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Body Image and stuff...

I'm part of a facebook group that has been amazing.  This is a wonderful group of ladies, most of whom I know pretty well.  A friend of mine started this group about a year ago after all of us were commenting pretty much the same things on another friends facebook post.  This group has helped me to stay motivated, they've given me support when I needed it, they've been there for me.  I hope that I have at least motivated a few of the members as they have motivated me. 

A topic that came up last night revolved around body image, self image and self worth.  Here's the thing - we are all beautiful, talented and smart women. We all seem to have one thing in common - body image issues.  I'm not talking self esteem, that's different.  I'm talking about body image.  Body image issues in thrity-something women who happen to be professionals or teachers or super-mamas. 

Somehow when we were all younger, we were somehow impacted and it is still with us today.  One friend was relaying how she felt "fatter" than all the other kids and kids made fun of her.  Another shared some very personal things impacting her body image.  For me, I had to think - I mean I was 130 lbs, 5'8" and everyone told me I was pretty in high school.  But I FELT FAT, so it didn't matter.  Fat because I bigger than most everyone else, or so I thought.  Looking back at pictures now, I wasn't really bigger.  But it was how I felt, and it stuck with me.

This is so different than self esteem to me.  I am a confident person in my work and my personal life for the most part, but I still can't help comparing myself to other people when it comes to body image.  My goal years ago was to get healthy, and if losing weight happened, then great.  I've lost a lot of weight since I started this journey 4 years ago, and I've also stayed at the same weight for good pieces of that time too.  Here I sit, and I look at the tag in my pants and it is a size 12.  And that's all that I can focus on.  Size 12.  Size 12 is considered "fat", and that's crazy.  And it's crazy how much worth or weight that I even put on that.  Even though I've lost a whole heck of a lot of sizes, I still look in the mirror and see that person that had to shop at a plus size store.  I still see that same "fat" person.

Nevermind the idea that I have almost completely reversed my type II diabetes diagnosis.  Nevermind that I went from taking insulin daily to this.  Nevermind that I can run (run/walk) 13.1 miles now and survive.  Nevermind that I can go to the gym and do the "Jacob's Ladder" machine.  Nevermind that everyone around me loves and supports me.  I love myself, I really do.  And I hope one day to love and accept my body.

Having a daughter and wanting to make sure that she grows up HEALTHY and STRONG is so important to me.  I worry she's somehow going to get from me that SHE's not perfect and that SHE has to worry about her body.  Healthy is not the same as skinny, and I hope that I can continue to teach her to be healthy, by being active, by eating healthy, and by just breathing in some fresh air.

I look at the picture that I attached to this post, and what I should see is two beautiful ladies having fun on the greenway.  But I don't.  I see a wonderful kid, and a mama who is fat.

What I learned from the conversation last night is that I AM NOT ALONE.  We look like we have it all together on the outside when we don't.  But I know that I am not alone on this fight.

Cheers friends.


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