Happy 2016! And crop tops!

First off, HAPPY 2016!  What did you do to ring in the New Year?

We did our usual, we threw a little shindig for our friends, but if you could believe it, I was having so much fun I forgot to take pictures of the night, and you’re just going to have to take my word that it happened ūüôā

The highlight of the night was Austin and some of the boys cracking open some Chinese liquor that Austin got from the last time he was in China, from a vendor.  They all took a shot from the bottle, sniffed it, put a drop on my tongue, and decided that this was not the alcohol for me.

But shouting out the countdown was really fun, and staying up and talking late to friends, especially when it seemed like we were sort of every which way for the holidays.

Time for a right turn as we zoom, head first, into 2016.

How do you feel about crop tops?

I love crop tops. ¬†I don’t get to wear them as much as I used to because I’m an adult and self-adornment by crop top is highly discouraged in any professional setting. ¬†But I was gifted an extremely cute crop-top from my boss at a studio in Cary, and my love for crop tops was reignited a few weeks ago.

But, I wasn’t always that way. ¬†Until I lost a few pounds, I was convinced that crop tops were only for skinny people with gorgeous stomachs. ¬†I waited until I lost a really decent amount of weight to venture into H&M and I purchased my first crop swing, a top that you seriously could wear with anything and look good. ¬†It wasn’t until recently that I realized something.

My body, your body? ¬†It’s not for someone else’s consumption. ¬†Therefore, if you’d like, you can wear a crop top at any size or shape, with reckless abandon. ¬† Because what someone else might think doesn’t matter!

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Pretty sure this was my first crop top ūüôā

I work hard in the gym. ¬†But these days, I’m really trying to work harder on not being so hard on myself. ¬†Meaning, not spending time looking at my tummy in the mirror, turning to the side, and checking to see if I’m developing a beer gut. ¬†Not really picking myself apart as much.

How was your New Year’s Eve?

Will you be wearing a crop top this year?  

When did you become aware of your body?

I have been really struggling with my body this week. ¬†Which seems silly. ¬†My body is capable of amazing things. ¬†I’ve run marathons. ¬†I teach multiple classes a week, sometimes multiple classes a¬†day. ¬†Sometimes, I look in the mirror in the morning, and see something¬†awesome. ¬†And yet, this week, when Aunt Flo decided to visit a few days early, and I put on a teeny bit of weight after what I felt was an amazing week at the gym, everything went to hell, and I became uncomfortably aware of how much physical space I was taking up.

I found the responses to last week’s post¬†really interesting. ¬†IRL, as well as online, I heard a lot from you guys (which I love). ¬†However, the most intriguing responses came from the folks who’d shared on it in an online Trail and Ultra Running group I’ve been a part of. ¬†Many folks commended my friend for calling me out, as they should have. ¬†A few folks commended me for admitting what an asshole I’d been. ¬†And more than most admitted to feeling poorly about their own bodies. ¬†Some admitted to doing what I’d done, turning the things they felt were negative about themselves into rules that dictate what others should wear, and how they should wear it.

What’s so interesting about this group is that these folks are capable, strong humans. ¬†Some of them truly¬†do¬†look like models. ¬†Some look like¬†fitness models. ¬†Some are overweight. ¬†Some don’t look like “typical” runner. ¬†Some do. ¬†However, their running and their capabilities are in no way defined by their looks. ¬†So¬†why all the angst as it relates to our bodies, especially considering the fact that at the very least, in¬†that group especially, our bodies are capable of running endless miles on rugged terrain?

When did we get so aware of our bodies, and what they should look like?

For me, I remember being 120 lbs as a freshman in high school. ¬†I struggled with my looks, the way I’m sure all 14-year-olds did. ¬†I was sitting in a civics, and I looked down. ¬†I was wearing a fitted top, and noticed the part of my tummy that was hanging over the edge of my jeans. ¬†I pinched it. ¬†I pinched it again. ¬†To this day when I’m feeling anxious or particularly down, I will look down, grab that little roll, and pinch. ¬†No matter how small or how round it’s gotten.

I’m not sure how I learned that behavior, or¬†what¬†drew me to became aware of this part of my body. ¬†However, at 13 or 14, I knew that there was something “wrong” with it. ¬†And, as I talked about last week, the things I find “wrong” with myself, I look for in others.

All of that said, I¬†do¬†identify with the fact that not everything I’m thinking is logical or right. ¬†I recently ran a marathon. ¬†I have incredible physical strength. ¬†I just completed a grueling vinyasa sculpt class with minimal nausea. ¬†I should have incredible gratitude for my body, these limbs, these muscles that get me from more than point A to point B. ¬†But,¬†my first instinct, my first learned behavior is to be critical of the physical manifestation of who I am.

At what point did you become aware of your body?  What does your body mean to you?

I want to get my boobs done.

Let me back up.

I feel pretty confident in what I have going on. ¬†Often, as I’m getting ready, I’ll hit ’em with one of these.

dancingBut one area that I continue to be concerned about on and off for years now is my boobs.

Prior to losing some weight, my breasts were 100% out of control, and they were the source of a lot of physical pain and embarrassment.  My back killed all the time, and I felt embarrassed in my clothes.

308_531833140143_7264_nI actually wore this bikini with a rash guard at all time to keep the boobs under control.

As I lost weight, I lost boob, which was a relief, especially to¬†my back. ¬† But for someone my size, I still have a lot going on, and sometimes I play with the idea of getting my breasts reduced and lifted. ¬†At this point I feel like they’re a little big on my frame, I’d like them to sit higher (I mean may as well as I’m in there), and I’m a little sick of having to stuff myself into clothes.

On the other side of that coin, there’s the cost. ¬†There’s the fact that I typically feel so in love with my body and the things that it can do. ¬†And there’s the big looming question – do I really want to cut myself so I can fit into cheaper bikini tops?

What do you guys think about plastic surgery in general? ¬†You don’t have to self-disclose, but if you’ve had it, please feel free to email me with how it went!

Be kind to yourself.

Hey, I need to follow my own advice. ¬†I’m sometimes horrible to myself, and I’m on the more confident end of the confidence spectrum. ¬†I’d be lying if I said I don’t stand in front of the mirror and kinda turn, and assess what’s going on. ¬†More often than not though, I wink at myself, do a little dance, and conclude that I’m pretty boss.

But at yoga last week, the sweet, kind little teacher reminded us to “be kind to yourself. Be kind to everyone you meet.” ¬†And I was so glad she’d reminded me of that, because I can use a little help in this department.

Zumba

One evening, earlier in the week, I taught an evening Zumba class.  Two of my regulars, loyal faithfuls who keep me on track, were present, and totally ready to go.  When the blonder of the two started.

“What’s wrong with these mirrors?”

“Girl I know!”

And the whole while, I’m standing there, completely puzzled. What were these two even talking about?

“The mirrors over here! They make you look bigger.”

“I know!”

They turned to me. Shit.  What did I do?

“Except for her. ¬†They don’t ever make¬†her look bigger. ¬†I been coming for over a year and I ain’t never seen her look any bigger.”

I was stunned. ¬†Let’s do the math. ¬†So, according to these women, the mirrors in the studio are¬†selectively¬†choosing folks to make look bigger? ¬†I don’t think so.

So ladies. ¬†And gents, really, I don’t discriminate. ¬†Be kind to yourself. ¬†Spend the next week choosing your words wisely. ¬†And the¬†very¬†second you’re tempted to poke at your tummy, frown at your skin, or pinch your butt, say something nice instead.

I was such a slob kabob today.

I wasn’t feeling great. And I didn’t make it any better by watching hours and hours of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,”and drawing the blinds. Watching a show on a day where you feel less than stellar about yourself featuring a family of insanely gorgeous Armenian bombshells does nothing for your self-esteem. As I lay there watching Bruce Jenner (who may be one of my favorites in that family) contemplate doing a little something-something to his face to fix the damage a doctor had done in the 80s, I began to fantasize about the work I’d do, should a plastic surgeon magically appear, free of charge, in my living room. I dreamt my breasts were lifted and reduced, and that I’d magically begin frolicking on beaches in teeny fringed bikinis, similar to Rihanna, and that my new boobs might just stay in place without any worry about them flopping out of the suit. My mind wandered further. How long would this imaginary surgery keep me away from the gym? Would I gain weight as I recovered from this imaginary surgery? This surgery was compounding my imaginary life.

I’m aware that this line of thinking is insane. And 93% of the time, I’m normal . I’m super intelligent, and I’m an ugly girl at all. I place a premium on treating people well, which is the number one factor that contributes to beauty. But evvvvery once in a while, that sneaky little rude thought weasels in. So I wanted to see, and sort of make sure, that I’m not alone in this irrational line of thinking. So I posed this question to a lot of you a few evenings ago, and I was shocked to see a lot of you had the same weird hang-ups about your body as I do. Comments poured in. A lot of you hate your stomachs. Your legs. Your feet. Your thighs. And the most insane thing? The majority of these comments came from smart, beautiful, and last but not least, healthy girls. Girls who were not only beautiful on the outside, but girls that I know for a fact had accomplished and lived through incredible feats. Girls who work for non-profits. Girls who successfully manage a hectic work schedule. Girls who’d picked up and moved across the country with no fear, and no family.

All this is to say, I think it’s okay to have those days when you doubt something about yourself, even if it’s physical. But those perceived flaws are likely only a flaw to you. If you keep on being an awesome girl with a sick personality, those little things, only perceptible to you kind of become non-existent. Cause who really cares that you have big boobs when you right a sick blog, right? ūüėČ

Running revelation.

The weather turned absolutely gorgeous today in North Carolina. ¬†When I pushed off this morning just after 11, it was nearing 60 degrees, so I popped on a tank, some Norts (if you’ve been following along, you know what Norts are), and hit the road for a naked, headphone-free run.

Mid-run I realized something. ¬†I didn’t do a¬†gut check before I left. ¬†And I haven’t done a gut check in forever. ¬†What is the gut check, you ask? The gut check is the practice of lifting up your shirt, checking your gut region, and analyzing it from each angle while lamenting everything you’ve eaten/every day you haven’t worked out for the past week. ¬†Usually it’s followed by some pretty self-deprecating thoughts, swearing off all junk, and trolling celebrity gossip websites for bikini pictures of Mila Kunis.

I also realized that Target has some of their bikinis out and I’m not freaking out. And I came to this – exercise makes you feel so good about yourself, there’s really no need for the pre-summer freakout, or the New Years Resolution/Spring Break workout fest,¬†followed by a crash. ¬†I remember (especially being an¬†undergraduate¬†student with a little tummy pudge), feeling¬†awful¬†about my body. ¬†Freaking out when it came to bathing suit time, feeling fiercely jealous of girls who actually worked out with great bodies, and not really knowing what to do to make the changes I wanted to see in my body and in my confidence.

Going from being mean to myself to caring about myself and actually being confident didn’t happen overnight, but I’ll say this. ¬†I’m perfectly aware I’m not a supermodel, and that a career as Naomi Campbell may not be in the cards for me. ¬†However, the more/harder I work out, the less worried I get wrapped up in what I look like. ¬†I’m doing the best I can, my body is looking pretty fierce, so there’s no need to freak out or complain.

So if you’re one of those ladies (or gentlemen) constantly finding yourself doing the gut check, asking your significant other if you’re fat, or comparing yourself to weekly bikini pics in InTouch Weekly, chill out! ¬†Commit yourself to an enjoyable regimen, and the self-destructive comments and humor will seem a silly little thing you did in the past!