Not many people know this about me, but body image is something I have always struggled with. I feel sad looking at old pictures, knowing that in that moment, I was thinking that my thighs were too big, or that my stomach was not thin enough. I want to shake my younger self, and tell her that she is strong, that she is healthy, and that she should focus on what her body can do, rather than what it looks like.
Yet, I still have these thoughts today.
When I was a gymnast beast of a child, I thought my legs were 'thunder thighs.' When I played soccer and could run and kick with vigour, I internally compared myself to my teammates. When I was a dancer, poised and graceful, I felt uncomfortable in my tight bodysuit, which I found unforgiving to the fat on my stomach. When I trained for and ran a half marathon, I was disappointed that the training had not made a difference in my physical appearance. And now - when I can lift weights, run, do yoga, hike, and practice handstands - I still have days of hatred towards my body.
But why??? If my body were someone else's, would I still be able to balance and walk on my hands? Would I still be able to hike and snowshoe and run, enjoying it despite the burn? Would I still have the same spatial awareness, aerobic capacities, muscular strength and muscular endurance abilities? Why would I want to have someone else's body, when I have built and earned these capabilities for my own body?
Even if I have some 'extra' fat should I really care that much? I am healthy, I am strong, and my body is incredibly capable.
I need to remind myself of that more often.