Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Body Image Issues

The last couple weeks I’ve been having an issue with my body image.  I haven’t been berating myself for letting myself regain the weight I had lost in the first 3 months of the year with that 90-day challenge I did.  But I have been getting down about how I look in the mirror.  Like, I don’t mind how I look from the side.  My stomach doesn’t poof out over the top of my underwear from the side and looks fairly flat, even if it’s fuller than I’d like it to be.  But then I turn to the front and I see how squishy my stomach looks and how lumpy my hips are and I just feel disgusted.  I’m really trying to not feel that way about what I see in the mirror…but it’s hard.  And really, it’s not what I see in the mirror that is the actual issue.  What I think I’m actually disgusted with is the fact that I keep losing and gaining and losing and gaining the same 15-30 lbs and I’m so tired of it and fed up with it.  I’m ready to be done with this whole losing weight process and be a maintainer.  I know maintenance won’t be any easier, but at least I wouldn’t have to worry from one month to the next whether or not my clothes will fit or look good on me. 
What can I do about this?  Well, I can make sure that this is the last time I have to go through the whole losing weight thing.  I can stick to my eating plans and make healthier choices, not eat food just because it’s there (ie-spreads at work for going away parties, birthdays, etc).  I can also keep up with working out 5 days a week…and keep up with the variety of the workouts.  Now that I’m pretty sure my break from running is mostly over (but I’m not going to be running more than twice a week for another couple weeks yet…then I’ll start my 12 week marathon training program…d’oh, only 12 weeks, but it is what it is, right?), I can have even MORE variety because I’ll be running once or twice a week on top of the other things.  I want to keep cycling once a week and the gym twice a week.  I have a couple options there.
• gym twice a week, by itself
• cycling one a week, by itself
• running twice a week, by itself
Double up workouts as follows:
• cycling + gym one day
• short run + gym one day
• longer run by itself
• workout DVD
• a “workout” run (ie-speedwork, hills)
There are other ways I can break up the workouts to make sure I’m getting all my cross training in every week, that is just 2 examples.  Since I’ll be starting up an abbreviated marathon training program in a couple weeks, I need to start working on that schedule and figuring out how I’m going to do everything.  I think I’m going to keep it to 3 runs a week.  I’m not going for any time goals with my marathons.  I just want to have fun and finish within the time limits.
How will all this impact my body image?  Well, if I’m doing everything I possibly can to ensure that I’m as healthy as I can be and as physically fit as I can be, then I’m bound to just feel better about my appearance in general.  I will be able to focus more on my body’s strengths rather than its very few short comings.  This past week, even though I am dealing with accepting a 1 pound gain on the scale and trying to keep it in perspective (only .1% gained in body fat, so therefore the gain was most likely mostly muscle gain) and not be upset about it, when working out I’ve been trying to focus on how much more defined my muscles are now that I’m doing strength training on a regular basis.  I’ve been trying to focus on the fact that, thanks to muscle memory, I have been able to steadily bump up the amount of weight I’m lifting on all exercises over the past 3+ weeks. 
I think that if I can keep increasing my focus on how my body is functioning and how strong it is and how shapely my arms and shoulders and back are and how nice my legs look in a running skirt, I think I will be alright. 

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