Body image and self-confidence, through the eyes of Facebook

July 1, 2011 at 2:48 pm 11 comments

Just out of curiosity, do you other bloggers come up with post titles before, or after you write the post? I always seem to write them before — maybe that’s why so many of them suck.

Are you guys enjoying these ridiculous pictures of me yet? Cause really I’m just looking for any excuse to flaunt my feminine, delicate beauty all over the internet.

I’m feeling like with the better food and portion choices I’ve been making lately, my mindset is finally starting to change, little by little. Instead of dreaming about the fifteen portions of pizza I can’t wait to gobble up later, my mind is more quickly turning to the more practical option — what can I eat that will make more sense? It doesn’t mean I don’t want these things — hah, I don’t think I will ever stop wanting pizza — it’s just that I’m so supremely tired of disliking myself simply as a direct result of what I have just put in my mouth. (TWSS).

But my thoughts still constantly center around food — What am I going to have to breakfast? What should I make for lunch? Ohhh, pizza for dinner sounds so good. But where? I’ll look at the menu for twenty minutes, drooling over the endless options.

That makes me sound like a total nutjob, yikes. On a sidenote, I’m reading The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite by David Kessler. I’m not huge on diet or hoaky self-help books, but I feel like this book is helping me understand why my mind is always buzzing about food. It suprised me to read the book’s introduction, which interviewed several people who explained that their minds work in a very similar way to mine — always wondering, what’s next? What can I have? I feel like reading this is helping me to become much more aware of this disordered way of thinking about food, as if pizza were suddenly going to vanish from the earth tomorrow, never leaving me with another taste again.

Oh god, wouldn’t that be a nightmare?

Also, I need to stop referring to pizza. What is that, like five times in the last three paragraphs? Get ahold of yourself, Laura!

Really though, I do think about food a lot. One of the interesting quirks about the healthy living blog community is that sometimes it can feel borderline obsessive about food. Many bloggers seem to be straying a little more from the, “Here’s what I ate x3” posts, which I think is a good thing, but for someone unfamiliar with the idea of food/fitness blogging, talking in such excess detail about what you eat, how and why can seem really disordered. I struggle with this a lot, sometimes asking myself why I’m hovering over my dinner, snapping one blurry picture after another for twenty minutes before realizing that my food has already gotten cold.

This, friends, is why I sometimes grace you with beautiful pictures like these, instead.

Uh, at least I think my eyes are pretty?

This brings me to another interesting point though. While on my lunch break, I was reading some of Gretchen’s posts about body image and hiding her intense self-consciousness behind a loud and boisterous personality. I’m definitely guilty of this, and as you can see above, I tend to hide my lack of confidence behind goofy faces and That’s What She Said jokes. I think, Hey! No one will notice that double chin if I’m contorting my face enough to look supremely constipated.

Okay, that may not be my exact thought process, but you get what I mean…

Anyway, as Gretchen has said, looking through Facebook pictures of yourself at different points in your weight is a really interesting process. I’ll find pictures where I’m at a point I distinctly remember feeling fat and horrific-looking, but now I think that I looked slim and great. At many points throughout college, I was eating normal portions, walking everywhere and hitting the rec center to work out most days after class. I did drink a lot of beer and hit up late night pizza joints every once and while, but I also wasn’t sitting at a computer for 8 hours per day. It makes me sad to think that I wasted all that time and energy feeling bad about myself when I should have admired the fun, wonderful person into whom I was evolving.

Conversely, it’s also quite interesting to look at pictures where I was at higher points in my weight. I can notice distinct quirks about how I hold myself, such as covering my stomach with a pillow or awkwardly tilting my head down to disguise my chubby face. I also recall running to the camera in the hands of whoever had taken the photo, checking to see — Did I look fat in that one? — or not wanting to look at all. Unfortunately, I often feel this way now, and realize that there are very few current pictures of me, on Facebook or even from photos taken by friends, because I avoid letting people take pictures of me.

It’s a strange feeling, gaining small but important strides in my confidence as a result of things like training for, and subsequently completing my first 5k. My mother has remarked on several occasional that she notices that I look slimmer — Must be a result of all that running, she says — but when I look in the mirror, all I see is something that needs to be fixed. A work in progress.

I know I have a long way to go before I start feeling comfortable and confident with myself, and I also know that the steps I’m taking now, however incremental they may be, are an important part of getting to that point. All I can hope for now is the motivation and determination to stick to the goals I’ve set for myself, and for the wisdom and strength to keep pushing when life’s inevitable surprises and bumps in the road get in the way.

This post was meant to be about the iced tea I made last night…but I think it turned out a lot more interesting. Good thing I waited until after writing it to add the title ;)


Entry filed under: Favorite blogs, Fitness, Food and diet, Life, Motivation, Self confidence. Tags: , , , , , , , .

TLC Burning a hole in my pocket

11 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Whitney  |  July 1, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    I love this post. I think we have all been there at some point–and I truly identify with everything you said. I’ve really been struggling to be comfortable with the fact that I don’t have a model’s body and I probably never will. It’s so easy to ignore awesome qualities I have because I focus so much on what I can fix next.

    Kudos for being so candid and honest! I have a feeling I’ll be doing a post like this sooner or later, so keep an eye out for it!

    • 2. Laura @ prettylittlewords  |  July 1, 2011 at 3:29 pm

      Thanks, Whitney! Please tweet me the link when you do write it, I’d love to hear your take on it as well :) Thanks for commenting!

    • 3. Laura @ prettylittlewords  |  July 1, 2011 at 5:49 pm

      And re: your model’s body comment, I don’t even think MODELS have a model’s body…did you see the AMA’s recent statement? It’s such a relief that someone higher up is finally recognizing how damaging all that airbrushing can be to our self esteem. Besides, I’m not sure I’d want to have a model’s body if it meant I would lose my boobs! Haha.

  • 4. Sarah @ Run Sqrl, Run  |  July 1, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    I have a hard time coming up with titles. I usually try to distill the gist of what I’ve written afterwards.

    I really love this post. I could write a book about how much I identify with exactly what you’re feeling write now, but I’ll spare you the novella in the comments section.

    I agree with you about the slightly obsessive feel to posting what you eat three times a day. I’d feel like a doof posting what I ate three times a day because everyone would realize how boring I actually am.

    This is one of the most well-written and honest posts I’ve seen since I started hunting for blogs. many <3s for you!

    • 5. Laura @ prettylittlewords  |  July 1, 2011 at 5:45 pm

      Oh Sarah, please DO write the novella! I’d happy gobble it up (pun intented).

      Thank you so much for your sweet words — it’s much easier to open up about this stuff when lovely people such as you comment on them! :)

      • 6. Sarah @ Run Sqrl, Run  |  July 1, 2011 at 8:05 pm

        I think I will write it then! I’ve got plenty of free time to do so this weekend, thank goodness.

    • 7. Laura @ prettylittlewords  |  July 1, 2011 at 5:46 pm

      Also, agreed — I tend to eat the same things for breakfast and lunch most days (which I actually like doing, oddly enough). Dinner is usually the only thing that changes drastically. Although I was so impressed with myself this morning — I’ll be sure to post my non-cereal, non-oatmeal breakfast! ;)

      • 8. Sarah @ Run Sqrl, Run  |  July 1, 2011 at 8:03 pm

        Totally the same for me. I just don’t have that kind of time to plan most of my meals between work, exercise and travel time.

        I love having my oatmeal every morning though. I get up and I’m always super excited to go sit and have my oatmeal & peanut butter and bananas with a cup of black coffee. It just puts me in a good mood for the rest of the day!

  • 9. Allison @ PickyEatingRD  |  July 4, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    Great post girl – I am all about the honesty and with you when it comes to recording everything you eat 3x/daily – who has time for that anyways – now you need to get up right now and snap some current pictures of your gorgeous self!!!!

  • 10. Jojo  |  July 11, 2011 at 1:33 pm


    I found your blog through FFF and have been reading a couple of your past posts. I love this one!! I think about food the same way you do and I too am actively trying to change that and many other aspects of my life.

    Keep up the good work and keep writing! I like your wit.

    • 11. Laura @ prettylittlewords  |  July 11, 2011 at 1:57 pm

      Thanks so much for your comment, Jojo! So excited to have a new reader via Ali — I know that she would send over nothing but great people ;)

      I definitely agree, it’s difficult to change your thinking process about food — it’s either totally exhausting, or you throw all logic out the window and eat crap. Still gotta find that balance…


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