image . You came to the right place because DM is the best for keeping motivated and being positive. My success was half based on my DM fan club cheering for me and once I stopped logging workout hereN I fell back in destructive patterns. I hope this helps you to feel like you're not alone, we all need our own cheerleaders sometimes!

    posted about 2 years ago

  • in reply to what Randi D. said:I am in the same boat as you. I had anorexia from age 8-13 and to this day I feel depressed if I get above a size 2. Last summer was the best and worst part of my life.... I got a much needed divorce and fell in love with someone who played me and... read more

    Thank you for your story. Let's so many, including myself, know we are not alone. We are here for you too.

    posted about 2 years ago

  • in reply to what Shauna F. said:As a current fluffy person at 250 lbs, 5'6" and 40 years old... there I said it... I have obviously not had an eating disorder, I have an over-eating disorder (more like a late night snack attack disorder) Seriously though, last year, ev... read more

    Thanks for the love and support!

    posted about 2 years ago

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