There was a great post from Brooke Not on a Diet. Shape Magazine asked her to be featured in a "Before and After" Segment, and she sent them her "After" in a bikini.
The magazine wrote back and asked her to send a different picture, one with a shirt on. Read her post, it's awesome. Her story went viral too!
This led me to remember a great post on body image from Lauren Fleshman.
Professional runner Lauren Fleshman had also written two pieces on body image. Here were the two pictures that her first article generated.
Her runway shot: and her track workout shot, same week:
This was her post "Keeping it Real".
Then there was a great follow up article in Runner's World online, the premise being "show us your REAL race photos". Pro runner Lauren Fleshman challenged runners to post unflattering photos of themselves in an effort to "keep it real" and redefine the meaning of beauty. There were great shots of people and their statements about their bodies.
When I viewed this, my race picture immediately came to mind. It's me, triumphant, MMT 2011, finishing my first MMT. My arms are raised. I'm happy.
So why is my next thought, after what a good picture this is, is "wow, my upper arms are really flabby".
Isn't this sad? That this is my second thought, after viewing my triumph, is a self-critical one? Why do we still do this to ourselves?
I don't know if I can blame the magazines or the media. I've been aware for years that I don't have the long-waisted torso of a Victoria's Secret model, or even the more general "shape" of a more typical runner. I haven't bought a Shape/Women's Health/Oxygen/Self magazine in a few years.
I have become more accepting of my own body image, over the last few years, since 2011. Maybe it's because I am getting older, and just don't really give-a-shit anymore? I am still focused on weight loss, still trying to get these last 15 pounds off, but it's more about my power-to-weight ratio. The less I weigh, the faster I can go, the easier I can climb hills or mountains.
Back when I was doing the Reverb13 writing prompts, one was about self-compassion, which I never did get around to writing about. I've always been very heebly-geebly of the whole touchy feely term "self compassion" or "practice self-compassion". I finally looked up the term on the interwebs, and figured it out!
Self compassion is STOP BEATING YOURSELF UP!!!! Geez, why didn't everyone just say this in the beginning? I used to be my own worst critic. I was harder on myself than anyone else. But bit by bit, I guess I have been practicing self compassion over the last few years.
So what am I trying to say here, finally? Revel in those finish line photos. Don't look at the way your muffin top bulges over your running shorts, admire your muscular quads. Be happy with your body and what you are able to accomplish with it. It's not a given that it (your health) will always be there. Celebrate it today!