The Marathon, Body Image and Everything In between

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Hola chicas!

How have you been? Missed you, I have.

So as promised, I will give you a brief overview of my experience during the marathon.


Yeah, that sums it up. Told you it would be brief. At this point I would like to give a very special shout out to my companions that made it possible, they have been with me through it all and continue to be the soles beneath my feet... My tired random trainers: *Standing Ovation Please!*

Today I would like to cover another facet of natural beauty: good old body image.. I confess, for all my years, I am still very confused.

Body Image and the weight issue

Here's a little known fact about me; I am a runner. I love to run! I've been running for just about three years now. It all started in my second year of college; I would jog for 15 min around the school track field, pant and curse miserably, then trod off defeated into the gym... Over time, my running legs grew stronger and before you knew it I would run nearly everyday for an hour (it was college, I had time!)

I lost a ton of weight. Dude, if I had before pics you would understand, here's a pic of my post running body...

Not too shabby... I think

Another thing you should know about me is that I tend to be an extremist. It's GO HARD or go home in my twisted little world. So I trained harder and lost even more weight. I ate like a chipmunk and found all things fatty and sweet ungodly: (due to the extreme graphic nature of my over-gym days, I will not be providing an image). Ok, Ok it wasn't thaaat bad, I was just overtly toned... and skinny. Training for an average of 3hours a day can do that to you..

Now women are pretty much awesome because they can look perfect in any shape or form. This is how the Good Lord deemed it. Western Society somehow messed everything up and tried to make skinny the new beautiful. Everyday I'm bombarded with images of thin twig like models and celebrities losing insane weight. As much as I like to think I'm above all the BRAIN washing... Clearly, I'm really not :(

How GORGEOUS is she, right?

Chanel Iman.... model and overall beautiful girl. Thanks a lot society :(

Victoria Secret models... I swear they are built in a lab somewhere... oh look ! Tyra and Heidi, must be an old pic

Miss Tyra after the whole weight gain and weigh loss fiasco

I love me some JH... at any shape or form

Let's fast foward a year later. This is me now... I haven't gymed for well over a year and I have lost all muscle definition. I stopped gyming because of the nature of my DEMANDING job in the wonderful world of marketing and advertising and promptly gained a sh*tload of weight. I occassionally run though, and work out with awesome DVDs sporadically whenever I have the time or when my feet get restless.

I gain weight primarily on my hip area... my cubes are gone though... sigh

I have THIGHS!!! oh lordy!

But you know the thing about it is.. I kinda like being curvy and feminine.. Herein lies the confusion.

Now ladies, I am prone to flights of fancy, so forgive me if I sound delirious when I say (at my most gym toned) I believe my celebrity body twin is Miss Jessica Biel.

Yup... I even get the muscular arms....

Baby got BACK!! :)

She has a bit of booty and the kind of body that gains muscle really fast... kinda like me. When I hear all sorts of ill-talk about how not feminine her body is I quickly revert and question my own femininity and proceed to eat loads of candy and also take a hiatus from working out... then I see her again and LOVE how healthy and toned she looks so I start to work out at home FANATICALLY and the cycle repeats itself. I have issues. I am currently at work-out-at-home-FANATICALLY mode.

I'm not sure what's better. A rockin' curvy feminine body or a lean, toned and healthy physique. I've been every shape there is and at my extremes, I have coveted the other.

What's the answer ladies? I LOVE being healthy and in shape, but I hate losing my bum and gaining the Incredible Hulk type arms!!! I hate having love handles and not being able to wear anything (I find when i'm slimmer I could look HOT in a garbage bag). I sometimes gain a happy middle ground, but lose myself along the way. So I think its time I stick to one lifestyle.

At present I am working out like a maniac... I'll post pics as soon as my cubes are back. I might look like a pro-wrestler or a beautiful healthy 20-something year old.. feel free to let me know when the time comes.

Please leave a note and tell me what your thoughts on weigh and body image are... all views and standpoints are welcome as always.

Love as always,
A Simple Thing said...

I think women can be beautiful at any size. And some people have different builds - I'm quite big but I'm fitter than some of my slimmer friends.
I hate the fact that there is this stupid unattainable standard on what a 'feminine' body is - it's a lie! There's no perfect standard.
I eat what I like, but then again, my body tends to crave fruit, vegetables and fish.
Oh, lord, I do love *fish*
But I exercise a couple of times a week too. As long as one extreme isn't taking over one's life, I think that's perfectly acceptable.

Mary Mogoi said...

nom nom nom.. I love fish :)

I have to agree with you Miss Thing. The standards set for us are ridiculous and take away from the beauty of diversity. I want to break away from the mold but find myself comparing myself to who or what I think I should look like (case in point Jessica up there)... sometimes.. Ok ALL the time, I do the comparison thing with people I know; my friends, my sisters etc. (Don't all women?)

But there's something you've mentioned that's hit home; it's about health and being fit in the end of the day. I'm guilty of being semi-obsessed :( with the visual outcome mostly, health is an added advantage, I am pretty fit :)

How does one cultivate a positive body image? Pray tell!

kinky_lockz said...

generally speaking a woman knows her body and what great goals it can reach with exercise and diet, the pitfalls of doing neither, and the body size that she feels most comfortable and attractive/confident therefore i suggest: never keep clothes from YEARSSS ago hoping to fit into them again, don't be bothered with trends so much and wear clothes for your body type and style, and do not b*tch about body issues to people unless your doing something about it.

it's easier said than done tho :/ so remember a positive body image starts with a healthy mindset --> keep a steady rotation of people to push you forward or boost your ego haha and infamous quotes like: i may not have a chest but look how big my butt is lol :)

Nyashy Washy said...

@Mary I think you read my mind, because I think such a post was so necessary and you could not have written it better yay!!!
Women have all kinds of pressure from the media about their weight and I think we should all just concentrate on being at our happy weights. Not all of us can be skinny..I know I cant!!!! Through the run etc, I realised that I got to my happy weight which is a happy size 10 or 11 hmmm.I think every woman has a happy weight which is a mixture of exercise and good eating whether your a fuller figured fit woman or a curvy smaller woman...Go out there and find your happy weight...Its lovely!!!

Mary Mogoi said...

I need to find my happy weight! be healthy and fabulous.. that middle ground that doesn't involve waking up at 4.00am to do Tae Bo everyday or eating pizza and milkshakes (which usually leads to self-loathing).. Im tired guys.

Mizz Kinky! i may not have a chest but look how big my butt is lol :) THATS MY NEW MANTRA! xoxo

Onwards to happiness and fulfillment...and above all self-acceptance :) it won't happen overnight but I'll get there

A Simple Thing said...

@ Mary - in order for me to cultivate a body image, I started ignoring what people told me about my body. When I was younger, an aunt told me I was 'disproportinate' because my boobs aren't as wide as my hips, and I seriously took that to heart. Now, I know that nobody knows my body better than me.
Also, I try not to abuse it - if I know I'm treating my body the best that I can, then I know it's working the best that it can - and there's nothing better than that.
I switched some of my friends as well - not cut them out completely, but minimised time with them, because they spent far too long stressing over their bodies and it starts to sink in when these gorgeous people aren't happy, you start to think you're a bit arrogant and there must be something wrong with you.
Simply put: There isn't. You are wonderfully and fearfully made, so don't stress about it.
And then finally - I remember that in the end, it's just my physical body. The way my fat is distributed doesn't define me - it doesn't tell people about the joy in my smile, about the people I love, the things I've done and the places I'll go. It's just one aspect of my being, rather than the entire thing.

Whoo. My bad. That's a bit long. I just hope that helps someone. I hope you reach your self-acceptance goals - you're definitely worth it! :)

Nyashy Washy said...

@A simple thing....I love this "The way my fat is distributed doesn't define me - it doesn't tell people about the joy in my smile, about the people I love, the things I've done and the places I'll go"

That is so well put and oh so true, everyone wants to judge themselves on their outer appearance and its silly. I know I have always had issues with many aspects of my body..too many too count, and I think we need to all stop being so picky about things about us we do not like..Embrace all you are...silly imperfections or not!!

Anonymous said...

Great article! You look awesome...! I'm excited to see the new pics. Working out is a fun and healthy thing to do. And everyone has a different build... So, being happy with who you are is the first step to the perfect you.

You should repeat a million times: I love everything about myself...! This is a great mantra to repeat when you're super happy, or, if you're feeling in bad spirits - it really helps to drown out the negative ideas.

Beauty starts from the inside out, not the outside in... So, just start creating positive mental and physical habits, and you'll not only see the difference you'll feel the difference.

Mary Mogoi said...

I would just like to thank all of you for the comments and replies. Simple Thing, you rock and you are so right. It's funny how at the end of the day you are your own worst enemy isn't it.. enough.

When I'm older, like way older I don't want to look back and see a life unfulfilled because of a little fat distribution :) I waste way too much time fussing and obsessing and it comes in the way of so many other wonderful experiences. Perfection is overrated... I'll come to believe that in time.. happiness on the other hand - priceless!

Miss Anon, thanks for you kind words and your wisdom. There's a special place in heaven for women who help their fellow sisters, YOU ARE ALL STARS in my eyes. You know what... I think I'll be alright, I binned the 6year old pants last night. FELT AMAZING!!! Step one right? I'll get there :)

Shiks said...

You need to figure out WHY weight is such an issue. It isn't as simple as wanting to look cute.

I had awful body issues when I was a teen. I was a fatty and got mad fun of me. At 15,my fat redistributed and everyone called me guitar,as I was hella curvy. I have gained a bit more,and I like it. I am so much more than my weight. I am a beautiful articulate woman.At my funeral,no one will say damn she is so thin,they will be like damn she is dead!

Mary Mogoi said...

Sup Shiks... I have been a weight fanatic since I can remember. I was a chubby teen... and the biggest in a house full of skinny sisters (and I was the last born to boot)girl let me tell you, they would tear me up about it (*cue sad violin music*).

Now I did something about it hoping to reach a point where I would finally be comfortable with my weight but maaan, there was always an inch more I could lose, then I'd lose five and try to gain it back because I'd look like a boy (in my messed up opinion) I was(WAS - operative word) never happy with my outcome.

Now I just want to be happy and healthy. I think I will continue to work out- coz its healthy and I rather enjoy it. HOWEVER I will not make my weight a priority in life (gimme time, it'll happen).

My weakness is the comparing thing that I do (stems from my youth) thats my main hiccup. I've been advised to have a 10 min naked mirror -what I love- assessment every other morning. I've done it four times now and ladies let me tell you it helps! It's kinda creepy at first (a glass of wine can help with that) but it gets better. I just stand up there GUNS BLAZING and twist this way and that, strike silly poses and act coquettish.. I LOVE IT... well most of the time. There are still moments I go, "damn that lump." but I quickly correct myself and continue the admiration process.

Free therapy right thurrr :)

Shiks said...

I like that exercise! I can relate to the siblings. I always told my sister she would pay for my therapy!

Baby steps doll,baby steps

Tawny said...

This is obviously late to the party but I really liked your overall self-evaluation, sooo...

I've always been ridiculously curvy. With a waist to hip ratio that I didn't see repeated on anyone else's body. It struck me as a little extreme. And when I was young my personality didn't seem to match this overripe feminine body. So I just ignored it and tried to hide it with curve reduction fashion techniques that in actuality made me look bigger.

Just in the last year I actually started to try on dresses and get past that vulnerability that I seemed to recoil from whenever I put one on and really started to accept my body type in the process. I realized that half of my frustration with clothes was my unwillingness to play up my attributes and more feminine clothes, to my chagrin, are more flattering on me. I have to say that that little step, which took lots of practice and pushing past my 'confidence only, no frills approach to sexy' was a big help.

In examining all the different kinds of 'pretty, beautiful, stylish' icons that are out there in many varieties these days. I'm letting my own preferences color my view of what looks good. Rather than having what 'looks good' established for me by fad crazed Hollyweirdites. That's not to say that I don't feel that some of what they produce isn't hot, I just let my instincts have their say first. Instead of having an ideal my body type won't ever subscribe to, I look at those ladies who share my similarities and rock it to my satisfaction and use them to inspire me.

Lately I've been swimming and I really love how it is one physical activity that includes every part of my body. And I take that approach to grooming so that when I'm attending to my skin, my hydration, my vitamins, my toe nails....everything, each act of taking care comes from a place of caring.

What I find is that my curves make me feel sexy but having a good amount of muscle under all of that makes me feel healthy and strong and a balance between sexy and strong is when I feel the best. Any road that leads me to a healthy admiration of what I have, not to exclude any part of me, is the road I need to take. If each body part belonging to you had feelings, why say mean things to them? That in turn hurts you because they are of you. Just encourage them to work a little harder if you feel they need to and then they'll always be on your side.

Mary said...

Hey Tawny.

Thanks so much for sharing. I'm happy to hear that you're in a good place with yourself and most importantly healthy. I think curvy women are GORGEOUS. Whenever I have this talk with my male friends (not that they matter) they all agree!

One of my best mates is a guy; he has been with me through all my weight fluctuations and has suffered all my rantings and obsessions. He always tells me he prefers me happy and curvy because I'm HAPPIER when I'm eating healthy and carefree. He supports my exercising only when its in moderation. He kinda balances me out..

What you said about being mean to certain parts of my body... that's a whole new way of looking at my situation. I've been mean, and it's no ones fault but my own :(

It's time to get sexy and strong!

carenskita said...

As women i believe we all have our fat and skinny days.imo you look fabulous in the second picture.flat tummy but with some booty going on.we come in different shapes and sizes and we should all love ourselves.(i still hate my bony ankles though haha)

Mary said...

Thanks Carenskita, I have bony skinny ankles as well, we have a lot to love! I'm almost "over" my body hiccups (well continually trying to be) I am working out and taking it easy and one day at a time.

Right now I'm obsessed with my skin! Lol!

Thanks for reading :)

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