Body Image and Weight Loss
Hi everyone, I’m Amber from Girl with the Red Hair. Lisa asked me to do a guest post for her and I’m here to talk about body image.
Growing up, I kind of hated my body and dreamed of being skinnier, taller, and tanner. Ring a bell? I dreamed of looking like girls in magazines. This of course resulted in me going on “diets” (starting when I was approximately 8 years old). As I got older my body confidence improved and I credit a lot of that to the sports I played. The one thing I always have been is active. I grew up playing volleyball and baseball and I played hockey competitively from the time I was 13 until 18.
I gained about 20 pounds my first year of college and any confidence I had before went down the drain and I found myself constantly comparing my body to other peoples.
In January of 2008 I made a New Years resolution to lose weight once and for all. I started tracking my calories and food intake and the weight kind of fell off. You can read about my whole healthy living journey here. Despite losing all that weight, I still didn’t have a lot of body confidence. Friends and family were telling me how great I looked and I would just kind of smile and nod because I didn’t feel great.
In January 2009 I started running. Even though I didn’t lose a bunch more weight from the running something inside of me clicked. I felt strong and confident for the first time in a long, long time.
Since then I have ran three half-marathons and one marathon. I no longer ALLOW myself to think bad things about my body because whenever I do, I remind myself of all the things it has done for me. I remind myself that I have big thighs because I can run for hours and that even though my stomach might be a little flabby, my legs are solid muscle. I remind myself that life is too short to worry about the last few pounds I have to lose.
In the end, it wasn’t losing weight that gave me body confidence. It was running, and yoga, and weight lifting and starting to move my body in all these fun, exciting ways. I’ve finally learned that confidence really is the best accessory, no matter what size you are.
Do you have good body image? What part of your life do you credit with giving you the most body confidence?
Lisa’s Note: Thank you so much Amber for sharing your story! I can relate to Amber’s experience of finding self-esteem and positive body image because of running. Being able to use your body to do something amazing like that is a huge confidence booster!