Lately, my calves have felt as thick as anacondas. And my stomach is showing signs of too many drumsticks--not the chicken kind, but the chocolate-covered kind. And then yesterday, during my longest bike ride in years (65 miles!), I spent way too much time fixating on the fact that my upper arms just jiggled and jiggled. And...and...and...
Even though I've got a tall frame and a healthy BMI, my body image is, more often than not, far from healthy. I hate that. I hate that after a great triathlon a couple weeks ago, I can still fixate on the fact that I can feel my stomach double over on itself. I hate that I still see myself as collection of body parts and not the cohesive, capable whole that I know it is. I hate that I doubt I will ever think of my body as perfect or even lovely.
I've graduated from high school and college, maintained a marriage, bought a house, given birth to two kids, run thousands of miles, but when I'm on a PMS, negative-self-talk tear, I can reduce my whole life to how far my thighs spread across a chair.
I try to avoid the downward spiral, of course, because it serves no.good.at.all. Here are some ways that work for me:
1. I stay off the scale, which is definitely tough. But if I can bypass it, I can avoid an emotional landmine. Because if I'm feeling large and bloated and that's reflected in the scale, it pretty much validates my bad mood and my thoughts about myself. Embarrassing to admit, but there it is.
2. I try not to read People, US Weekly or any other celebrity-driven magazine. I used to get week-old copies from some generous neighbors and read them in bed, and I realized looking at pictures of celebs, so well-dressed and made-up--minus the Stars! They're just like us! feature--just made me feel crappy about myself. So I rarely do it anymore. Unless I'm at the dentist office, where I'm going to feel crappy anyway.
3. I force myself to work out. Sure, the endorphins help, but really, it's my secret trick to not eating as much junk during the day. I don't know what chemical is released, but when I sweat in the morning, I swear sugar isn't as appealing. I still eat it, of course, but not in the quantities and frequency I do when I've let my bad mood sink my motivation.
4. I avoid Fitspiration. Usually on Pinterest, these images are supposed to be motivating. The words usually are, but the bodies--the sleek, photo-shopped bodies--convey a totally other reality.
I should admit, though, that I do love the words-only messages. (Or rare pictures of more realistic women.)
5. I wish my last tip was some positive self-affirmation, mentally reframing my calves or arms, but I'm not mature enough for that. So I ignore myself--and tell myself that if anybody is watching or judging me, it's their problem, not mine. I crank the tunes and just tune out.
So I feel like I'm standing in front of you naked, with all my jiggles and dimples and wrinkles exposed. I know I'm far from the only one who struggles with this, so I want to know: how do you deal with your bad body-image days?