Category Archives: Believe You Can

Perceptions

Update: Turns out “all the free time ever” has not allowed me to keep my apartment clean or binge watch Netflix, but I have spent lots of time cooking some pretty bangin’ meals.

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From top left: Spaghetti squash lasagna, wild rice and edamame “salad”, strawberry basil balsamic pizza, and summer veggie pasta skillet

Anyway, that’s not what I’m here to talk about. I’m here to talk about perceptions.

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Just Do It

I’ve wanted to run a marathon for a while. Like, since I first decided to register for a half marathon. Unfortunately, I’ve been too afraid.

I remember when I finished my first 10K I thought to myself, “that wasn’t too bad; I think I could handle a half marathon.” Then when I finished my first half marathon I thought, “NOPE, definitely still can’t do a marathon.” But the problem with things like this (insanely challenging things) is that you probably won’t ever feel ready. So, two weeks ago, in a moment of extreme bravery, I registered for my first marathon.

The race isn’t until December, so I have plenty of time to train, and it’s local so I may have talked a friend into running it with me. Both good things. I’m still very nervous, but I’m looking forward to the challenge.

…and to how badass I’m sure I’ll feel at the end. 🙂

New Experiences

Five weeks ago I let one of my aerials friends talk me into trying a sample pole class. I expected that I would feel silly and embarrassed. I wasn’t excited about having to wear shorts. I was almost positive that I wouldn’t be willing to actually get into pole because once you get past the beginner levels it more or less requires that you expose most of your skin – otherwise you’ll slide right off.

I was right about one thing: I did feel a little bit uncomfortable in my shorts. But aside from that? I was wrong. So very, very wrong.

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Body Confidence

This is a topic that I’ve covered a lot, because body image is something I’ve struggled with for many years. The first time I went on a diet I was in seventh grade (and nowhere near overweight), and I’ve fought a near constant battle over my self-image ever since, as I believe most people do nowadays.

But lately, I have to be honest, I’ve been checking myself out in the mirror everyday. Sometimes several times a day. Definitely when I’m changing so I can admire my new muscles; I’m pretty sure this adds at least a couple minutes to my getting ready time in the morning. And I’m not going to be ashamed of it.

Why? Because I look damn good.

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Motivational Crisis

I have to be honest, I’ve been having a really hard time the past few weeks. I touched on it briefly in a post a few weeks ago, because I thought I’d conquered it, but that was apparently only a temporary fix. It was barely a few days before my motivation took another deep dive into the depths of all-I-want-is-cookies. And then, last night, I hit a breaking point.

I’ve mentioned a few times before that, although I’m pretty happy with the way I look now, and I’m most certainly healthy, I want to lose just a few more pounds because I want my lower abs to show. And, in the time following my half marathon, I started to get impatient. I was feeling the stress of having been in a “trying to lose weight” state for almost a year, and I really, really wanted to get to the “maintaining your weight” stage. So, I took drastic measures.

I changed the settings on my calorie counting app to be at about a 400 calorie a day deficit. This may not seem like much, since most things you read will recommend a 500 calorie deficit (which I do not endorse), but because I’m so small this meant only about 1370 calories a day. In other words, not very much. Especially because I frequently get bored at work and look to (healthy) snacking to keep myself occupied. I was at a point where I’d see a 400 calorie recipe and think “no… that’s too much. I need it lighter.” Trust me, that is not a place you want to be.

Plus, because I was eating so little of everything else, I felt like I needed to be eating sweets of some sort every day just so that I didn’t feel like I was in some kind of forced self-deprivation. But this meant I was saving calories I should have been using on quality food for admittedly yummy, but nutritionally valueless desserts. Plus, as a person who has nearly always been moderate with my sweets, it meant I was drastically upping my sugar intake which was leading to some pretty nasty cravings.

Enter last night’s breaking point.

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A Halloween Miracle

I have always been modest in the way that I dress.

I traded shorts for mostly knee-length skirts when I was probably ten or eleven years old because I didn’t like the way my legs looked in shorts and wanted them to be covered. For most of middle and high school I opted primarily for skirts between my knees and my ankles or, most of the time, pants. I even wore pants throughout the summer, despite being hot. I also carefully selected higher neck lines in my shirts and dresses or wore layers to make sure there was little to no cleavage showing (which was not an easy feat because the amount of cleavage I had was substantial). And I never wore anything “slutty.”

There were times, of course, where I’d put on a slightly more revealing outfit at home and be pleased with what I saw in the mirror. But as soon as I walked outside to where people could actually see me, I’d immediately get overwhelmingly uncomfortable and start adjusting things to cover more or add layers or even just keep my hands in strategic locations until I got an opportunity to change my clothes. And when I say “more revealing” here, I mean something along the lines of a skirt just a few inches above my knees and a shirt that shows maybe half an inch of cleavage. So in other words, a totally normal outfit.

I knew my understanding of what was appropriate to wear was different from other girls’, but I never really thought much of it. I just said that I was “modest,” like that was a totally normal and healthy attitude. Now don’t get me wrong – modesty, when inspired by modesty, is certainly not a bad thing. But what I didn’t realize was that my modesty was not motivated by modesty; it was motivated by a very negative body image, and that is a problem.

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