Body image Part 2

Mel wrote recently about her struggles with body image. It prompted me to reflect about my struggles too.

I was obese as a teenager and was the heavy unattractive girl in class. You know, the one who have difficultly buying clothes because nothing fits?

That was me.

I was in a TAF healthy club at school. Compulsory as I was overweight. We did running and exercises 3 times a week in the morning before classes. Read TAF backwards- it says FAT!

Growing up, I felt sluggish, unhappy and disliked most of the clothes I could find and wear. A size 32 jeans when you are 15 years old is not cool!

I hit a massive 85kg on my 1.62m frame when I was 19. Slowly, I lost the weight but could never shake off that image I have as a child. Every time I look in the mirror, I would scrutinize myself. My thighs, hips, tummy etc.

I’m a lot older now. And a mother of a 10 month old baby boy. Pregnancy has changed me and my body. The first few months, it was hard. I’m proud of what my body did but also sad I was weak and had loose bits everywhere.

Prior to pregnancy, I found that it’s really is a mind game on how we perceived ourselves. What helped me was to focus on fitness goals.

Post pregnancy, I began to train slowly. I also realised that my focus is my son and family now. I reduced my training hours from 6 hours a week to 3 hours. Other times, I walked and stretch. I used my son as a weight bearing exercise. I focused in nourishing my body with the right foods.

I am happier as a person. I’m feeling less stressed. As the weight reduces, and my strength returned, I’m noticing how I feel much happier as I look into the mirror. I wasn’t as mean to myself. I begin to realise, I can reach a point where I’m more comfortable with my body. Yes there will always be something I like to change but I’m also more content. It does not bother me as much more be chase I’m happier within.

I noticed then that the key of self image, is to look beyond what makes you happy and unhappy. Self image could be a symptom of what’s lurking underneath. It could be not feeling contented in your life, or a lack of control in other areas of your life.

Self image is the whole package. Once you feel the stability internally, things might fall in place a little more. I’m more likely to laugh comments off or reply them in a way to let people know that’s not acceptable.

I think it’s a battle that would haunt me from time to time. It’s not going to be perfect. But life is too short not to play and laugh with my little family.

Perhaps next week, I might have to read this post again to remind me of what’s more important. But for the moment, I’m going to stay on the path of feeling healthy, fit and knowing that contentment and self-image comes from within- and that might be a life long journey of self work.

Body Image

Who else struggles with body image?

I looked in the mirror one morning and freaked out – It looked like I had gained a kilo or so, my tummy was bigger and my arms and thighs had “beefed up”. It sent me into a crazy obsession and I have been struggling to bring myself back to reality. I started wearing dresses to hide the tummy and thighs, jumpers to hide the arms. I felt lost in a long moment of self hate and didn’t know what to do about it. My mind was going inside out of itself with self hate! (in reality – I had inflammation of the shoulders/lats/pecks, but in the moment this was not my concern)

That feeling of knowing you’re exaggerating and being crazy, yet you can’t help it!!

Any ladies have moments like these too?

The fit life is definitely an ongoing journey and no matter how mentally strong you are, sometimes these things just happen once in a while for girls. In the Asian society I’m thinking happens quite often if you are not petite like myself.

Tips:

  1. Be very self aware
    • Know your feelings and moods
    • Recognise your overreactions
    • Recognise your obsessions
    • Remember that your body shape (and bone structure) is not the same as the person you’re seeing on TV/internet
  2. Stay away from the scales and measuring tapes
  3. Despite your million self criticisms, remember the person next to you loves you!!

It’s a mental game with yourself. I find constant reminders of these stop me from tipping over that edge in my moments.

I follow Korean dramas and music, so I’m all over the Kpop culture, I must admit, I’m totally sucked in! These ladies with plastic surgery are beautiful, and when that’s what you watch, it warps your mind into thinking that’s what the perception of women should be like. I’m in Australia too, so I can’t imagine what this is like in Korea – please share your thoughts on Kpop culture.

If you’re unfamiliar with Kpop culture – google image: Girls Generation, Sistar, Kara, Miss A, 2ne1, Apink, After School – these are some of the most popular girl groups in Korea

Having said this, I’m still in an Asian community, where “hello” is “omo you’ve lost so much weight!” or a split second moment of silence as they do a double take if you’ve gained weight… other than that, it’s usually “have you eaten? are you hungry? (for the aunties 😀 )” Unfortunately, it’s very hard to escape judgement on physical appearance  in this society.