A Little Reflection...

So I had a bit of an epiphany today.

I’ve always struggled with body image. Lately it’s been worse, because of the whole weight loss thing. I lost 25 pounds–I went from being a sedentary, out-of-shape couch potato who ate like crap to a clean-eating run-a-holic.

This is not a bad thing.

Becoming obsessed with weight loss and calorie counting, on the other hand, was. Repeatedly sneaking away to the bathroom to stick my fingers down my throat is even worse. But it happened, and here I am.

So I decided to stop. I am now at a very healthy weight for my height and am in very good physical shape.

But my mind is still struggling.

Even though I’m trying to make a conscious effort to stop, I still count calories sometimes. Just this morning minutes ago I tallied up the calories in my oatmeal for breakfast. It feels safe, comfortable. But it’s also tortuous. Having my life reduced to numbers is horrible and I’m sick of it.

But today I had an moment of realization.

I had just gotten out of the shower. My calf muscles were still tight, and the indentation on my forehead from my headband was still (annoyingly) there. I had just run 4 miles. After 2 weeks of no long distance running, only intervals on the treadmill, my body was still willing–and more than able–to carry me 4 miles in less than 40 minutes. I felt amazing. On top of the world. Like a caged bird set free.

And what was my first thought when I looked at myself in the mirror?

Wow, my thighs sure look chunky today.

I paused, and took a second to think that over. Another voice piped up–much louder this time–and said this:

HOLD THE FUCK UP. Are you serious? Those pillars of pure awesome just dragged your stupid butt 4 miles, over hills and across rivers, and you have the fucking gall to call them CHUNKY?

And it hit me. How could I do this to myself? All my legs do everyday is take me where I want to go. They hike up hills, jump over puddles, schlep through mud, toddle over ice, race over the trails, and here I stand trying to tear them apart.

And it’s not just my legs that I have abused. I’ve called my tummy ugly, horrible, disgusting, when all it does is sit there and keep my insides warm and occasionally act as an awesome pillow for my dog. I’ve called my arms flubby, even though they’ve helped me win dozens of tennis matches, create incredible art, and hold my loved ones close. I’ve hated my breasts, my butt, my ears, my hand, because they don’t look like this, or they can’t do that, or what ever.

And it has to stop.

So I took a good, hard look at myself in the mirror. I scrutinized every lump and bump, the curves of muscle and fat and tendons, the freckles and spots and scars.

And I let myself fall a little in love.

I’m not saying that my relationship with my body will be prefect from now on and that I’ll never be overly critical of myself ever again, but I really, truly started to love my body today. It was like a weight off my shoulders. I was able to look down at the curve of my tummy, my thighs, my everything, and felt genuine affection and happiness bubble up in my chest. It felt so simple, but so mind-blowing.

It’s only a little, but it’s a start. And I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship, my body and I :)