Home » About Me » In my own skin

In my own skin

I’ve had self-esteem and self-image issues since I was about ten…never happy with the way I looked, always dissatisfied with the number showing on the scale or the tag of my clothes, even when that number was pretty dang low. I’ve fought to find peace with my body. But just when you think you’ve found a decent, survivable place, you realize how easy it is to be sucked back to that other place, the  one where a number means so much.

Let me put this out there…I’m healthy.  I have been described as “fit” and “sporty”.  I try to take care of me. Exercise is a normal part of the weekly routine. I am getting ready to run my seventh half marathon. But I am also of an age weight naturally creeps up. Nothing has changed in the eating or exercise regimen.  I even asked the endocrinologist when I saw her a few weeks back. This is “normal”. So why then is it so hard to me to take? Why do I find myself back in a near-obsessive place, somewhere I haven’t been since college? I am uncomfortable in my own skin. There are clothes in my closet I refuse to take off the hanger, for fear they won’t fit any longer. I’m continually fidgety, tugging and pulling at buttons, waistbands. That sounds like I gained ten pounds in the last few months….I have not. It’s three pounds, but the fact I know that exact amount is  my own little indicator where my head is.

While I’m struggling with all this, I’m trying to preach to my daughter that value is not found in the number on a scale, nor the number on the tag of her jeans. I need her to not face what I’ve gone through for so many years. So I don’t talk about how I feel about myself right now in her presence. I won’t weigh myself when she’s home. I put away the two programs I had used in the last few years trying to lose pounds. Keeping it inside me isn’t helping me, but letting it out wouldn’t help her. This is hard.

I’m trying to focus on just being healthy….eating more salad than bread, more veggies than pasta, and so on…..watching portion sizes, but also trying to model moderation, allowing “cheat day” once a week, acknowledging that sometimes you just eat the cookie. I fight with myself constantly over wanting to see a certain number, but then knowing that to achieve that number, and maintain it, I’d have to basically never look at a piece of bread again, and life is too short to live it in constant denial.

I’m struggling here, friends. Logically, I know where I am, know what I’m dealing with, and I know I need to model health for my daughter,  a good outlook, a good perspective on self-image. But then I see that number, and I panic. You’d think by this age, I’d have left this all behind twenty years ago. And yet the battle rages. I’m a woman, but I’m also a mom. So my dissatisfaction with self takes a backseat to the need for her to have a healthy outlook on  her own self. That means putting away my anxiety over what the scale shows, any negative self-speak on my appearance, any obsession with what I’m eating or not eating, and living in a positive, healthy way.

21 thoughts on “In my own skin

  1. It’s very normal. We are humans afterall. But you are right. It’s a bit of a double edged sword. I don’t have girls so I can’t tell you my experience. But I did grow up in a household were my mother was so self conscious about her weight and her looks. She was on diets almost all her life. And she had a great body for someone whose given birth four times. We are three daughters. And it’s no surprise that ALL of us, have become just like our mom. We are extremely weight conscious. And even though you’re trying to portray to your daughter something other than what you’re feeling in a way, it’s inevitable that she too will go through that phase. It’s part of being a young woman. We have all gone through it…

    • You’re right. She will have to work through it on her own. I just want to portray a healthier version then what I feel inside so maybe she doesn’t feel it as much

  2. This kind of thing seems so common with women – we’re so critical of ourselves – waaaay more critical than anyone else is of us! For me it’s been a challenge to see my face aging and changing. I think sometimes, “I don’t know how to get older; I don’t know how to look older and accept it.” I pray OFTEN for myself, my girls, and even sometimes other girls that God would give us HIS eyes for our bodies and our faces and we would love ourselves as He does. Good post ♥

  3. Would you be worried if your daughter were your health, your level of fitness, your size/weight/shape? Would you criticize her for an extra piece of bread, send her to spin class, tell her to lay off the cheese? How would you feel if she hated her reflection? If she stressed out about it?
    How would you convince her she’s blessed — perfectly capable and beautiful as is?

    Do that.
    For yourself.

    Also, *hugs*

  4. Joey said it right. Some of us do get into that mindset sometime…but her advice is definitely the way out of it. Goodluck.

  5. I read this earlier and have been mulling it over in my mind since. Growing up as a competitive figure skater, I saw it all. I was scrutinized by coaches and judges, and mostly by myself. I used to stare in the mirror in ballet classes and compare myself to everyone. When Rock and I were dating, I commented on being “fat” one night and he asked me how I would ever have children. Over the years, running has helped me to learn to love myself. I have learned that others struggle with weight far more than I do. I have “fat” days but I know when to reign it in and when to let it go. Most importantly, I realized that a few pounds gained at times, is never noticeable to other people. Just as we are worried about our bodies, everyone else is just concerned about theirs. But I too want to make sure my little girl doesn’t grow up thinking like this. There aren’t “bad” foods and we don’t worry about being skinny. I’m going to aim for balance and focus on “healthy.” It won’t be easy!

    • It isn’t easy, especially as you hit that “magical” middle age and hormones are fighting against you. Looking back, I know I was thin, and logically I know now I’m not in bad shape, just a different shape than I’d like to be. Keep fighting the good fight, but all in moderation, and with health in mind (mentally as well as physically!). Hugs!

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