Accepting the mirror

Something I have been working very hard on of late is to accept me as I am.  I still struggle a lot with self image and expecting the perfect body to come along if I work hard enough.

I took this picture at the gym last week.  I shot from the side because I don’t see that view often and I was frowning in consternation at my legs and hips.

A couple years ago, I hit my lowest weight.  Then in the summer of 2009, I started training for the triathlon and did NROLW.  I gained about 10 pounds during that time and I have just never been able to shake it off again.  It’s not all muscle weight, either (how I wish it was!).  My body seems to have settled where it is and there are days that it really is hard for me to accept that.

It is very hard not to compare oneself to others.  It is also really hard not to compare to an earlier version of yourself.  The person that I am today is not the same person that I was 2 years ago, 10 years ago, or even last week!  I can only be the best that I can be with what I am willing to do.

I’ve been running across things on the net that have been making me think about this.  One was from Yoni Freedhoff

Instead, as I’ve been yammering on about for some time, set your goal to do your best and never be discouraged if it’s not as good as someone else’s. Sure So-And-So might be losing weight faster than you, but really, why does it matter?

We’ve all got a deck of cards in life. We can stack them, but we can’t swap them out.

Stack your deck as best you can, but don’t ever be discouraged if your deck isn’t as stacked as someone else – that’s just real life.

 

That also reminds me of a quote from Gary Taubes that I talked about before:

But there’s no guarantee that the leanest we can be will ever be as lean as we’d like. This is a reality to be faced.

 

And then there is another great post from Barbara at Refuse to Regain on the last 20 pounds:

Another issue with the final twenty is that the last pounds may be relatively unimportant.  As I’ve written in the past, it’s been my experience that people who were once overweight are “denser” after they lose.  By this I mean that they weigh more on the scale than they might expect at a given size.  They may look like a size 8 and fit in size 8 clothes, but still have a scale reading that they consider unacceptably high.  When we gain weight, our body is forced to create millions of new fat cells to accommodate the fat that fills them.  These cells look just like balloons and they swell when fat stuffs them.  They then get smaller when fat is released.  The question is whether these fat cells disappear after weight loss.  I believe that they don’t.  They may remain as emptied tissue that is left behind.  Perhaps the body will eventually resorb them and then again, it may not.  But that empty tissue weighs something and it’s my hypothesis that this is the reason that dieters often wind up being 20 pounds heavier than they think they should be.

(read that whole article, too – it is very good).

I just don’t think I have the total discipline to become lean and mean (or lean and nice for that matter). I like food too much.  Plus there are just genetics.  I don’t have slim hips or thighs.  I wasn’t designed that way.  I am not tall and willowy and no matter how much weight I lose, I never will be.

I do have biking thighs and lifting pecs – even though those pecs are supporting a couple of things that have seen the better side of 43  and a large weight loss  :mrgreen:

I am strong and that really matters to me.

We all must remember that we are the best we can be right this very minute.

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28 thoughts on “Accepting the mirror

  1. Tara

    Thank you for posting this. I too have regained about 10-15 lbs from my lowest weight after losing a crapload of weight. I think some of my weight may be sitting in my excess skin that was left behind after the fact, but I never considered my fat cells.

    I have been working really hard lately on not comparing how I look to the way other people look. It’s not easy, that’s for sure.
    Tara´s last blog post ..It’s Hard to Feel Sorry For Me…

  2. Monica

    Great post and you look fantastic. Your waist looks tiny and you’ve got great curves. You should be really proud of yourself!

    I’m working on losing the weight (again) and it is hard to look in the mirror and NOT compare yourself to a younger or thinner version of yourself. But with age comes wisdom and acceptance and eventually, hopefully, love.

  3. Marion

    Hi Lori! A *lot* of this thought, though worded less intelligently, has been swirling in my brain lately. I know what my genetics is…I’ve seen my mother and my grandmother, who both have the same type of figure that I have. They both had my figure–not slim and willowy *at all*!!!! We have enormous bones! I used to just hate that! I’ve always worn 2 sizes bigger for suit jackets than suit pants.

    But most days, I really like myself. If we compared *all* of ourselves, not just weight, many of us would look very good, indeed. We bloggers are a talented group. I loved that picture of the soaps you made. It reminded me of your talents.

    Of all people, we should know better than to do this. 😀

    🙂 Marion
    Marion´s last blog post ..Scary Tales From My House: Revealed!

  4. Dawn, Lay Down My Idols

    Exactly! I’ve been going through this more and more lately – not that I’m even at goal or close to goal yet, but I’m seeing results and it seems for every good result, I see another flaw! It seems that I’m losing on my shoulders/arms and it’s falling down to my belly. Ugh. Guess it’s the middle-ageish spread? The problem is that my stomach area was always my best place – I never had a belly, until kids … and I guess I’m getting more critical of myself since I’ve been trying on dresses for the wedding next year.
    Good points though. In theory I’m ready to accept myself as a different version of myself – but I still find myself being so critical of myself. I just read an article about body types too – endomorph, ectomorph etc. and I hadn’t read that for a very long time – I felt ripped off that whatever they categorize me as, that’s it. I’m it. Ugh.
    Dawn
    PS I think you look great! And weight in the hips & thighs is the best place to have it! (health-wise!)
    Dawn, Lay Down My Idols´s last blog post ..More Weight Loss Blogs & WI

  5. deb

    Great thought provoking post Lori. Self acceptance is not one of my stron suits even when i was at my lowest weight. Enough is never enough and good is never good enough. I love the last sentence in your post and i’m really going to try to take that to heart. Hugs! deb

  6. E. Jane

    Great post, Lori. And by the way, you look great! I think Barbara is right in her assessment of what happens to a formerly obese body when weight is lost. I have seen this with many people. They just look thinner than the “never overweight” do at the same weight. I think self-acceptance would go a long way in preventing re-gain.
    E. Jane´s last blog post ..Monday Morning Weigh-in

  7. Lisa

    Good post. First, I think you look great in your photos. You are active and healthy and that’s what matters.

    I feel your pain. The lowest I got down to was 143 and then I proceeded to gain 15 pounds for a variety of reasons. Even after losing 110 pounds (fairly easily too), losing that 15 I gained was a BITCH. It took almost a year. It was the slowest going process. It was also really frustrating.

    Recently I realized that I will most likely NEVER weigh less than what I do now, 144. This is because I, like you, like food and I’m not willing to restrict my calories as drastically as I did to lose the 100 pounds. Just not going there. I like dessert. I like wine. And I like eating them in moderation. 😀
    Lisa´s last blog post ..Burgers and Bikes

  8. debby

    So well written Lori! As you know i try very hard to be content where I am. Many days I am (or should I say hours or minutes, because it seems I run the gamut of thoughts/feelings on any given day.) Other times I feel as fat as before, and worry very much about regaining all the weight.

    Even now, its hard for me not to compare myself with you and wish I looked that good in the mirror! You really look fantastic.

    Also I am constantly reminding myself that if/when I am able to lose some of this re-gain, I will once again be saggy-baggy. That’s just the way it is.
    debby´s last blog post ..about that travel…

  9. Shelley B

    I get everything you said. And we (the royal, I’m so guilty of this I should have a mugshot) are our own worst critics when it comes to our bodies…I think you look fantastic – fit, strong and healthy. You and I are too short to ever look lithe and willowy like models, but then again, we sure look a hell of a lot better than we did at our highest weight, right?!?

    P.S. Models don’t even look like their pictures – the photoshopping done is ridiculous.
    Shelley B´s last blog post ..Turkey Trot 5K/Muppet Movie Recap

  10. julie

    I’m in much the same place. I got to 147 (size 6 – BMI = 25), then back up to 165, now I’m at 157, and slowly dropping. In theory, I should be 125, never going to get there. I’d take 150. I still look huge, in my mind, am starting to think that maybe I need to work on that, as much as my weight. I’m not willing to “diet”, so I’ll get down as low as I can while still eating just mildly restrictive.
    julie´s last blog post ..Mars and Venus lose weight (or don’t)

  11. Marisa @ Loser for Life

    I echo everything you said here, Lori! It’s so strange that as I’m trying to work on my body dissatisfaction thoughts, my “eyes” have changed!!! I am seeing myself so differently in the mirror. Now, instead of picking my body apart, I am finding things to like! The other day I even said to myself… “my butt looks good in these jeans!”. <—I wasn't even drunk…promise 😉

  12. Fran

    Lori, first you look fantastic! You’ve come a long way and have a right to be proud of what you achieved and how you look.

    I like the first quote in particular. When I first started running I looked too much at other people: here I was running “only” 10K while others ran half or full marathons and I jumped in and said I would do a half too. That didn’t work out too well as you know. After I made the decision not to run that half, I was so relieved. I stopped reading the die hard runners blogs but sticked to the ones that are like me: those who do the best that they can do, like you and me. And some of them still run that half marathon but the way they approach it is fun to read and cheer for them and doesn’t put pressure on me that I have to do that too.

    Thank you for this reminder post.
    Fran´s last blog post ..Monday November 28, 2011: The mishmash edition

  13. rose

    Looking good in that photo, girl. No need to whine about nothing! FYI I have been struggling with keeping my weight down for a while now but if I could just have a body like yours I will be sooo happy!

  14. Satu

    I strongly agree with “I just don’t think I have the total discipline to become lean and mean..” and stay that way all of the time.

    I think that would be too much effort and too little to gain. If I were a fitness model, maybe it would be different, but luckily I’m not!

    I need my next Pixie shot soon! 🙂

  15. Diane Fit to the Finish

    Lori – this is such an important point and one that a lot of people never realize because they are unable to maintain a large weight loss for years as you have done. I was reading your blog when you gained those 10 pounds, and I remember how you felt about it. I love this post and especially that last quote from Refuse to Regain – it is so true. I think I weigh about 10 pounds more than I would like to, but it is what it is. As long as I know I’m working out, eating right most of the time and doing what fits with my lifestyle – I can be happy. (most days)

    You do look wonderful and fit!!
    Diane Fit to the Finish´s last blog post ..Turkey and Rice Soup Recipe for Leftover Turkey

  16. Ali @ peaches and football

    Great message today Lori. This is something I’m really struggling with right now. A big weight gain doesn’t help either. But all we can do is do the best we can and then accept and learn to be thankful for all our bodies can do for us!
    Ali @ peaches and football´s last blog post ..~ 24.2 ~

  17. Jody - Fit at 53

    Lori – we all struggle I think.. honestly, you look great BUT I do understand your thoughts. When I competed, that was the start for me on wanting to stay lean once I saw myself that way for the contest. Of course people can’t maintain that & it is not healthy, but I loved seeing the muscle. So, for me, I decided to do what I do to stay the best I could but still have some treats & my bread & stuff. Yes, I may do way more than others would want to but I still have enjoy food… BUT, I still feel as you do that I wish I looked better & how age has taken its toll ….. I also have accepted a lot of things that I would not have in the past. Like you said, we are all different & we can only do the best we can for ourselves & it is not about “the other person” even though the media gets our minds crazed about that! GREAT POST!
    Jody – Fit at 53´s last blog post ..Help Fight Childhood Hunger in America

  18. Helen

    You are, like most of us, your own worst critic, way too hard on yourself. The whole evaluation of being 10 pounds more than you want to be – yet you are living a really good life has to be difficult. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about where I want to end up and I have to admit, it’s 10-15 pounds more than my ultimate goal weight, yet realistically I think I’ll be able to maintain it once I’m there.

    This is a great post and I hope when you look at that photo you see the lean and mean (and nice!) person who is really standing there 😀
    Helen´s last blog post ..Food and Exercise, Exercise and Food

  19. dawn

    Great post Lori that I really needed to read. I’ve been struggling with body image my whole life and really it is just about acceptance because I think my picture of myself is warped anyway and coming from where I did there is no such thing as perfection and like you I too like food to much. Honestly does that 15-20 lbs matter to me, hmmm it sure shouldn’t. Btw I think you look terrific in that picture 🙂
    dawn´s last blog post ..Learning To Sit With My Emotions

  20. Roz

    HI Lori. I adore this post. Isn’t it a shame that so often we don’t see ourselves the way others see us. When I see photos of you, I see a strong, fit, healthy, happy “got her sh*t together” woman. I see the whole package, not the thighs or hips. I think we’d all be hard pressed to find many people that don’t struggle with this though, you are not alone, and I can relate to your thoughts. But please know when I see you and read your words, I see nothing but a shining star in the land of healthy living. (wow…those last words just spewed off the top of my head and out through my keyboard…I like it, I’ll have to remember my “Lori saying” again!! 🙂 ) Have a wonderful Wednesday. (and I apologize for the profanity in this comment! 🙂 )
    Roz´s last blog post ..You can……..

  21. Tami@NutmegNotebook

    Great post and it seems that so many of us can relate to this topic. I don’t think I would be completley happy at any weight. I would always find some fault with my body. We have to accept that we are not perfect but thats really ok.

    For myself I do better when I am focusing on eating healthy and feeding my body well rather than focusing on the haves and have nots as it relates to weight loss or the number on the scale. It’s such a mind game.

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