A couple days ago, a fellow MFP user posted this link on her page. The link lead to a questionnaire. First I had to choose which body I think looks like mine. Then I had to enter some information about myself (although I am not from the UK so I just picked a place for the location portion), including my actual measurements. My result is that I am 15% smaller than I view myself. I must've been having a good day because I was torn between two images and chose the smaller of the two. I just went back and did it, and had I chosen the larger, I'd have been off by 17.5%.
This little test can go either way....You're going to be bigger than you think or smaller than you think. I think that, depending on how far off you are, both can show something negative. For example if you are significantly larger than you see yourself, you may not be aware of possible health concerns related to your size. If you see yourself as larger than you are, maybe you don't have the best body image.
Smaller differences in percentages probably don't matter quite so much (although could still be indicative of a problem), but it's still interesting to see how far off our own perceptions are. I think that if I'd done this pre-weight loss, I'd have viewed myself as a little smaller (probably not much); or maybe the same; or maybe I'd have thought there wasn't a body large enough on the screen and not done it at all. I knew I was big and depending on the day, I dont' know that I always saw myself accurately. Believe me, I KNEW I was big. Ijust don't think I had a realistic grasp on exactly how big. But on a bad day I'd have felt like the ugliest, fattest person in the world.
I find it interesting how our eyes, and minds, can deceive us. In the past I couldn't see just how big I was. Now? I can't seem to see myself as small as I am. I see myself as larger. I didn't need a test on the Internet to tell me that though. This test just put it into the front of my mind, instead of me pushing it aside. Despite knowing that I put my measurements in appropriately, I still can't believe that what they're saying I look like is what I look like. The proof is right there and my mind still can't seem to accept it. This has made me think about how I, obviously, still have some body image issues.
I've been thinking about that a lot since I took the test. I really do not see myself as others do, apparently. My eyes still focus on the bad things... The cellulite on my thighs (which I'd have even thin because even thin people have it) is a huge one. I still look at the loose skin on my hips and think it's gross. Actually it's not just the skin, it's the size of my hips in general...I just happen to think that if there was less fat and it was tightened, it would bother me less...Say what you want about surgery, but after having it done I like the look of my arms and tummy A LOT more than I did pre-op. Now I'm focusing on my mid-section thinking that it looks full - not fat, but larger. I KNOW that compared to two years ago I'm a little bigger than I was. I haven't weighed myself lately, but last time I did I was up 15-20 pounds from my lowest weight. To me, that's A LOT! I've gotta get that back off... In doing so I think I'll feel a little better about myself. I didn't mind what I saw in the mirror back then (other than the skin)...
At least, I don't think I did. I still had body image issues and still focused on the negative. I just don't think I was doing it quite as badly as I have lately. I can't figure out what, exactly, it is, but there are times when my body image isn't what it should. I really wish I could see my body as others do, and not how I THINK they do (which is what I see it as; or I think they see it as looking even "worse" than it does). I think that part of this has been that I was out of the workout game for so long and with that, I wasn't always making the wisest food choices. I also think that the test had some impact on it... When you simply ignore something, you don't think about it. Now that I'm thinking about it, I realize my body image isn't the best. So what's better... Ignore it and let it surface now and then? Acknowledge it all the time? If I think about it all the time, I'm most likely going to feel badly about myself. However, ignoring the problem isn't going to help either. I need to find a way to acknowledge it while working on it. That, my friends, could be a challenge.
I will say that this week my eating and workouts being so good has really helped me to feel better about myself. I know that progress takes time and results are not immediate, but I feel that I'm going in the right direction. The healthy choices in terms of food and the soreness in my muscles is keeping me motivated. I can FEEL my body changing, so I know that it is (even if it is slow) and eventually my body will look as though it's changing - probably to other people first, and then to me. I'm excited for when others notice - that helps me stay motivated. Hearing compliments makes me know that I'm doing something right, even if no one else sees it right away. Hmmm.... Maybe that's a part of what has kept me on this plateau for a while. The comments stopped. People have seen me post-weight loss and now I'm normal to them. Those comments really helped drive me to keep going. So now, with my new plan, I'm hoping to continue to show changes... Hopefully in four weeks someone else will notice and comment. Those comments would keep me going for sure.
My body image isn't so bad that I have terrible self-esteem. I do not. I have no concerns about body dismorphic disorder or any other body image related issue. In fact, in some ways my might be a little too large. Sometimes I probably come across as being somewhat vain. Let's face it, I KNOW I'm a gorgeous girl. I don't think that publicly admitting to that makes me a bad person. It makes me honest though... Just like admitting the opposite makes me honest. For some reason more people are accepting of the opposite though. Anyway, on most days I feel good about myself, but some days I do not.... Other than writing it here and commenting to my Mom or boyfriend, I would never say admit that to anyone else.
Speaking of my boyfriend....
I notice that I'm the opposite of a lot of people. Many times when people find true happiness they "let themselves go." I seem to find more motivation to take care of myself when that happens. I want to look and, more importantly, feel my best. Feeling good (and looking good) just seems to go hand-in-hand with happiness. There's a funny someecard that I saw that says, "I'm currently in training to be the hottest girlfriend you've ever had." In a way, for me, that seems true. I want to push harder and be healthier to look as amazing as possible. I think part of it is that I have a fear of "letting myself go" and looking less than attractive again. I will not let that happen. Ever. With that comes the fear of "if I start to look horrible, he might leave." This is not true. I know he cares for me and I know he accepts me. I don't think he would wait until I looked awful and then just leave. He's a good guy, not an ass. I do think (hope) that he would be honest and tell me if I was starting to look bad so that I could get a handle on it. Honesty is brutal sometimes, but I've asked a few people in my life to point things like that out to me. So far my Dad's done the best at that job.
Anyway... So I want to continue to look good for him, and look even better, for him. Not because he's asked me to but because it's what I want to do. He's a really attractive (hot) guy and sometimes I look at him and think, "wow...he's with me...?" Mostly though it's the happiness I feel. I'm so happy and want to continue to feel so super happy. And partly because in my female brain, on days my self-image isn't so great, I worry. Isn't it funny how we can know something, but we still listen to those little voices? Lucky for me, those little voices are quieter than the voices who are reminding me how happy I am and how fantastic I feel. So while I continue to be selfish and do this for me, he's a part of it. I mean, I want to look my best for him. He tells me I'm gorgeous, pretty, hot, and sexy frequently. He shows affection and seems like he's proud to be with me (he says I'm "the whole package" so I think he knows what a great catch he has - haha!). He's happy too; with me. Right now. Not 15 less pound from now. I don't think that his feelings about me are going to change based on weight, but let's be honest...He will probably think I'm more attractive a few less pounds from now. That's just human nature, I think. I don't think that he'll find me any less attractive if I lose 15 pounds or stay where I am. Actually he might find me more attractive, simply because I'll have more confidence. And cconfidence? Is hot.
So... My body image needs some work. I really feel like being in control of what I'm putting into my body and what I'm burning off is a huge factor in that. I feel good when I am being healthy. When I feel good, I look at my body differently and actually think that I look good. One thing I'll say for myself is that I am able to recognize how I feel when I'm behaving myself. I've learned to worry less about how I look and focus more on how I feel. So far that seems to be working well for me. My body image isn't totally where it should be yet, but it's come a very long way!!!
Some of what makes me feel like I'm doing so well is sore muscles and let me tell you... Are my muscles sore today!! I did shoulders and triceps on Monday and I was super sore last night, and am still a little sore today. Yesterday was leg day (oooohhh the delicious torture!) and I'm for sure feeling it today. I'd say I feel it most in my quads (obviously they haven't gotten as much work), some in my hamstrings, and a little (only when I flex) in my calves. Oh! And a little in my glutes because, of course, the leg moves I did worked the glutes too! I'm a little sore when I get up and down, and a little when I just walk normally... Those quads are letting me know that they're here!! Today is cardio and ab day, so we'll see how that goes. I have a feeling my run will be somewhat slow because of the muscle soreness in the quads...BUT... Maybe not. We will see. I'm running either way; fast or slow. I'm sure that it won't be so bad once I get into it.
I"m really loving this strength training and new way of eating. I still maintain my calories, probably thanks to the amount of protein in my diet that keeps me full. I'm also eating frequently. I really hope that this focus on strength and muscle building combined with the changed diet holds up to my expectations. At any rate, I'm still healthy and not harming my body - so even if I don't lose weight or look anywhere near what I'd like to, it wouldn't be a loss. I'm not ready to maintain and don't want to do it for too long, but that's better than gaining!!
I suppose I should wrap it up so I can get that workout done! I'm looking forward to doing abs and to the run.... I think I'll do abs first and then do 30 minutes on the torturemill. Actually, the torturemill hasn't been so bad the last few days. It's been so hot outside that I'm enjoying the cool basement. And because I'm slow and getting back into the swing of things by doing a run/walk method, I feel better about it in my basement. 30 minutes isn't so bad.... More than that would start to wear on me though!
Happy Wednesday!! Stay healthy!