Jumbled Thoughts: How Blogging Fueled My Body Image Issues
Posted Jan 29 2013 6:21am
Warning: This post is kind of a hot mess. A jumbled mess of thoughts that kept coming to me and may not flow well.
I was very fortunate growing up. I never really had to worry about my weight since I was either in gymnastics class, playing soccer, dancing, or doing various other sports nearly every night of the week. Even after I quit training full-time as a gymnast and dropped track (I’m sorry running, I just didn’t realize I loved you yet. With time we got there though, that’s all that matters) I was still very active and continued with other sports throughout high school.
I very distinctly remember the first time I looked in the mirror and truly, honestly, thought “oh my god. What is THAT?” (Referring to fat that sprung up what felt like over night) It was after I had ovarian surgery in 2010. It was fleeting, after recovery I started my journey to a truly healthy life and found my love for running and saw my body return to it’s regular shape and size…. So the body image issue thing was always a bit perplexing to me.
Until I started reading blogs. I’m a runner. I’m obsessed with yoga. I like to learn about the newest findings in the health world. I like to keep my body looking and feeling good. I like to read about people’s inspirational journeys to health and fitness. So, naturally I was attracted to healthy living and running blogs…. When I started my blog, I talked about MY kind of healthy living and running a lot. However, I hardly consider myself in either of those categories. Although my association with FitFluential, SweatPink, and Oakley Women kind of contradict that statement. I don’t label this blog. It’s just 100% me. I had no idea what would come of Wild Things RUN Free. I had no idea it would take off as much as it has.
With that being said, there appear to be a ton of healthy-living blogs in the blogosphere who are living the complete opposite life of a healthy one. Preaching so many scary, terrible habits that can do some serious damage to women (and men) all over the world. People read our blogs because they either find us relatable, entertaining, or inspirational. If they find you inspirational they are likely to take your advice and follow in your footsteps. Telling them to gulp down workout enhancers, and push a small pile of vegetables around on a plate a couple of times a day is just not healthy living, in my opinion. The amount of times since really getting in to the blog scene that I have said to myself “oh my gosh I just want to shove a burger in her mouth” or have had to remind a friend “food is fuel” kind of scares me, and makes me really sad. I’m deeply sorry if this offends any of my friends in the blogosphere, but a multi grain hotdog bun filled with a few pieces of spinach, a large carrot, and some PB2 is NOT good fuel for your body. Food is meant to be seen as yummy, tasety fuel. It is supposed to help our bodies recover. Fuels our crazy workday, hectic social schedules, amazing workouts and sound nights sleep. The idea of ingesting 80% chemical laden food and preaching about HEALTH seems like such an oxymoron. There are certainly times for a protein shake, an energy bar, or even protein brownies if you so feel inclined.. But certainly not every day. Certainly not for your main source of energy.
Sometimes I feel like I don’t fit in with some of my blogging peers what-so-ever, because I don’t diet. I eat healthy about 70-75% of the time, the other 25-30%?? Ice cream sundaes, the occasional burger, and oh sweet mother of everything holy, onion rings . On the weekends, I enjoy some adult cocktails and sometimes wake up Sunday morning with a headache. I am not “skinny”…. And quite frankly up until very recently I was perfectly okay with that fact that my size is just normal.
What tipped me over the edge? Blogs and self comparison. After a while it is hard not to compare yourselves to others. You see others making strides on their weight loss journey and you realize you’re just kind of there. I am running further, and faster times than when I first started this blog two years ago (significantly so) but I am not weighing any less, and I don’t look any better in the photos I post. You see people post fitspo pictures of themselves day in and day out on their blogs and their instagram.. A lot of them completely unhealthy with ribcages sticking out… But its still hard when you stand in the mirror and see nothing remotely similar.
It really struck me in Utah when I was at the Oakley Women Summit.. Every photo that was posted I thought to myself “I am the fattest girl in this room. Wow I am the fattest girl in this photo” I certainly didn’t feel this way in June when we were all in Napa . The very few pounds I have put on, aren’t what’s causing this psychological break down.
I am not perfect. I am not a size 0. You can only see my abs certain days of the week. Every time a friend posts a picture of me on instagram or facebook I immediately get embarrassed and think to myself “I look so fat”. I go into panic mode and try to figure out how I can eat and exercise out this terrible feeling. THAT IS NOT HEALTHY.
I am a healthy woman, rationally, I know this. I run (well ya know… when I’m not sidelined with a grade II ankle sprain) I do yoga multiple times a week. I eat whole, real, foods a majority of the time. I left smoking behind with my past. I let go of toxic relationships/friendships. I also believe in splurging and balancing the good and the bad. (aka living a little) This to me, is HEALTHY. Not being 100% in the no carbs, no this, no that category but knowing the difference between “all in or all out” and being able to moderate my actions. That is living a healthy life. Doing what is best for our bodies, mind, and soul. Yes, sometimes eating a pile of onion rings is good for the soul.
Yet, I can’t shake this feeling recently. I find myself reading blogs more and more for the inspiration rather than just the enjoyment. Filling myself up with before and after photos and vowing to myself that I’m going to be better. That next month I’ll have a before and after photo to show.
I am at a weight high right now, but I already know most of you will want to smack me for even complaining about my weight. The rational girl in me knows this.
Why do we let the rational girl in us disappear? Why do we let the irrational woman beat that girl down? What if we stopped comparing ourselves to others? What if we stopped trying to be the thinnest girl and instead just try to be the HEALTHIEST we know how to be for OURSELVES. Fuel our bodies. Laugh often. Exercise frequently. Rest when needed, and stop taking ourselves so seriously.
Life is not an all or nothing battle. Neither should our eating habits.