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