Body Image

Many of us criticise our bodies saying that some bits are too big, other bits are too small.  Some bits are too saggy and some are too wobbly.  Blotches, red bits, pimples, wrinkles and hair in wrong places.  I’ve struggled with body image off and on.  Particularly I haven’t liked to have my legs on show.  It took me forever to get to a place where I could run in shorts and allow my thighs to be seen.  It took a trip to the tropics and humidity for me to buy my first pair of running shorts.  Why don’t we love our bodies no matter what?  They are wonderful!  For those of us who are mothers our bodies bring children into our families.  We work hard.  We achieve wonderful things. What’s not to love about our bodies no matter what they look like?

This has particularly been brought home to me in the last few days with the tragic accidental death of a young mum in our community here in the Meander Valley, Tasmania Australia.  She will never get to grow old and get wrinkles and funny veins and grey hair; aches and pains and stiff bits due to work and play.  She won’t be there to see her little girls grow up.

Growing old is a privilege.  Despite how the body changes I plan to celebrate and love every aging bit of me AND I will wear shorts when it’s hot!

Every breath you take is one step closer to your last.  Dive in and make every moment count
Tarryn Brumfitt

Have you seen the Australian documentary called EmbraceTarryn Brumfitt is the creator of this film and founder of The Body Image Movement.  Please seek it out and watch it.  Her personal story of learning to embrace and love her body is truly inspiring.

My body is not an ornament, it is a vehicle to my dreams
Tarryn Brumfitt

After several months of no running I love my legs even more than ever before.  Despite the wobbly dimpled skin on my thighs, my legs can run and I love them.  This is what I wrote after the first time I was brave enough to run in shorts and to get over the negative body image I had:

Before running this is what I thought of my legs and why I would keep them as covered up as possible:

  • they are fat
  • they are coated in dimply cellulite (yuck)
  • they have fat spongy bits behind each knee
  • they have ankles without any shape
  • they are ugly

Running has made me reconsider my body image – particularly that of my legs…

What do I think of my legs now?  Now that I’ve been running for a few years?

  • they have taken on the challenge of running and have carried me for 100s or kms
  • they get stiff and sore but keep running on
  • they still are coated with cellulite which I think is yucky but even with this they keep plodding on
  • the ankles have got slimmer and have never looked so good!
  • they are loved by me, fat bits, wobbly bits, unattractive spider veins and all

How can I not love my legs when they have taken up the challenge of running and making my dreams of becoming a runner come true?

Please consider seeking out the documentary Embrace, it’s worth the time to watch it.

Happy running 🙂

PS if you don’t love your body, please click this link:  The Body Image Movement and scroll to the bottom of the page and look at some of Tarryn’s blog posts.  It’s about time we all started to love the skin we are in.  Could this be something for us all to work on in 2017?

19 thoughts on “Body Image

  1. I have run with some many times I couldn’t count them and I have never noticed any of those negative things you said about your lovely legs 😄 Dewy xo

    • You are gorgeous inside and out Lovely Louie. Thank you for the lovely comment xxx I still get anxious about wearing shorts but refuse to give in to those negative thoughts. And could we have possibly run in anything else yesterday? Too hot! I shall have shorts on on Friday too xxx

  2. Another great post Annie – very timely for me as I was just contemplating my post Christmas weight gain and how I wasn’t meeting my goals /expectations! It was pointed out to me, at school by the age of 5 or 6 that my legs were short and fat and I was laughed at in my shorts. I’ve been self conscious ever since, but realised that as an adult nobody cares, they are too busy thinking about themselves. Since taking up running I have developed a little curve on the back of my thigh- hamstring definition! There is a curve in before it curves out again as my butt cheek. I’m very proud of that curve!! But most of all I like the way that my legs can carry me around better, no tiredness, no heart sink at a flight of stairs (no wobbling on a pair of toe pinching heels- I gave them up last year) I love the fact that I literally have a spring in my step😊 Here’s to getting older, living each day as it comes, appreciating what we have and making the most of what each day has to offer!

    • Why do we remember those comments from so long ago and not choose to magnify all the positive comments of today? I am so guilty of this! You are gorgeous Julie, yay for those curves that running has brought and for the fitness and increase to our self-esteem and self-worth. I am so grateful to running for teaching me to love my body and it seems running teaches so many of us this wonderful lesson. Thank you for this lovely comment, I’m glad my words lifted you up. When I think of Gem who died last week all I can do is appreciate this this 52 year old body and be grateful for every little thing that a photo editor would blur and edit out. I so agree with your whole comment but particularly your last sentence. Here’s to getting older!

  3. I love this. I’ve been out of sorts because I feel so overweight; this time of year it’s really hard to lose weight! It’s not my legs I’m self-conscious about; it’s my belly and face! Can’t wait to check out the blog you mentioned.

    • It certainly is a hard time to think about weight. I’ve eaten so many chocolates over Christmas! I haven’t seen a photo of your Miss E but I know you are beautiful and strong. These are the things that literally pour out from your words. You are consistent. You work hard towards your goals. You refuse to give up. All of this makes you beautiful and we are our own worse critics so I’m sure the reflection you see in the mirror is beautiful. Take a deep look into your eyes and see the things that me and your readers see xxx

  4. 1) your legs are lovely. I would trade with you in a heart beat
    2) you nailed it perfectly. Why are we so hard on ourselves??

    My body is far from perfect, but I’m in awe that it can {somewhat} do what my brain requests of it 🙂

    • Thank you Joanne 🙂 I don’t know about swapping legs, yours are much better at bike riding and I reckon you could swim faster than me too. Perhaps I will swap!!! Thanks for the lovely comment Joanne 🙂

  5. Such an inspiring post Annie. I was so sad to read of the tragic death of the young woman. These things are messages to each of us to focus on what we can do! I love the quote about my body not being an ornament but a vehicle to my dreams. Wonderful!

    • Thanks Sue 🙂 I couldn’t believe it when I saw her beautiful face pop up on social media. I still can’t. When I drive past the turn off to the little rural town of Weetah my heart breaks and I only knew her from her visits to the library. I love that quote too. You certainly are someone who takes that concept and makes their dreams come true 🙂

  6. i just keep away from mirrors! I am young at heart and love my body and once you realise that you are always in the middle. There is nothing to worry about. There are always people who are skinnier than you…fatter than you. Shorter than you, taller than you. Smarter than you, dumber than you. You can only be the best you can be… and life is so much better. Ps and you can only be the best you can be in that time you cannot compare your race times from last year to this year if your preparation is not the same and your age is against you.

    • So true Jo, we can only be the best ‘you’ that we can be. I agree on the comparing of race times and age. I’ve nearly written a post called ‘The death of the PB’. After the last few months healing from the sore knee I’m just so hugely grateful to be running again that going fast isn’t a consideration. Where as pre-knee my happy cruising pace was 6:30, it’s now about 6:50 to 7:00 but I so don’t mind. I’m going to call it value for money because I’m going to be out running for longer 🙂 Thanks for the lovely comment and for the wonderful attitude that comes through from your words. I appreciate it.

  7. Here here! I too always used to cover up, self conscious of my ‘flaws’ but as I look around the running community and at the many women at tennis who just are themselves, in all their shapes and sizes and abilities I have let go of that and wear what I am comfortable in and go for all sorts of challenges. Younger self would never have believed what I am doing nowadays and always remembering to be grateful.

    • Here’s to always taking on challenges that our younger selves wouldn’t believe. Thanks for the lovely positive comment, so many of us have been there worrying about what we look like. I so hope that younger women can learn faster than I did about being positive about body image.

  8. A great post and I also shared the Embrace story a while back on my blog because i believe in the message. We are always too critical for our own good especially of ourselves. I’m proud of my strong legs and refuse to cover them!

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