Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Looking in the mirror and wishing the reflection was different

I wish an entire day would pass where every time I looked in the mirror I would be happy with the reflection staring back at me. Most of the time I almost don't look at that person in the mirror because I don't like what I see. Usually the person staring back at me has chipmunk cheeks, a double chin, thunder thighs, and a pudgy stomach and the person I wish I saw, the cute, tiny girl with the 6-pack abs, is no where in sight. Even more painful than looking in a mirror is getting on a scale. Every time I do it my heart feels like it's about to beat out of my chest and I turn purple from holding my breath because I'm so scared of what the numbers are going to read.
It's amazing how much I think about my weight. If I could change anything about myself, the only thing would be my weight. I wake up in the morning and the first thing I do is look in the mirror and see what the damage from yesterday's food has done to my reflection. I then find an outfit that is least likely to show that I have a stomach. Throughout the day, every time I eat when I'm around someone I get self conscious and I feel like they are judging me. The worst is when I first meet someone and tell them I'm a runner. If they are surprised I automatically assume it's because of the way I look. I'm tired of the negative weight thoughts continuously cycling through my mind. Why can't I be happy with the way I look and why do I feel so much pressure to be stick thin?
I believe that a lot of that pressure comes from a combination of my sensitivity and growing up with and extremely athletic family. Both of my mom's brothers and their wives race in marathons, triathlons, and adventure races. As if just doing the race isn't studly enough, they generally place. My uncles are tall and slim and my aunts are teeny tiny, so it definitely shows how active they are. Before I see them, I always feel extreme pressure to lose a bunch of weight just to gain their acceptance. The only time I felt like I measured up to them at all was after my first season working as a park ranger in Rocky Mountain National Park. After that summer, I was 10 lbs. thinner than I am now. In my 3 1/2 months working in the Rockies I hiked 350 miles on top of running regularly and eating very little. I remember getting off of the plane and my aunts and uncles were actually impressed when they saw me. It felt so good to finally feel like I was one of them.
I also have a lot of pressure coming from my dad. Every time I see him he always makes a comment about my weight, if I'm exercising, or what I've been eating. It hurts when your own father tells you that it looks like you've gained some weight or you are going to get fat because you're not working out. After enough times of hearing it, I can't help but start to believe it.
I've come a long way from a few years ago. I broke the neck of my femur from over training and not enough nutrients (after my summer in the Rockies), which forced me to re-evaluate my exercise and diet habits and come to terms with not being able to exercise for a few months. I am happy with the way I look sometime and I try to find things about myself that I do like. I also try to appreciate all the things that my body does for me. I am healthy and I can run, climb, do yoga, and hike. I just wish the little voice in the back of my head nagging me to be skinnier would disappear forever. One day I'm hoping that I will wake up and never be unhappy about my body again.

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