Building Confidence

medium_177110753photo credit: rellim via photopin cc

I have to be honest, I’ve never been super proud of my body.  I mean, it does what it’s supposed to, but since childhood, I (like every other woman) have been bombarded by images of stereotypical beauty, and I don’t fall into that stereotype.

(Though I do have fabulous hair.)

As I got older, I grew to accept my body for what it is. I’ll never be thin – I’m not designed that way.  And that’s okay.  But I still felt the need to hide my body most of the time.

A few weeks ago, I was standing in my bathing suit chatting with a couple of people and it wasn’t until later that I realized what I had done.  I was wearing a bathing suit.   One designed for lap swimming, not for maximum attractiveness.  And I was nonchalantly standing around talking, as if nothing was wrong.

Because nothing was wrong.  I wasn’t worried about how I looked.  Because swimming isn’t about how my body looks, it’s about what it does.  And I’m learning that with all the sports I’ve picked up.

With running, I’ve been able to somewhat hide my body (though pictures tell me I’m not actually doing a very good job of that – water belts do nothing for the belly roll).  But biking and swimming make that a bit harder.  Triathlon kits are not made to be flattering.  They are made to be functional.  They fit tightly because they have to.  Otherwise, I would have clothing flapping around as I tried to swim and bike.  Not good for anyone.

And you know what?  I don’t care.  I mean, sure, I would like to get rid of this belly fat.  It’s unhealthy and I would like to get back into my cute clothes.  Also, weight-loss will likely lead to faster speeds when running/biking/swimming.  But my body doesn’t bother me like it used to.

My thighs are big.  They’re also super muscular.  Awesomely so.  Do clothes then fit weird?  Yes.  But I don’t care.  My body has gotten me across numerous finish lines, races I wasn’t so sure I would be able to finish.

All this training has taught me that it’s not about how my body looks, it’s how it works.  And while I need to eat better to keep it working properly, it’s about being healthy and being strong.  Not worrying about what other people think.

10 thoughts on “Building Confidence

  1. Great post! I’m an educator, and I recently overheard some of our boys disparaging “fat people,” so I inserted myself into their conversation and put it out there that it’s not about “thin” being good and “fat” being bad, that fitness and health are far more important and don’t really track that well with someone’s weight. Some people who are “overweight” can run marathons and do other athletic things, while someone who is “thin” aren’t necessarily healthy or capable. I think (I hope!) I got them thinking.
    JohnSherck recently posted…5ks and CompetitionMy Profile

  2. Great post! And good for you for chatting in that suit. As someone with similar issues in the past, I know how monumental that is.

    Thought I’d share this, in case you’d like to read something I wrote along the same lines: leanerbythelake.com/swimsuit-season/

    And P.S. What suit do you wear for laps? I need to procure one…
    eileen ragan | leaner by the lake recently posted…totally tulip.My Profile

  3. Thanks for all the awesome comments, everyone!

    Eileen, I have two suits – both are by TYR, and I got both on sale. They are awesome suits.

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