Category Archives: Believe You Can

When You Start to Feel Discouraged (Suddenly, Despite Progress)

I’ve referenced the fact that I’ve lost a significant amount of weight more than a few times on this blog. I use “significant” a bit loosely, because I’m very short and was never overweight in the first place, but what I’ve lost ultimately adds up to about 16% of my original body weight, so it’s no small matter. Anyway, clarifications aside, there has been a significant improvement in the way that I look and the way that I feel about myself this past year.

Most of the time, I feel awesome. It sound silly to say, but I will freely admit that I’ve spent a bit of time admiring my smaller stomach in the mirror, particularly once the two-pack I’m currently rocking started to show and I got a few new muscle lines I didn’t even know I could have. I feel more comfortable in my clothes – I started wearing tighter shirts and shorter shorts and dresses, and I didn’t think twice about it (when before I absolutely hated shorts because I felt like my legs were too fat).

However, it’s hard to feel good about the way that you look 100% of the time, particularly in today’s society, and I am no exception to that rule. Occasionally, even though I know with every bit of logic available to me that I am perfectly healthy bordering on fit, I still feel fat. And that can be really difficult to deal with when you’ve worked so hard to get to where you are.

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Link

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.

Fake It ‘Till You Make It

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.

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When I Set Out to Learn to Use Makeup and Also Learned to Love Myself

I had never been interested in wearing makeup. I tend to sleep in late, press snooze a few too many times, and throughout my prime start using makeup years I never even woke up in time to eat breakfast, let alone paint my face. And I wasn’t insecure about it. Makeup is time-consuming and expensive, I never put that much effort into any part of my appearance, and I was decent enough looking without it that I never felt it was necessary.

But then, college graduation started approaching. And I felt like I needed to start being an adult. And I thought that surely being able to correctly apply makeup is a necessary part of adulting – it’s something women are just expected to do at a certain age. So, much to her absolute joy, I finally allowed my sister to teach me her ways. We spent over an hour on the phone while I tried to pick the right colors and items from a CVS, and then I watched YouTube video after YouTube video to learn how to put it on.

As a result, just in time for my (successful) job interview, I learned. My interview was on a Wednesday. The Sunday before, I tried everything I had picked out with the help of my sister to make sure I knew what I was doing. I made adjustments based on what I liked and didn’t like, as well as YouTube-suggested “interview” makeup, and tried the exact look I was planning for my interview that Tuesday. With just a few other, small changes, I created that look again on Wednesday for my interview.

One thing that surprised me on all three of these days was how much more self-conscious I was of my face with the makeup than without it. I felt like I was wearing too much, like people were judging me for having stuff on my face, like I was faking something. I knew, of course, that most women my age wear makeup everyday and it’s likely that nobody other than me paid any attention to it, but I was still grateful for the day after my interview when I knew I would be able to go bare-faced all day after so many days made up.

And that’s when something happened that I especially didn’t expect: Continue reading