Saturday, September 24, 2011

Working out my body image issues

I have been on a good workout streak lately. My swim class started back up last Sunday.  I had some great, creative workouts from Up & Running this week (though I failed to fit one of them in and am going to try to squeeze it in as a fourth workout next week.  I almost skipped my Spinning class on Thursday, but I'm glad I didn't because the instructor made it a great one.  On Friday, I almost skipped my strength class because my mammogram appointment took so long (will tell more in an upcoming post) but decided to go late and again, was glad I made the effort. Today I took a Pilates class with a new instructor, who did a totally different workout than the instructors I was used to, and got to try a bunch of new, challenging moves.

I love working out so much. People often look at me with a puzzled expression when I mention the kind of workouts I do, and I know what they're thinking, "Why are you still fat?" At least that is what I think they're thinking. Maybe it's something else, like, "This is boring. I wonder what I should make for dinner tonight?"

I ask myself the "why are you still fat" question pretty often too. My weight has been fluctuating quite a bit lately, but on its upswings, I fall into the "obese" category.  All of those people muttering about the "obesity epidemic" probably picture people who look like Biggest Loser contestants camped on the couch with a large pizza, but many of the obese probably look more like me -- someone who is still (barely) fitting into "normal" sizes in clothes, make an effort to eat healthy, and even exercise.

The pounds have been more stubborn for me lately. I suspect it may have something to do with my Hashimoto's, and something to do with my diet. It's still hard for me to eat below my target calories.  I have also been doing more strength training, and my body-fat scale suggests that about 4 of the pounds are new lean body mass. I am hoping that if this is accurate, weight loss will start to get easier.

I think though, that thinking of exercising only as a means to weight loss is completely missing the real point. I was at a conference recently, and had to walk a pretty good distance from building to building. I was with a friend, and noticed that she was sweating and breathing hard. I felt totally fine.  I feel so much more ready for a challenge than I used to.  The biggest problem for me now is my closet -- I have been late to a few meetings lately because I couldn't find something that made me want to look the way I want to look.

I definitely want to lose the weight that I've picked up and a few pounds too.  I want to be able to fit in smaller clothes, feel more confident, and stop taking an extra half hour to get dressed because I am trying to hide my "flaws." But I also need to appreciate how much my body already does for me. I want to be lithe, strong, fit, confident, healthy.  I have about 3 out of 5 right now, though, and that's not too bad.


  1. I love how one of the goals is feeling CONFIDENT and just dressing.
    Not fretting and obsessing about covering the perceived flaws.

    far healthier (uh IMO) than a number.


  2. It's so discouraging isn't it? Society teaches us certain "truths" about "fat" people, that they are lazy, eat poorly, ect. So it's only natural to see a word on a chart and feel bad, even if we know we aren't that person. You don't post a lot of pictures on this blog, but I think you are closer to your goals than you realize. Just gotta work on that confidence.

    Forget about the number on the scale and on your clothing and ask yourself "why don't I look like my ideal". The answer is probably 5-10 lbs (not a lot of weight) plus characteristics you wouldn't want to change anyway.

  3. Maybe the people were thinking, "Holy crap, she works out a lot, I am so lazy, omg" and their own spiral of thoughts :) I just looked at your photo post and thought, "wow, you can so tell jen works out hard". your legs look so strong and sleek :) i would be so freakin' proud!

    i am so with you on the wanting to lose some pounds for the smaller clothes. i hate having to think about it so much! especially the g*damn stomach region! here's to progress and appreciating where we are right now. love your stuff :)


"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07