Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The perfect body

A few weeks ago I posted this picture - my first pair of running shorts that I've ever bought:

I am yet to wear them.

I have never been a fan of my legs and today I was going to brave them for my 3 mile run at the gym.

I put them on, I still felt "exposed" but was going to give it a shot. 

Then, my hubby walked in. I said, "I'm not sure about these. I'm not much of a short wearer, ya know?" 

My poor innocent hubby. He just looked at them and said very matter-of-factly, honestly, "don't worry, not everyone has legs for those kind of shorts."* 

Ouch. Oh. I guess not. I quickly took them off and put back on my black yoga pants that are just perfect when it's 98 degrees out! Not.

My husband instantly felt bad. I know he didn't mean any harm. He tried to recover - "They look fine, who cares? My legs are short and chunky and I wear shorts! Who has perfect legs anyway? You should wear them, they'll be cooler…" and on and on he went but the damage was done. 

It was confirmed in my head. Cover 'em up.

I wasn't crushed. I do not have any grand illusions about my body. Though I must admit it does piss me off.

When I was 100 pounds overweight I was eagerly looking forwards to the day that I could sport a bikini, rock a strapless or sleeveless dress and yes, even proudly and fearlessly wear shorts. The crock o' shit is that, CRAP, I still can't wear a bikini (hello flabby post-baby, post-100 weight loss looking belly), I still don't feel awesome in strapless or sleeveless stuff (courtesy of 'wings') and well, "not everyone has legs for shorts."

Got me to thinking about this 'ol body of mine… how do I feel about it?

Well, despite all this imperfection, and I know this is going to be totally contradicting to my reaction with the shorts,  I believe I have great legs, a perfect belly and awesome arms. Really, the perfect body.

Seriously. Why do we beat ourselves up so? I mean, I've beaten myself up my whole life and when are we "allowed" to finally not self-loathe our imperfections? I've decided that now is the time for me.

My body is healthy and strong. It has carried me 26.freakin2 miles, it has carried a child, it is healthy and I work hard for this health. My body has stood with me thru, literally, thick and thin. It's put up with cigarettes, alcohol, mistreatment and everything else. It's rallied with me to health and it's the only home I know.

My body will never be a "perfect" 20 year-old, air-brushed, Maxim model type but this body is mine and that is good enough for me.

I'll wear my shorts one of these days and I promise that I'll wear them proudly!  I do have legs for those shorts because my running has earned me that and if someone out there in the world doesn't like some of the lumps and bumps of my perfect legs that's just too bad. 


*For the record, hubby tells me I'm beautiful on a daily basis. If I wear a dress he compliments my calves -- but running shorts are different. I appreciated his honesty, he wasn't trying to be hurtful in any way.


Erika said...

Thank you for is just what I needed to hear today. xoxo

misszippy said...

Great post. I have to say honestly that I am hot and cold on my body. One day I think I'm doing ok, the next I feel like a flabby cow. But like you said, the most important thing is that we are healthy and we should appreciate all that our bodies can do for us (and the hard work we've put into them.)

You go rock those shorts!

John Hulsey said...

Great blog, and you inspired me to step out of my own comfort zone today.

Jennifer K. said...

I grew up in Phoenix, where 100*+ was the norm for most days between May and September. It never occurred to me that I (or anyone else) might not have the "right" legs for shorts. We simply wore them because it was mandatory to survive in the desert.

My guess is that you are overthinking and you look just fine. Wear the shorts - to a workout, to the mall, whatever- and see if you're even thinking about it after a while. You might find them so comfortable, you'll wonder what you were worried about.

BabyWeightMyFatAss said...

Great post. I tried on bathing suits today from last year thinking they would be horrible and they weren't. They weren't great but it could have been a lot worse!

Anna said...

I just started with a personal trainer and my 2 goals: guns and running shorts!

Ponka sa said...

Boy oh boy...does this blog hit home. Great blog today!

Thank you for this one, Jen XO

Unknown said...

oh honey...perfect schmerfect.
there are days where i will scrutinize my body too but you know what? I usually wear it anyway ;)
90% of the time it is all in our head.

Unknown said...

Thanks for all the comments.

I guess what I'm learning is it's not about being perfect - I think that what running and fitness has given me is the ability to forgive my flaws a little more than I had. I know that I do good things for my body and health on a daily basis.

Yes, vanity (and common sense) prevents me from wearing belly shirts and short-shorts but still, despite a few moments of "I wish this part of my body was better looking, I feel more peace with my body image than I once did.

Frickin' Fabulous at 40 said...

I never thought about my legs before, and now I'm wondering about those shorts in my after shot! I did wear a sleeveless summer dress last summer and all I thought about were all of my stretch marks being exposed. My stomach is by far the worst victim of my weight-gain and therefore weight-loss. It's the first place I feel fat when I haven't been doing the right things as often as I should. Unless we nip and tuck every last ripple, I think it'll be impossible not to nit pick at things.It HAS to be better than being 75 pounds heavier or 100 pounds heavier!

Michael said...

Your poor hubby. I'm sure he felt bad and certainly did not mean to upset you!!

I have also had a complex about my legs.....always, I've even had a few blog posts about them in the past. They have always been "big", but I have learned to love them just the same. I love what you said about having the perfect body and you do. Whatever we have is perfect, especially if we are healthy.

I told someone recently that we wish our lives away. I wish I was thinner, I'll wear that when I'm a little fitter, etc. and before long its all gone. We have to be happy with where we are now. It doesn't mean you can't strive to get somewhere different, but if you are always looking to the future you never get to enjoy the present!

Jenny G said...

We are our own worst critics and harder on our bodies than anyone else. I used to think the same way. I have lost 100 lbs and let the chatter of negative talk hold me back for years. Now I put on my shorts (and yes I am a short woman with short legs!) and head out to the gym. You have to accept yourself!!!! YOu have come so far!!! I am sure you look GREAT in your shorts. Start wearing them at home doing yard work, walkign the dog and before you know it you'll be at the gym.

Jason said...

We all need honest people in our lives and not the 'you look great' compliment when it looks horrible.

You are strong and should be damn proud of what you accomplished. Lots are still sitting on the couch wondering.....not you you are are doing.

Erica Gorman said...

Sweetie....running shorts aren't always flattering and it has nothing to do with your legs. Put them on and run proud! You are truly beautiful.

nikki said...

wear the shorts, jen!! wear the shorts... i wear the shorts and my spider veins scream from my milky white (albeit tan for me) legs, and i just don't care much about it anymore.... if people don't like what they see, they can certainly look elsewhere... you rock jen the for YOU!!!

Meister, Running While Smiling said...

Hear, hear, and power to your short shorts, lady! I just wrote a post on this topic myself, as a way of trying to make peace with my own shape and size: What makes a "perfect" body?

After last summer, I was super happy to overcome my own fear of short-shorts. This year's goal: Running in a sports bra. I CAN DO IT!! Ha.

Crystal said...

I can't wait to see you rockin' those shorts.

Caroline said...

having lost a lot of weight myself i can relate to this.

I think you should wear what you feel ok to wear

I used to not wear shorts and now I do BUT I dont always like the way I look in them. I wear comp shorts under them usually

and honest husbands are a rarety

Kathy said...

As another shorty with, erm, sturdy legs I know what you mean. It took me a while to get comfortable in running shorts. BTW, there are running bermudas out there - those were my gateway shorts until I was (emotionally) ready for the rest.
I also have a very ... honest ... husband with all the best intentions. I know how it goes.

Jamie said...

It's crazy what we put ourselves through mentally... I'm happy to see you're feeling confident and proud of yourself, you deserve it! :)

Lealah said...

You. Are. Awesome. I just recently started wearing sleeveless tops/dresses and while I feel pretty, it's still way out of my comfort zone. I'm always super conscious of my "wings" and make a point to keep my arms down and not draw attention to them. At the same time, I've busted ass in Body Pump and I feel like I have rocking shoulders and definitely enjoy showing those off. I guess you just have to pick which things you're willing to deal with. I still won't do shorts because I have too much loose skin around my thighs, so for that I commend you for even buying a pair and you WILL rock them soon!

Anonymous said...

I found this post through Miss Zippy! It definitely rings true for me, although one thing that I have found as I transition to shorts is that it's important as to what type of shorts - for avoiding chafing or what I affectionately call chub rub.

I actually transitioned for a while to wearing longer compression-type shorts that wouldn't rub in between my legs. This season I've found some great options that provide a little more coverage but still the long leg needs.

Run with Jess said...

Great post. I hate shorts too - but more for functionality than looks I guess. (They bunch up between my legs when I run - how do people run in them?) However I do love my compression shorts and skirts that I run in religiously in the hot summer. I can't wait to hear the day when you ran and show off those thighs!! Go Girl!

Yo Momma Runs said...

If it makes you feel better, the last race I was in I had a mom-cident where I couldn't completely hold my bladder for the last four miles of a downhill race. So sometimes it's not just the shorts that cause us trouble, it's the awkward "sweat" line in the crotch. Sometimes our bodies just don't cooperate with our plans.

Beth (i run like a girl) said...

Just found your blog thanks to Miss Zippy, and I had to stop over to say PLEASE WEAR YOUR SHORTS TODAY!

Seriously! Be proud of your legs. Screw airbrushing and photoshop. Your legs are real. Your legs are strong. That is better than a fake picture in a magazine ANY DAY.

(PS - Google images for "Nike Thunder Thighs" if you don't believe me.)

Unknown said...

My views on my body change often.n depending on what time of day and especially what time of month. I have stupid tattoos on my legs. I was young and an idiot. Now they are not really all that bad and not offensive but I see them and don't like some of the mistakes I had made so I never wear shorts. I would probably still have gotten tattoos but wish they were not so pointless. Anyways,

So my suggestion is to practice wearing the shorts. Wear them around your house, wear them on a quick errand and maybe get a running skirt. I have never thought I looked good in that style of short you have. so maybe it's the style that you don't like on you. Practice working through what you like on you. You my dear are the one who needs to think you look good so the doubts of what others say or you think they say don't matter anymore.

Robin said...

Great post for sure. I'm like that too, I usually only wear capris that are tight enough to keep everything in place. I do wear shorts in training though, but in races, mostly capris. I've started wearing shorts this summer in races, because it's been extra hot. I find that once you do it once, it does get easier. Go for it. I'm sure you look terrific!

eep said...

I have also lost a lot of weight, around 70 lbs. When I look in the mirror, I don't see a big difference in my appearance. I see what I expect to see. Now, when I catch my reflection out of the corner of my eye, I am constantly surprised that it is me. And I lost all that weight 4 years ago. And I STILL don't know what I really look like. I think I will always think of myself as fat.
Moving to wearing running shorts was a big step for me. I have been doing yoga and am rocking some abs. I have thought about getting a bikini this summer. But I don't have courage yet. Maybe next summer. I would be so uncomfortable that the bikini is all I would think about if I was wearing it. Baby step.

Anonymous said...

thank you thank you thank you for such a true post- I needed it today :) I am post baby and am really struggling since i have a ton of running shorts that I am nowhere near getting back into. I am a compression short with long tshirt to cover the bulk kind of girl. and truly I hate that I can't just be happy with all that my body has done.
sigh. what a journey!

Kaitie said...

Thank you for this. I have been consistently exercising lightly for about 2 years now, and in the past few months have started training for a half marathon. But, I have always had thick, sometimes jiggly legs. I live in Florida, but usually, come September, I WILL NOT wear shorts or skirts. I am finally starting to see major differences in my legs, and trying to get up the courage to wear my running shorts, rather than yoga capris, somewear other than my own basement on the treadmill.