Struggles with Body Image or the Battle of the Bulge

I have never had a great body image. That is not me up there BTW....

When I was around 28 years old I was on a hot fast rowing team, the light weight woman at the Argonaut rowing club in Toronto. It was a glorious experience of reaching ones personal goals, unmarried and without children I could train as much as I wanted. My entire life revolved around my training schedule and our races during the year, what I ate, whom I socialized with and the things I did.. Though excessive, it was a heady bonding experience hanging out with 8 super woman all ambitious, smart, intelligent, fit and funny. Most weeks we trained hard upwards of 25 hours a week, it was intense, our winters were filled with other training activities, cross country skiing, daily workouts on a rowing machine, running and weight lifting. We worked hard to reach our common goal.

Looking back I was a buff 125 lbs, 5’7 with 13 % body fat. I could hardly have been skinnier or fitter… but I still did not like my body…


I think back to the way I used to obsess about my (skinny) thighs then, the (little) lump on my belly and any other perceived imperfections. *Brother*....It makes me cringe. In my career as a fashion designer images of the runway girls were the ideals I kept in my head, and no matter what I did those ideals could never be reached.

My body revealed its true purpose to me while gestating, birthing and feeding our 2 babies. I appreciate it a great deal more than I ever have, but none the less… I do not like my body any better. It has always felt less than acceptable and I am always trying to loose that phantom 20 lbs. I have clothes that I have not fit into for 15 years and I am STILL waiting for the day that I can wear them again…

I am not quite sure exactly WHAT I am waiting for, which magic elixer will be the one that will finally make it happen for me.

During our trip to Spain last summer I was flabbergasted to see obese woman at the beach in teeny tiny bikinis, proudly posing with distended bellies and enormous drooping breasts in front of cameras for their families. Though the average European seems slimmer than the average North American, and even though not every one is a perfect shape, Europeans seem to have an innate pride in themselves and how they look. Folks seem to be well kept and dressed no matter what their shape and it looks great. We know a woman who is not overly attractive, who is a little overweight and does not have a desirable shape but she dresses well, takes care of herself and projects a happy positive attitude. Not only does she draw people to her like a magnet but she looks JUST GORGEOUS!
This set me to thinking. I am tired of all the social pressure to be thin, unrealistic and unattainable goals, all these ideals about how we SHOULD be… the idea if it is not perfect then we must hide it...I need to revamp my idea of what is attractive…and I need to do it NOW…

Thirty pounds overweight and not in shape, I have come to realize that I feel exactly the same way in my skin now as I did when I was buff and fit…not so great…*Huh??*
I decided to hold my very own bikini revolution and this summer and so before our holidays, with great determination I threw caution to the wind and bought me some bikinis of my own, a hot lime green one, a funky striped purple one, and a brown one…

And I wore them (in public) too!! (well like not at the grocery store but you know what I mean...)

It felt liberating some how to say…I know I'm no model but I DON‘T CARE!!! I REALLY DON’T CARE!!!!!

This is for ME!!!

It felt great, and yes Ally Mc Beal I’m not…. I am done with obsessing about it waiting for I don’t know what…

It is high time I start to love me for me lumps and all. I realize it ain’t gonna get much better than it is right now, so what am I waiting for? Maybe this will help someone else who feels the same way I do like our gorgeous round friend has unknowingly inspired me…

I’m not waiting any longer!!! *standing on chair in bikini shouting…*

Hear that everyone!! ...(still looking to loose that 20 lbs tho..)!?!


Beth said...

Hurray for you! I wore a two piece bathing suit this summer for the first time in years - and it felt good.
Granted, while sitting down I couldn't help but notice that "little" (!) tummy bulge but I'm working on trying not give a rip...

Stinkypaw said...

Good for you! So many of us (women and men alike) are "stuck" when it comes to our body image. It's sad!

I've written a post about this in August, check it out if you want (http://stories-2-tell.blogspot.com/2007/08/so-im-fat.html)

it does feel good to be liberated, doesn't it?!

oreneta said...

I have to say, you were indeed wearing that bikini this summer, and looking, as usual, stunning. I am sorry that you have felt this way, because I have always thought that you were lovely and beautiful. When you were buff and fit, when you were pregnant, when you were nursing, and now.

For what it is worth as we drove back from the cottage (why didn't I tell you this earlier) the girls in the back seat had a conversation about how beautiful you are. You and one other friend, who no one would ever describe as runway beautiful, made the top two beautiful women they knew; and they do know skinny assed big titted women who are barbie shaped, as much as a normal human without implants can be.

They think you are gorgeous too.

So there.

Love ya.

Misspudding said...

Oh, you know I am so with you on this one.

It absolutely shouldn't matter what size our waist is. "We are beautiful, no matter what they saaaay..."

Anonymous said...

*cheering* That attitude is what will get noticed...not the imperfections.

Nomad said...

Hi Beth;I LOVE that..."I don't give a rip..."

Stinkypaw; Thanks for dropping by!! I did read it (BTW your link did not take me to it) I had to search for it on blogspot, great blog though, will try to drop by.

Oreneta;*Furious blushing**semi speachless*

For one (me that is) who seems to be perpetually oscillating between not giving a rip as Beth so beautifuly puts it to desperately wishing I was something I was not- I am SO flattered.

Kiss those girls for me!! (Made my day in fact!!)

You are all too sweet!!

(Makes me wonder what makes some of us like this and others not??)

Miss P (sounds like a hip hop girl star!!) Yeah I so agree with you...but sadly easier said than done...

Thanks Trish, so hard to remember that though no??

Annie said...

I remember being 15 years old, weighing 115 pounds, probably about 5'5" then and wearing jeans all summer because my thighs looked fat to me.

I'm tired of not going swimming because I've got an extra 25 pounds that I can't stand to see in the ugly lights of the fitting room in order to purchase a new swimsuit that fits this body.. I've decided that this is it... I will work my butt off to get in shape (meaning fit, healthy, as flexible as I can become) this winter and next summer... I'm not going to miss out on anything because I don't think my body is good enough to take out in public - I'm getting a swimsuit and going to the beach in whatever body I end up with... and that's all there is to it!


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A Canadian expatriate living and exploring first France now Germany, then BACK to FRANCE (!!!) with her family; former fashion designer, turned unexpected UNLIKELY NOMAD, raising two children, writing, photographing, painting, playing piano (who knew!!) and blogging - and now... full time student at ART SCHOOL!! (I MUST be crazy!!)