To say I have a problem with body image is to Mitt Romney might be a Republican. My struggle with weight has existed since college. While many put on freshman 15, I put on freshman 40 (+/-). My face puffed and my calves, which are usually fat free expanded with cellulite as well. I have a pictures where my potbelly looks like I’m 6 months pregnant. It’s been a struggle. Often a struggle of which I was unaware, but a struggle nonetheless. During my last Obgyn visit in 2010 my doctor told me I needed to lose 50lbs. A few months ago I went to the emergency room with chest pains. At a follow-up visit the doctor told me I was strong, but I “needed to lose weight.” I can pack on 20 lbs in a season without thinking about it.
One of the biggest issues that comes with these weight fluctuations is a skewed body image. No matter how much I weigh, when I look in the mirror I see that 6 months pregnant not actually pregnant 19 year old. This is a picture of my back a few months ago. My bra is too small and back fat is spilling out the sides. The thing is about 2 years ago this bra fit perfectly, and was, in fact, an eensy bit too big.
I spent the summer leading backpacking trips and had less than enough food to eat. I remember cooking a red pepper with an onion, adding salsa, and putting it in a corn tortilla. I couldn’t afford bus fare to and from work, so I’d bike the 10+ miles to and from the base each day I was in the front country. Seattle ain’t flat. In the back country I’d carry a pack between 50 & 80 pounds (+/-) and hike 2-7 miles daily. I was in great shape.
It is nearly impossible for me to maintain that level of fitness in the front country. Fitness was my entire life. The problem with the off-season is that I was not burning the same amount of calories, I consumed relatively the same amount of calories if not more, and I wasn’t consuming the same quality of calories (Red Hot Blues vs. G.O.R.P.). As a result, I needed to find a way to burn a large amount of calories + go to work and lead an urban life. Not simple. I’m not a fan of pretend exercise. I don’t want to go to the gym. I’d rather hike 14 miles to get from one campsite to another. With the hiking it’s mandatory exercise. The gym is pretend.
I started roller derby in June of 2012. I skated about 3 times a week from June until August. I was in a different kind of shape. Just look at my legs. Here is a picture of me in July or August of 2012.
My rectus femoris (totally had to look that up) are AMAZING. My gracilis (again with the look up) are lacking. I know you can’t “spot” burn fat, but that’s a place I would if I could. I’d like to accomplish a few things:
1. Reconcile what I look like in the mirror with what I see in pictures, and what is true in real life. There is a huge disconnect for me.
2. Develop an eating lifestyle that is not reward based and does not lend itself to stress or emotional eating
3. Understand that women are different. Websites like My Body Gallery are fantastic. I don’t need to look like:
No matter how much weight I lose I won’t be shaped like them. My body is built to climb mountains not to grace the covers of magazines stocked on shelves in a society that oversexualizes women. Their bodies are beautiful. I just don’t need to make them the mile marker for my own.
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