Body Image...transforming my mind along with my body.
I came across an interesting post today, where a member
who is very close to her goal is struggling not with the number on the scale,
but how she feels about the way her body looks. This isn't the first time I
have heard people who have lost an extreme amount of weight express concern
about their goals. One person who responded quite aptly stated goal weight
doesn't always equal ideal body. So how does one become satisfied,
and happy with their body, despite weight?
I had a freak out about 2 months ago over the same issue. I googled all these pages about what happens with loose skin after weight loss, how to mitigate it, how to get rid of stretch marks, batwings...etc. At one point I was actually considering stopping weight loss all together if "the twin sisters" kept deflating!! I am not big on plastic surgery or any procedure that causes pain or downtime, yet and still here I was, pricing tummy tucks. I was needlessly scaring myself.
Eventually I calmed down and realized that I wasn’t done attaining my goal, and couldn’t judge yet how I was “going” to look. In fact I hear that it takes about a year after maintaining goal weight for the skin to snap to, and firm up. I acknowledged that I had to come to terms with the fact that yes, though I am healthier than I've ever been, and thinner than when I was in college, I also have stretch marks, extra skin, and gravity "issues". The physical road map of my life was permanently etched on me, like tattoos, and they weren’t blemishes but marks of honor. These ARE NOT FLAWS. It is so important to understand that the idea that these should be hidden or faded is “sold” to us by a media that on a daily basis airbrushes, and photoshops reality into fantasy. I am not an hourglass, and will never be. Yes I will never have a job modeling bikinis, (I didn’t want that job anyway). I will however be the most awesome, attractive, healthy, intelligent, insightful, gorgeous, lean me I can possibly be. Hey, I am most of those already!!!!
Everyday I am becoming more successful in conquering my body image issues. I have been retraining my mind along with my body, because deep down I know MY weight issues were initially a result of low self-esteem.
I have started bolstering my self esteem by taking small but effective steps:
1. Lately I’ve been taking a TON of photos and deleting the ones I dislike!! This is especially fun in a fitting room with outfits you can't afford -take a friend! Why buy magazines to look at photo-enhanced ideals of beauty that aren’t real. Make your own style book with you as the model.
2. I have made it a point to purchase clothes that fit and look good on my body NOW. I don't want to wear clothes that are too big. I might save a buck but I would look and feel awful about myself.
3. I glam it up with make-up EVERYDAY. I keep it natural and flattering, or bold if I’m in the mood. This simple act reminds me that I'm worth the time it takes to put on lip color, eye shadow and mascara. I look, feel and act gorgeous.
4. I am daily discovering things I like about my body, and not focusing on the pouch, the bat wings, or the thigh flab. I impress myself with the fact that I can do 20 push-ups without a break, and that I can run up 5 flights of stairs without losing breath. The fact that I can wear a tight dress or blouse (without spanx) and not have any "rolls" delights me to NO END! I giggle just thinking about it.
5. I am also learning how to recieve a compliment. It was very hard at first because I never felt I deserved them, and I convinced myself that they were fake, empty words. But now when I hear someone say, "wow you are so skinny!" (even when I feel I still am not) or "hey you look amazing!" I internalize it and hoard it like GOLD! Every head that turns, each compliment on your style, hair, shoes, clothes, maybe even a flirtatious smile sent your way is WELL EARNED.
I am not at my goal weight yet, but as I approach, my mind and body will eventually meet in the middle, and my” ideal body” will be one that I am just as happy and blessed in as I am right now.