On one of the many blogs I frequent there is a discussion going on about body image. The question for the blogger was whether reverse body image issues could occur. Normally when people have difficulty with body image or a distorted body image it means that they see themselves as being bigger than they really are which leads to excessive dieting and other eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia. Reverse body image is when you look in the mirror and see yourself smaller than you actually are. I am firmly in the camp of feeling like I'm smaller than I actually am. I am always a little shocked when I step on the scale and am reminded of just how much I really weigh. I think, how is that possible when I look so thin? This also happens whenever I see a picture taken of me where I wasn't aware a picture was being taken, I look and think "that can't be me, I don't really look like that." It's a strange phenomenon and I'm not really sure what to do about it. I guess I need to figure out if this distorted image is getting in the way of success or hurting me.
One thing that I've always felt is confidence, even in high school when I was a big nerd with glasses who wore In-N-Out t-shirts and jeans every day of school I felt confident in who I was. I was never unhappy with who I was, I don't ever remember being ridiculed for my weight. I had friends, I had classmates who wanted to be in my group for projects, I was involved in student government and had a date to the prom. I went swimming in public and wore shorts in the summer when it was hot out. All of this even though I was overweight. In college I was confident at all of my sizes, maybe more so when I was bigger (my college weight loss really deserves it's own post).
In graduate school I was conscious of my changing size but I didn't let the expanding waistline keep me from doing the things I wanted to do. I began running when I was around 175 pounds and actually run faster and further now at 190 pounds than I did back then. It's strange to write all of this out because it has been so ingrained in me that I need to weigh less than 155 pounds to be considered "normal" and yet I've felt very normal at almost all of my weights (except over 200 pounds, that's one time where I was not feeling comfortable with my size). So, what to do?
I know in my head that I need to drop some weight because it will, in all likelihood, help me to run faster, keep my joints in better working order, help me to be more active once we decide to have kids, etc. But, honestly, if all of my clothes fit right now and I didn't own a scale I probably wouldn't be very concerned with losing weight. Maybe this is why I've been stuck right around the 25 pounds lost mark. The first 12 were very important because I wasn't comfortable above 200 pounds, I didn't fit on a roller coaster, I couldn't run very far, I felt very tired all of the time. Now, I don't have those problems and so the need to lose weight is no longer critical.
I don't know what this means in the grand scheme of things when it comes to my size and my goals. What I do know is that I packed my scale yesterday and I am feeling liberated this morning! I'm going to focus on my marathon training and eating good healthy foods to fuel my training. We'll see how things work out, hopefully my speed will improve and my endurance and maybe my clothes will fit a little better (one can hope).