That Day I Talked About Body Image

In October, I was in a best friend’s wedding. It was a beautiful Autumn wedding–while the Weather Channel predicted a downpour, the day couldn’t have been any more perfect. Blue skies, crisp autumn breeze, and the trees were still loaded with orange, yellow, and fiery red leaves.

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Soon after the wedding, the bride gave us temporary access to the photography site to view all of the pictures taken on the wedding day. The quality of the pictures was fantastic, however, I came across a photo that made me stop in my tracks. It was a photo of me, laughing, and I had approximately three chins. My stomach dropped.

Trippy

The amount of self-deprecating thoughts that flooded my mind in the next 5 minutes is astounding. Gone were the happy feelings as I clicked through an album of pictures that captured such a happy occasion. I was too focused on this one picture out of almost 1000. I thought about this picture for days. In my head, I contemplated the high intensity workouts I would start doing to burn fat fast–burpees for days–and what foods I would start to cut out of my diet–cheese and grains, for sure.

Days. Days I wasted putting myself down and thinking negative thoughts about not only my body, but my will power. Or should I say, my lack of will power.

And then it hit me. My tunnel vision is astounding. I was so focused on my triple chins (or ‘trippy’ as Chris and I now playfully call them) and how wide my upper arm gets when it’s pressed against my body that I missed everything the talented photographer captured with one click of a camera.

  • The fact that I was laughing–a true, bubbly laugh, one of the realest and happiest emotions
  • The fact that I was enjoying myself and my company on one of the most important days of a friend that I’ve known since I was 5 (4.5 if you’re really counting)
  • My hand on another’s shoulder, showing a positive connection between two people
  • The mug of Pumking that I relished every sip of and that the bar gave me secretly because it wasn’t part of the deal but I was a part of the bridal party

I was so fixated on the two-dimensional perspective of my body–one image, one moment, one angle–that I forgot what I was really doing during that moment. I wasn’t ‘being Abby, with a triple chin.’ I was living my life. Enjoying my life. Filling it with moments that are bursting with more happiness than you can imagine.

I am sharing this picture with you today for two main reasons:

  1. On February 13, Lauren Fleshman (a pro-runner and writter for Runner’s World Magazine) posted the following challenge: The Challenge: Everyone keeps saying how powerful social media is. Let’s use it to redefine beauty. Post an unflattering photo of your body on Facebook or Twitter and spread the word. Add the hashtag #keepingitreal. When we click on that hashtag we’ll be able to see a collection of photos from real people that represent truth. How refreshing will that be? To be included in an upcoming slideshow on runnersworld.com, submit your photo here.
  2. I am pledging, today, to train my mind to remember what is important in life. While I do want to live a healthy lifestyle, I need to learn how to merge making healthy choices with consistently providing myself with positive feedback and support. They say we are our own worst enemy–well, let’s turn that around. I want to be the best friend to myself I can be.

We all choose to be healthy for several reasons. I choose to be healthy so that I can have as many happy moments, such as the happy moment displayed in the ‘Trippy Picture,’ as possible.

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