19 June 2008


This weekend during our hike into West Fork, I was joined by two photographers. One of them I happen to be quite smitten with (and I'd go as far as saying that he feels the same way) and he often, while taking pictures, will snap a few of me as well...sometimes I know about it, sometimes I don't.

It doesn't bother me as much as it once did, although if I know he's taking the pictures, I often can't help but smile some goofy way, so it's a bit better for me to try to ignore him while he's shooting...except...

Except that while going through pictures upon our return, I was thinking YIKES. Or more accurately, "Lord, I'm fat/I have bad posture/I'm not a sex symbol...I wish I could just look at a picture of myself without cringing" I'm often sitting next to Rich while he goes through his pictures and I just cringe and cringe when pictures of me come up, I get embarrassed, look away or get up and move across the Airstream...and here I was, doing it yet again.

You want to know what I was honestly thinking?

With all the time I spend at the gym during the week...how is it that I still look like that?!?! Why aren't my clothes falling off of me? How off am I with my true body image (like...how out of shape was I when I stared all of this? I honestly didn't think I was that bad...) And then that really deteriorated into a whole landslide of other horrible things I ended up saying to myself...both out loud and using my inside the head voice (and you don't even want to know what I say in there...I'm not proud)

So, I started thinking of my progress at the gym, while there is a small part feeling proud that I am noticing muscles in places there were none visible before (like when I'm in the shower washing my hair and I see my biceps pop up to say howdy...or I notice that my thighs and tushie are looking much tighter, even if they don't look smaller) watching my body change...seeing the fat get even more pronounced and visible before it turns to muscle...Even though, I feel like sometimes it's a struggle to stay in the size that I am in right now without going up, I'm maintaining it.

Then I did a very bad thing. I stepped on a scale.

Oh crap.

I wasn't going to do it, because I thought I believed that weight is not as important as how my body looks and feels, but apparently I was wrong, and I was feeling adventurous (just sure I was probably sooo much lighter than when I started) Looking back, stepping on a scale is not something I should have done.


Now, I know what you're going to say, "muscle weighs more than fat..." and you know what? You just better be right, because if you're not...I'm in trouble. I should find my trainer so she can measure my body fat instead as that may be more accurate. (when talking to a fellow gym-er she said that she never weighs herself because the last time she did, she was heavier than she's ever been, but looks better/thinner/firmer than she ever has)

I also know that
I am probably being very unrealistic with myself as far as the sex symbol thing goes, as I've only been going to the gym since the last week of February (since it just occurred to me as I was trashing myself...it hasn't even been 6 months yet) and I've spent a lot of the time I've been there getting to a good plateau where I feel comfortable that I can really work out hard and make a difference that I can see in a faster way. I'm starting to remind myself of all those people we saw in the canyon on Sunday that wanted to know if they were there yet...Yes, I seem to be a product of my own society. I want to look how I want to look NOW (and after weighing over 200 lbs. at one point, I can sometimes get a bit freaked out if I think I may be going towards that weight again) But, on the other hand, after all of this I've actually felt more motivated to get my butt into the gym and do something about the way I look rather than shrink back and eat chocolate (I also occurred to me at some point that I was wearing shorts 2 sizes larger than I need to while we were hiking and Rich was snapping pictures...so, that doesn't often make one look their slimmest)

Yes, I do feel better (and as Rich kindly pointed out, I was not one bit sore after the 8 miles...just tired...but not a bit sore, so that's a huge step forward...and no one is putting pressure on me to do this, I am the one to blame for the pressure...everyone else is immensely supportive) I just hate that I can still get so easily discouraged and then bombard myself with the same horrible things I've been telling myself for years...that it is so easy for me to slip into that place...but, thankfully it's getting easier to recognize what I'm doing, and try to stop going down that road, and I've recognized that I've been working quite hard while at the gym and am now not only going longer and faster on the cross-training machine, Megan and I have added a crazy aerobics/weight lifting class to our regime, and I am still lifting weights and doing yoga. It's really just a matter of time. That and I'm a bit, um...older that I was when I used to do this...it's probably going to be different.

So, what have we learned here?

  • Feeling better and looking better often doesn't happen overnight
  • I probably should start wearing clothes that fit if I want to look OK
  • I'm old (ok, older than I was when I was 18 and 100lbs. and working out...but, I still had those awful things going through my head)
  • The old patterns of trashing myself are still alive and well, and may need to be changed into something more positive...I am still very hard on myself
  • Loosing weight and gaining muscle thus tightening up the body...are two totally different things.
  • I probably have a very skewed image of what I actually look like

I am not, by any means, trying to vie for your sympathy here...I just wanted to let you know how discouraged I've been, just in case there's anyone else out there feeling the same way.

And wouldn't you know it?
As soon as I started admitting how discouraged I have been out loud to the people in my life...two totally random people I know at the gym approached me and told me how great I look and how much progress I've made since I've been coming, on the same day, totally independent of each other.

So. Perhaps, like the litany of bad things that often go through my head about my body and myself in general...me believing that I don't look good or that I'm not making progress, is somehow twisted up there...perhaps I'm just seeing a skewed image of myself. Just perhaps they're right...

I'll tell you one thing. I feel more relaxed about all of it after those two people had their say...I went home, really looked at myself in the mirror, put on some clothes that fit...and decided to give myself some more time to get where I want to be...

I may not be there yet, but I'll let you know when I arrive.


Mytutorlist.com said...

Hi Sadie!

Don't worry, I feel the same way all the time. I mean, when I tried on the bridesmaid dress yesterday, all I was thinking was how much weight I need to lose before I'll feel comfortable in it. Around me, young girls were standing in all their fit, youthful beauty.

I hate looking at pictures of myself too. It makes me feel a bit insecure because I don't think I look good even if someone else thinks it's great.

I guess as long as we work at our health by exercising and eating relatively healthy, we're on the right path. I think we'll always be our strictest judge.

And, as much as no one wants to admit it, beauty is just an opinion. We don't all have to fit into the mainstream ideas of what is beautiful and perfect.

With all our flaws, we are much more interesting people. Not so cookie-cutter, and probably insecure, but all beautiful in our own little ways.

Jolene George said...

I got to see pictures that other people took at the star picnic in payson this past weekend. Some of which included my back side that in pictures is much larger than the one I see in the mirror. I totally understand and appreciate your feelings. I for one am proud of how hard you've been working on getting healthy. The proof is just like Rich pointed out after that long hike. You should be impressed with your accomplishments. I know I am. At some point when we see pictures of ourselves I hope we can refrain from cringing.

Wende said...

Oh sweetie... I could have written this post!! I'm so with you, it's frightening.

I just have to say, BE KIND TO YOURSELF. And I only say it, because I'm chanting to myself as well.

TomboCheck said...

All too easy to do. Some day ya look in the mirror and you think 'Eh, I look pretty decent.' Other days it is 'Whoa, where did the great white whale come from?!'

No matter how much we all say it doesn't matter it niggles in the back of our minds to some extent.

I say as long as you can do the things you want to do without dying of exhaustion you are on the right track.

And you already have arrived. Making the mental shift to better yourself is the hardest part, the physical part follows behind. :)

Anonymous said...

Hon, we are taught to hate our bodies no matter what. That's why they make self-tanners, hair dye, cellulite creams, botox, etc.

You are not alone.

I think you're hot...hot... hot... in a sisterly sort of way...it takes time.

Just focus on your best assets...

velvet brick said...

... it's what inside that truly counts.... and your insides match your outsides... beautiful on both counts!

She sure is strange! said...

I think I'm going to start calling you Sadira Sunshine! You are just brilliant girl. Hiking 8 miles and not being sore is quite an accomplishment, I can't go .8 miles without my hip just screaming.

I'm not photogenic either and it also bothers me most times. Way too many chins show up in my pictures, ones I *know* I don't have. But, I've figured out that its just how I photograph, not how I am "in real life".


sulu-design said...

Oh, Sadira, the games our heads and bodies play with us! I've been religiously running, working out with weights, and eating in a generally healthy manner for two solid years now, and I'm resigned to the fact that I'll never have the body that I dream of having, even with all of the work I put into it. I do know, though, that no matter how I look, I FEEL worlds better when I've been working out and taking care of myself. My body works as it should and my head stays in a good place (usually). I hope that the payoffs you're seeing outweigh (no pun intended) the unfriendly little voice in your head. I have to tell mine to shut up ever now and then, too.


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