Today was a big day of accomplishment for me — I ran my first 5k race! Starting in March, I started training with a good friend to run a 5k. After about a month into our training together, she had an injury and I was without a partner. What’s surprising (to me) is how I kept up with the running, and most days even enjoy doing it.
It all paid off today when I was able to run 5k, on a cold and gray and rainy day, from start to finish without stopping. Today wasn’t one of those ‘good’ running days — the last 1k I pretty much felt like I wanted to die — but I did it. And it was pretty cool to be in a pack of 3000ish people running in the same direction.
I should be all sorts of proud of myself today, right? And I am, mostly.
I hate this picture of me after the race. I see it, and I just cringe. I see a round face and thick body, and I’m just not happy with what I see — AND THIS IS AFTER I JUST RAN A FREAKING 5K. My body image is seriously out of whack.
I’m not alone in this negative view of myself — yesterday The Guardian published an article “Uncomfortable in Our Own Skin: The Body-Image Report” which is all about how women (in particular) twist up the reality of their body with the image of what they think they *should* look like.
Body image is a subjective experience of appearance. It’s an accumulation of a lifetime’s associations, neuroses and desires, projected on to our upper arms, our thighs. At five, children begin to understand other people’s judgement of them. At seven they’re beginning to show body dissatisfaction.
Oy. 5 and 7 years old? Just yesterday as we were driving to Emmalee’s dance recital, she was looking at a magazine and was talking about how beautiful the cover model was and how this model was going to get married. WTF. I tried to counter her commentary by asking if the woman was smart or funny, but Emma was still too enamored by her appearance. It would appear that the media’s influence is already starting to impact my little girl. (damn you, Disney Princesses)
I suppose it doesn’t help that I’m rarely in any pictures with Emma. Usually I’m the one behind the camera — mostly because I’m not a fan of having pictures taken of me. And while I tell myself that my body issues are my own, I know that if I’m not careful, I may pass on my tendency to have a distorted body image to my daughter.
Also from the Guardian article:
We hate how we look because of our new, complicated visual culture, because of a fashion industry that has not adapted, a media that forensically analyses women’s bodies and saturates our culture with body-change stories. Because of the rise of cognitive eating, the increasing abilities and accessibility of cosmetic surgery. Because to be feminine, today, means to hate your body.
I get that. Now the hard part is to try to get past it.
I’m not going to radically diet — I like food too much. I can’t bring myself to give up carbs — sorry, Atkins and Paleo people. If this is the only life I have to live, I am going to eat bread.
That said, I exercise when I can. Running, playing soccer, and for the next couple months, I’m in some boot camps a couple nights a week.
That should be enough, right? Now that I think of it, maybe the problem with me isn’t with my body, maybe the problem is in my head.