Monday, May 16, 2011

Short side

Sometimes I feel I’ve come so far—not just in my weight loss, but in my never-ending battle of self-image. I realized last week just one thing, however unexpected, can set me reeling.


That’s right. Tiny pants. A small item of clothing that barely takes any space in my closet managed to take a ridiculous amount of space in my head last week.

It’s been getting hotter. My too-big yoga pants have seen better days, so I set out to buy a few new things to wear for my workouts. I bought a pair of shorts that I didn’t think were so bad, and thought the reduction of the heat could trump any amount of self-consciousness I would feel.

Boy was I wrong.

I first wore those shorts for a session with my trainer, Jessica. I caught one glimpse of myself in the mirror—in my shorts and tank top—and realized the image I saw so didn’t match the one I had in my head. I was horrified.

Here I am, lifting weights, doing push-ups, squats, lunges, etc. And all I could concentrate on was my appearance. I turned decidedly away from the mirror to avoid the cellulite on my legs and the rolls on my stomach. I was so distracted by those images that I really struggled through my workout. And it brought me to tears.

How silly I am, but also how human. I long to be the girl who doesn’t care what she looks like. Who can look in the mirror and see beauty when I do. I wish I knew how to change that. I know in some ways it’s gotten better, but when my appearance makes me cry during exercise, well, that’s just a sign of how much farther I have to go.

I vowed not to wear those shorts ever again. Then I changed my mind. I thought maybe it was something I needed to get over rather than ignore. So I wore them again for Cardio Fusion last Thursday. After all, in that room, we have no mirror. But yet again, I was distracted. The shorts stuck to my thighs when I did the knee lifts. I heard the slippy sound of the fabric rubbing together as I ran forward. And I was convinced that everyone was disgusted by me.

The truth is that no one cared. My fellow classmates were concentrating on their workouts. No one cares about what I’m wearing or how much my thighs rub together.

I just wish I didn’t care so much.


Anonymous said...

I feel your pain big time. I think Girls will always struggle with the question of "Am I beautiful?" But I think the improvement that you've made on the inside with your heart and self-image far outweights the outside and without a doubt makes you beautiful!.

Anonymous said...

Don't feel bad. Women are programmed almost from birth to feel that they don't look good enough. From playing with Barbie Dolls, to finding our boyfriend's girlie magazines, to Miss America pagents. It's enough to make a super-model cry, much less a regular woman. Self confidence is so hard to hold on to, so just try your best to "fake it until you make it"!

Anonymous said...

You're right - truth is, no one cares what you wear. My hope for you is that you reach a place of loving yourself. That you see yourself not for what's on the outside but for who you are on the inside - the beautiful, caring, funny, smart woman that you are! It will take time for YOU to define your appearance - not for your appearance to define you. You are beautiful and awesome and amazing, Erika!

Anonymous said...

There are lots of different work-out shorts out there, keep looking til you find a pair that doesn't distract so much!

kicks said...

Shorts and I are not friends, and honestly, even when I was 20 pounds lighter, my shorts still rode up and stuck and did annoying, annoying things. It's just how my legs are shaped, regardless of how much weight they're carrying. Finally I have some knee-length workout shorts that are OK, but regular workout shorts and I will never be friends.

Blame the clothes, not the body!

Hugs girl!

Anonymous said...

This whole world we live in is bullshit. Men dont need women to objectify them. women objectify themselves all on their own. i used to think it was horn dog men making women feel like objects, but now i see the Maxim and FHM and playboy and victoria secret mags and women just whore themselves out. and we expect men not to look? nothing is left to the damn imagination any more! every woman is trying to one up the next woman. it's ridiculous. here's a novel idea, ladies! put your clothes back on and play a sport or go to college or do something to empower youself and that makes every female proud to spell their name W-O-M-A-N!

sorry to go on this tangent, erika. you are far more beautiful than you will ever know. a pair of shorts doesnt define you. the courage and determination you have shown over the past year does. so when you look in the mirror, ignore the shorts and see the amazing person you are who makes ME proud to spell my name WOMAN. you go, girl. :-)

Christina said...

The reason I love your blogs is because of your real life experiences and complete honesty regarding your feelings. I feel your pain. Shorts and even more so....BATHING SUITS, have been a nightmare that I was able to push away during the winter months but now since it's heating up, the dreadful issue resurfaces. What I do have to say is that this journey of losing weight and retraining our minds to think differently has been quite a tough journey. BUT, we have made it this far and really should be very proud of ourselves! Next time you wear those shorts mentally tell yourself "I don't care what anyone else thinks...I don't even care what my own thoughts are telling me...I know I am strong and am doing everything I can to make myself a healthier person...inside and out!" On a side note, which I thought was quite funny, my family always tell me...just wear those shorts! The cellulite won't show that much if you put some color on those legs..ha ha! Maybe I will try that this summer!
WW Buddy...I am hear for you and will take on this short challenge with you!

Kellynn18 said...

Oh, Erika, I do love you! You always manage to take something that so many of us go through and say it in ways that make us see just how both gut-wrenching and silly our feeling really are...all at the same time! I have totally been in tears at the gym before too--both as a result of how I look in my workout clothes AND as a result of a workout. Soon enough it'll be the burning in your legs from that spin class making you cry...keep up the great work :)

Anonymous said...

You are so funny! Here you are obsessing about your thighs when just last week you told me that nobody is looking at my Sharpei thighs but me.
It is frustrating when you have lost as much as I have, and the picture in your head doesn't match the mirror.
Start saving for reconstructive surgery so that your head matches the mirror when you reach your goal.
After all the work, you deserve it!

BTW, I loved meeting you at Tullie.

The Famous Erika!

Love you,

Barbara said...

Erika, Erika - honestly, I'll bet most people in classes here with you at Children's are thinking (if they're even thinking about it :) - "wow, every week she looks better and better and thinner and thinner" - I know I do every single time! (and also, "dang I wish I could do that "shimmy-shake" thing as well as she does!" )
Let me impart a bid of wisdom in my old(er) age.... for exercise class, WEAR WHAT'S COMFORTABLE!! It's not about what you look like in the clothes, it's about what you're GOING to look like as a result of getting the max out of classes by wearing comfortable clothes! (not to mention the good health bonus that comes along with it)!
Just let me know ahead of time so I can make sure we have matching outfits - LOL!!!