I want to share this article about a man’s struggle with his body image throughout his life, both because I think it’s important that we acknowledge that negative body image is an everyone problem – not just a girl problem – and because I think it does a good job of getting to the true nature of image-related self-confidence; it’s about more than just how you look.
I recently talked about how my confidence has improved quite a bit as the number on my scale has dropped, but I know that there’s a lot more to it than that: looking good isn’t enough, you have to feel good too. And that’s something I am still continuously working on. I think this article is a great reminder, for everyone, to focus on both.
My total time was 1:52:21.48, which puts me at an average pace of about 11:23 min/mi, which was waaaaaay slower than my goal pace of 10:00 min/mi. However, despite my lack of ability to come anywhere near my goal, I still won my age group and ended up earning a free sub from Jimmy Johns! (That was the best part.)
At the very end of my last fitness post, I mentioned the importance of having goals that make you feel like you’re exercising because you want to, not because you feel like you have to. And that is absolutely one of the most essential elements of keeping up with a fitness program; you have to be doing it for the right reasons. Let me explain.
When I first started going to the gym on a regular basis, I was doing it to lose weight. That’s a common goal, and I was serious about it, but the problem was that I had limited motivation for doing it. I mentioned last time that I had several mental breakdowns out of frustration – I was losing weight, but slowly enough that I couldn’t see a visible difference, and I had never been overweight so I didn’t feel like it was that important that I continue to lose it. Essentially, weight loss was too slow to seem like I was making any progress and not important enough for me to accept that progress would be slow.
I did keep going, in part with the help of my boyfriend’s emotional support and in part because I was training for a 10K and I didn’t want to hold back the friend I would be running with, but working out absolutely felt like a chore and I had to use mind tricks to get myself to continue doing it. I wish I had known at the time that there’s a better and easier way:
Set Readily Achievable Goals Unrelated to Physical Appearance
I originally intended to write a post about nutrition today, but then I made this amazing creation for dinner last night and it was so delicious that I felt it would be a crime against humanity not to share it, so here it is. Nutrition will have to wait until Friday.
This was honestly one of those most amazing things I have ever cooked. I ate everything you see in that picture above and as soon as I finished it I was both stuffed and disappointed that I couldn’t eat more. If I’d had another avocado I probably would have made more. AND it only took like twenty minutes to make, start to finish. PLUS for one of the chicken breasts you see in that picture it’s only about 300 calories. Amazing.
There are a lot of things, body image-wise, that I’ve become more confident about since I started working out on a regular basis. It’s difficult for me to attribute most of those to an increase in confidence since they came from an actual improvement in how I look, however, there’s one thing that I’ve become more confident about that most certainly has not changed: my ponytail.
I used to hate putting my hair up. I’d do it when I had to (read: my hair was too greasy to leave down), but I was so self-conscious about it that it was literally distracting to me – for nearly the entire time I had it up. That was, I used to… until I started working out.
I missed my post on Friday because I was off on an adventure. A football adventure!
Important context for this story: I went to a school that does not have a football team. I grew up in Big Ten land, but neither of my parents were really into sports so I don’t believe that I had previously been to a college sporting event of any sort, let alone any kind of football game. (There is one exception to both of those rules, and that is the Rose Bowl two years ago, but for some reason that just feels very different to me. Probably because the Rose Bowl is a way bigger deal than any random game. BUT. Moving on.)
For anyone who was not aware, college football is a really big deal in the south. That has become incredibly clear even in just the month that I’ve been in South Carolina so far, from the radio, from listening to my coworkers, from the incredible availability of Clemson and USC paraphernalia everywhere…. Just take my word for it. It’s huge.