There was a post floating around last month about what the author Instragrammed versus what was actually happening when the photo was taken. She went into detail about the extensive set up for each photo and the number of attempts to get exactly the right angle. We’re all guilty of this and I’m no exception.
On Monday, I posted this picture to show off my new running gear:
Of course I moved my body around trying to find just the right twisted angle to make my stomach look flat, my boobs/butt stick out and my legs appear muscular. Behind the scenes of the picture, I was freaking out about my donut (my affectionate name for my stomach) and my thunder thighs. Some of this stems from leftover fat!Melanie issues that linger in my reflection. But I struggled with body image issues long before that.
Monday was the first time since high school volleyball that I ran in shorts. From a practical standpoint, I’ve avoided wearing shorts because my thighs rub together and chafe. Super uncomfortable. From a purely superficial standpoint, I’ve avoided wearing shorts because I don’t have super skinny, “legit” runner legs. I looked stupid and didn’t want to think about my thighs jiggling around. So I always rock three-quarter length tights and endured the heat.
It’s been stupid hot/humid this week in Indy, motivating me to get over my weird hang-ups and just buy some damn running shorts. Monday I ran 2.5 miles in them, 1.5 before crossfit then 1 mile as part of the WOD. At first I was really uncomfortable and self-conscious. I kept pulling them down, fully aware of how exposed my pasty, thick upper thighs were.
But guess what? The world didn’t end. No one stared and laughed. And thanks to a generous application of body glide (and sweat during the WOD…), I didn’t suffer much chafing. I lived to run another day.
Running in shorts may seem like a little thing to some people but for me it was huge. It was a big step toward embracing my body as it is – something I fear will be a lifelong battle, for me and for many others out there.
I need to remember that these thighs powered me through three half marathons and will take me across the finish line of my fourth in November and my fifth in April. These thighs gave me the strength to deadlift 245# and back squat 165#. These thighs pedaled me through a 40-mile ride up and down the Monon.
As with my other posts, I didn’t write this to solicit “your thighs are perfect just the way they are” comments. I just felt compelled to be honest, with you and with myself. The “me” you see on social media isn’t always the “me” that’s behind the scenes. I refer to my weight loss as a journey because it’s just that. I’ve managed to keep the weight off for 2.5 years but I’m still trying to figure out how to be confident with how I look. It’s not always easy and it’s not something I feel like you can speak openly about without appearing like you are seeking compliments.
One run in shorts isn’t going to magically change my body issues, but it’s a start.
So here’s to embracing your thunder thighs, donut or whatever body part you obsess over. Here’s to taking whatever small step you need to stop letting that hold you back. Here’s to keeping it real.