You know those kind of friends that you can go without seeing for YEARS and it’s as if you never left each others side in the first place?
Let’s pretend that’s us. (Well, it is, right?) 🙂
Whenever I plan to catch up with an old friend, it’s probably over coffee. I’m a recent
self-proclaimed coffee connoisseur. And by that I just mean I’ve expanded my horizons to trying different flavors of coffee. Hello, peppermint creme.
So, let’s say we’re chatting over a delicious latte, laughing at nonsense and just enjoying each others company. We’re right at home and enjoying conversation with freedom to be 100% ourselves.
Each week of this series will include a different topic for conversation, typically on a Monday. This week it’s body image! If you see a particular question that interests you, speak up — let’s chat a latte!
1. Why do we care so much about what we look like?
Trust me, if you’re anyone growing up in this society it’s hard NOT to be hard on yourself. But I always wonder this — imagine you’re laying on your death bed one month from now (awful thought, I know. Stick with me here.) Would it really matter what you look like? How hard your abs are? How shaped and sculpted your arms look? No. Our bodies are merely a vessel that we use during our time here on earth. Yes, we should honor them and treat them with the utmost respect, but that doesn’t mean obsessing about every little calorie we put in our mouths and it certainly doesn’t mean standing in the mirror and complaining about what we look like. Life is about so much more than how we look.
2. Why do I binge eat or eat for emotional reasons, and how does it affect me physically and emotionally?
Oh boy, this is definitely not something to be answered in a paragraph. You may read my previous posts about emotional eating here and here, and how I overcame it. I’ll admit to you now, though, it’s still a struggle. Sometimes I’m super exhausted after a long day, or I’m just feeling lonely or emotional, and rather than do productive things (all the things I know I should do in this situation — read, blog, journal, pray, reach out to a friend, take a walk, sip some tea, etc.), I still revert back to my old ways. It’s easier for me to feel physically uncomfortable with fullness than emotionally uncomfortable and face the fact that I’m lonely, vulnerable, stressed, or whatever it is I’m actually feeling that day. To say I’m completely free from emotional eating would be a lie, but I’m a work in progress and I strive to improve myself every day. The biggest difference now is that I don’t beat myself up if I eat “too much” by my standards. I no longer let the shame consume me, which is what makes emotional or binge eating so awful in the first place. We do it, then we feel so bad about ourselves for doing it, which leads to us doing it again — it’s a vicious cycle. No, I forgive myself. I rest in the Lord and know that I am wonderfully created and that it’s OK to feel exactly what I’m feeling. There is no shame in feeling lonely, stressed, exhausted, and in the long run it’s much healthier for me to emotionally cleanse myself by dealing with these issues head on rather than running to food for comfort.
3. How do I tone a certain body part?
My friends know I’m into health and fitness, so they always ask “how can I tone my stomach?,” or, “is the thigh gap a real thing?” First of all, you can tone your stomach through a strict diet. Yes, you can build muscle in your core, but you won’t be able to see it until you’re eating to fuel your body and your workouts in the healthy, non-overindulgent way. There are plenty of safe ways to slim down, which I will discuss in more detail in later posts. Secondly, yes the thigh gap is a real thing. How do you get one? Start by placing your feet together. Step out into a wide stance with your right foot. THERE — you have a thigh gap! (see question 1 about the death bed.)
4. Magazines show skinny models but there’s also a rise in the weightlifting competition trend across social media platforms — so what’s attractive? Skinny or strong?
This is totally subjective and varies from individual taste. Would you like to know my real answer to this question? Both are beautiful. Want to know what’s even more beautiful and what we should really be focusing on instead of our physique? What’s on the inside. Will people remember you for body, or will they remember what you did for them? They way you made them laugh. The way your eyes lit up when you talked about something you’re passionate about. THAT’S what they will remember. So yes, eat healthy. Work out. Trust me, I do a lot of both and I feel great because of it. But I also work a LOT on improving myself from the inside out, because the inside is where it all begins.
5. Do you fear wearing a bathing suit, or is it just me?
I don’t care how thin or toned I may look, I’m still uncomfortable in a bathing suit. First of all, a bikini is pretty much a bra and underwear. OH HEY. Secondly, I’m the first to stand in front of the mirror and criticize myself to wit’s end. Ummm, why? Chances are 99% of the women at that party/beach/pool you’re going to feel the exact same way you do and are more self conscious about the way they look than how you look.
Let’s own it. Work it. No matter what shape or size! It’s all about the confidence. Let’s start viewing ourselves as strong, beautiful women (or men!) and embracing our flaws.
6. I have cellulite… Am I the only woman (or man) in the world?
JOIN THE CLUB HONEY. You should see my butt when I squeeze it together.
7. I have stretch marks, too. Ew.
Remember that time we both got attacked by tigers and they left those dark scratches on our inner and outer thighs? Exactly. Victory wounds.
8. I feel best in modest clothing, but I feel out of place when I go out to bars and everyone else around me is dressed in little crop tops and skirts.
Me too, girl. Me too. I just wear whatever I feel like wearing. If that’s leggings and an over-sized sweater, so be it. I’m not trying to attract attention because of the way I look. In my opinion, that’s negative attention, especially in certain situations like bars downtown. No, thank you. I’d rather have someone approach me when I’m modestly dressed than when I’m scantily clad because there’s a better shot that they are approaching me with genuine intentions rather than what I can offer.
9. What if I don’t feel like wearing make up? Is that socially acceptable in public, or will people judge me?
If you ask anyone I work with, I always show up with no make up on. It usually makes it way onto my face about 1-2 hours into work because I just feel better with it on, but I realize that it’s not what defines me. I have friends who are scared to go to the grocery store (or even the gym!) without full hair and makeup done. They always say, “Well what if I meet the man of my dreams?!” and my reply is always, “If I meet the man of my dreams and he’s not interested in me without make up on, then I sure as hell don’t want him to be interested in me WITH makeup on.” You’re going to have to wake up next to each other for the rest of forever, so you might as well show your true self at some point. So yes, it is totally acceptable to not wear make up in public. If it makes you feel good, put some on. If you don’t feel like it, don’t. No pressure! No judgment (from people that matter, anyway).
10. Will you still love me when I’m no longer young and beautiful?
Why yes, Lana. I will. How wise of you ;-).
When I planned to write this series, I expected to get a lot out of it, but I seriously feel like I just vented to a friend and feel even more rewarded just by typing all of this out! Hopefully you’ll join in on the conversation and do the same.
If we were getting coffee, what would you order?
Next week’s topic: nutrition! Let me know if there’s a question you’d bring up during our coffee date and I’ll include it.