Christine, Wondering

Random Musings of a Human Becoming

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Changing body, fixed image

My job is eating my life at the moment - 11-hour days are the norm (not counting time spent working at home in the evenings) and I still feel like I'm not getting everything done. It's intense and not leaving a lot of time for anything else. Nonetheless, I'm stealing a half-hour for blogging.

This is a post that has been nagging away in the back of my mind for some time. I spent Christmas with E's family at a wonderful holiday park which included a "sub-tropical swimming paradise" - ambient temperature 25 C inside the dome - so we all brought our swimming gear along.

My swimsuit is a simple name-brand racing one-piece, bought because it was cheap and it fitted and I had to have *something*. It's not designed to be flattering or concealing. I was hesitant about going in the pool at all, for a variety of excuses, all of which boiled down to "I don't want to be seen in a swimsuit".

On the last day, when my cold had finally subsided and I'd run out of excuses, I finally went with E to the pool. In the changing room I freaked out briefly, not sure I could actually walk out there with my arms & legs on show. E looked at me as if I'd gone a little mad, and pointed out that I was wearing a size 12 swimsuit and had just changed out of size 10 jeans. "YOU HAVE BELOW AVERAGE THIGHS! STOP WORRYING!".

She's right, of course. I may not have a super-toned body but once I looked around - really looked - I could see that it was true. For the first time in 12 years, I'm below average in weight & width. But when I look at myself in the mirror, I still don't see it.

Since late 2010 - my last recorded peak-weight measurements - I have lost 12.5cm off my waist, 18cm off my hips, 10.5cm off my thighs, 7cm off my calves, 3cm off my ankles, 4.5cm off my upper arms, and even 1.5cm off my wrists. Size 10 tops fit me comfortably, size 12 slacks fit me with room to spare, and size 10 jeans with a gentle waist are just perfect. I'm only 6.5lb away from a healthy BMI. I am doing very, very well and I'm not ashamed to point it out.

So why do I still look at myself in the mirror and imagine that my naked body is so much bigger than it actually is? How is there such a disconnect between what I know to be true about it and how I perceive it? Why do I look out of a size 10 body and see size 18 thighs in the mirror?

It's sad to think that perhaps I've become programmed to think the worst of my body and to see its most negative attributes so clearly. What is it about our minds that denies us the triumph of seeing what we know we have achieved?

Food for thought...


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