Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Michelle: Body Image and Working Out (Week 1)

I have a million thoughts to share, so hopefully I can boil these down to something mildly coherent. Like Kate and some of the other girls, I took the weekend to go out to eat a few times and rid my kitchen of Keebler Fudge Stripes and other things (pesky elves). The "lifestyle change" started in full-force on Monday.

I have a body image problem. It's a recent thing, this dislike of certain parts of my body. But it's also really hit me that my body image issues are partially brought on by our current society. I was watching Mad Men the other night. One of my favorite characters is Joan Holloway (played by Christina Hendricks). Think about how she looks, how they dress her. She's beautiful, and she's in tight clothing and is most definitely not a size 2. She's curvy, which was accepted and appreciated in the 60s.

I've always loved Marilyn Monroe. This morning, I pulled out one of my "Marilyn Encyclopedias" and looked up her measurements. She was around 38-26-37 (bust-waist-hips). 38! Today, we clamor for 34! Marilyn wore a size 12 dress and a size 8 pants. Gee, how times have changed. If this were the 60s, I wouldn't feel overweight, I'd feel curvy.

Thinking of these women that I find beautiful is helping me adjust to my own body image. I really want to drive a point home though - on this blog, we're all trying to get healthy and adjust our eating habits and exercise accordingly. It's not about "being skinny" for us. Really. However, with good health comes a lot of benefits, and we're definitely up for that. Some of us, when we hit our ideal weights, will still be curvy girls.

I've never been good with numbers. Ideally, I'll be replacing fat with muscle, which is heavier. So my weight may not go down as drastically. When I'm still weighing in the same and the other girls are shedding pounds, I need to remember that. I talked with my trainer on Tuesday, and my goal is to get leaner, and I'm targeting a couple of places. I've also found a solution to track my progress without, again, getting caught up in the numbers. I've cut two ribbons, one white and one black. The black measures my first target area and the white measures the second. The goal is to make sure those ribbons end up too big in the end.

Sunday I stopped at my local SteinMart, which is going out of business. I bought several skirts, all in size 8, with one size 6. At the beginning of summer, I was searching out size 10s. So there has definitely been a change. However, I've lost between 2-4 fluctuating pounds since the beginning of summer, so the difference is in body shape, not weight. This is pretty impressive considering I've only been working out about twice per week, and that includes dancing. Imagine the difference working out will make if I can force myself to do it more than twice per week!

I'm moving my workout ball and my little hand weights out to the middle of the family room, where I'm sure I'll trip over them repeatedly. Hopefully staring at them everyday will force me to use them, even if I don't make it to the gym.

One final thing: I have lousy posture. Whenever you see me, remind me to stand up straight. It makes a huge difference in appearance and, especially with all my back troubles, will keep me from being a hunched up little old woman when I'm 90.


Anonymous said...

Media and Hollywood endorsed body image distortion is such a problem. None of the most beautiful women I know in my daily life are TV-sized.

Instead of looking at the fitness models on Magazines for inspiration, I've been trying to look at the women in my life who are normal sized, fit, running marathons or doing triathalons, and still occasionally indulging in some ice cream.

You're so right that eating right and exercising shouldn't be about getting thin, but it should be about getting healthy and feeling good.

Random aside: L-O-V-E Mad Men, and adore Joan's style.

Amy in Ohio said...

Love the ribbon idea - we should all do that.

Great points you make Michelle - here's to our health!

ShannanB aka Mommy Bits said...

I have a body image problem as well. For me it is my thighs. I hate them. The problem is that until joining Cincy Losers, I did nothing about them.

I would agree with you about the way that media portrays women. It's like the Carrie Underwood cover. They want us to have a certain view of what we should look like, the problem is that its distorted.

Mad Men Girl said...


I've entered a contest to win a walk-on role on that retro-licious TV show, "Mad Men".

If you wouldn't mind taking a couple of seconds to vote for me, go to my blog, or copy and paste the following link which goes right to my picture:

Thanks a bunch!