the subjective picture or mental image of one's own body.
Bathing Suit shopping. Yes. I know every woman reading this just shuddered. What a special brand of hell it is. Being chirped around by a commission motivated fetus who looks like they rolled out of their mother's womb last year. I'm quite certain that only those who have yet to reach puberty are hired in these places, just to make the pain of walking out of the changeroom, bulging and stripey, all the more humiliating. The look of fear in the eyes of the young nubile innocent is worth it, though, as you hiss knowingly "under your breath" about how age gets EVERYONE!
But enough about my day.
In all seriousness, most of us fail to see the sum of the good, and instead focus on the bad, or, not perfect. This is regardless of whether you are over, under or at a healthy weight. Perception doesn't meet reality. For many people, this can become a chronic struggle. People with poor self image can have an entire day ruined from one glance in the mirror. Your perception of yourself on the outside can have a profound effect on how valuable you consider yourself on the inside.
People with healthy body image can shake off a "bad hair day" and move past or work through to prevent it from robbing you of any enjoyment. People with unhealthy body image sometimes can't see past the demon in the mirror.
I don't have all the answers to cure poor body image, but I do know from my own experience that you do have to test your preconceived notions.
These are things I believed (mostly because I was told them by people I loved)
- wearing heels will elongate your legs and thin out your trouble areas. I did not own a pair of flats except for running shoes until I turned 32.
- you are not beautiful, but pretty enough you may mature into an attractive woman.
- black. clothes. That is all. Black is slimming, right? Nothing like permanent mourning garb to help you look trim.
To name a few.
I have terrible body image, but I am pretty much past most of that now, with some hard work. I wear flats, love colourful clothing, and I have no opinion on my outer beauty. If I look in the mirror I may see hideous, but all it takes is a look into my heart to see otherwise. If I am meeting new people, my introverted self will generally pop back over to the dark side and dress safely, but after that all bets are off.
NOW - having read all of the above, know the following. I DO NOT WEAR BARE MY BELLY IN PUBLIC. There are two exceptions:
a) I am out of the country where NO ONE will ever see me.
b) I am teaching a Zumba Fitness Event with awesome music and my girls KT and Lisa. On this occasion I have a habit of ripping the shirt off of my back. Literally. I do tend to get a little carried away.
So, my challenge this year is to buy a cute little sports bra top and cute little shorts and wear them to complete the Warrior Dash. Oh my. I actually just threw up in my mouth a little.
There are around thirty clients and friends doing this Dash with me, and some of them are also committed to doing this ridiculously silly but oh so scary clothing challenge with me.
So go ahead. Do something a little scary. Be brave. Work your butt off to make sure you are the best and healthiest person you can be. Then look in the mirror, and smile.
Find Your CORE.