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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Reflection in a mirror

I basically wear about five outfits. I have more clothes in my closet than that, but the same 5 items are rotated throughout the week and if I delay doing laundry I look at the remaining clothes in a panic of "I have nothing to wear!" My husband looks at the same remaining clothes and says "you still have more clothes than me and we have 2 weeks of laundry to be done." I also adore cardigan sweaters. I even make my 1 year old daughter wear them because I think they're so practical and cute.

Yes, this has absolutely nothing to do with running but stick with me it's eventually going somewhere.

Anyway, one of my favorite outfits is a pair of black slacks, a red short-sleeved shirt, and the white sweater. The basic colors make my brain happy. The slacks are long and wide and disguise the worst part of my thighs. The shirt is clingy enough to show that my waist has some shape but the sweater is more forgiving of the bulges.

I wore this outfit earlier this week (well I wear it every week) and as I was chatting with my coworkers I happened to look off to my side where my entire body length was reflected in a glass door.

It's been a while since I've been able to see myself in a full length mirror. I don't have any at home anymore. My bathroom mirror shows enough of me for the 5 seconds I appraise myself before going to work. So the image in the glass door was enough to make me stop and look for a few seconds. If my coworkers noticed they probably wondered why on earth I was staring at the door of an empty office.

If you were to ask me I would admit that there are many parts of my body that I hate. Parts that stand out and shout to the world; that say look at me, here's my flaws, this is why you should grimace and turn away. But when I looked at that reflection I liked what I saw. I looked tall and almost skinny (the heels I was wearing did give me some extra legginess.) This was a bit shocking.

For as much running as I've been doing lately my diet has been crap so I've had zero weight loss (or gain thankfully). My scale has been on the same three numbers (plus or minus one or two) for the past three months. I've stopped getting on the scale because it got to be quite irritating. So since I haven't seen any measure of my progress on the scale I've gone back into old habits of analyzing one part of me at a time and then that single part's flaws are exaggerated a hundredfold until I become depressed and go eat another cookie.

One of my problems (just one of many) is that my mental reflection of myself sometimes needs a reality check. This was just as true when I was heavier and I didn't see how much weight I gained when I looked in the mirror. But now when I look I still sometimes think I look just the same as I did 30 or 40 pounds ago. It isn't all the time but it still happens.

So this was a nice little reality check. Though my weaknesses in eating are preventing me from losing weight my thighs and rear are reaping the benefits of the time spent running. One the other hand my stomach wishes I would go to the abs classes again and my arms wonder if I'll ever pick up a weight but there I go again - making things more exaggerated and nurturing my narcissism.

I just finished reading The Amazing Adventures of Diet Girl by Shauna Reid - amazing book, I'm linked to her blog in my blogroll. She too spoke of that inability to see your accomplishments but instead feel that need to explain to people that you were still working out and trying to lose more weight. This has happened to me a number of times. Someone at work will mention that I look like I've lost more weight and I can't just accept the compliment. Instead I ramble on about how the scale hasn't moved in three months, blah blah blah. As if I'm trying to justify why I still have fat thighs - in the end I'm the only one looking at my thighs.

So narcissism, distorted views of reality, and the inability to do laundry on a weekly basis. No wonder running is my therapy. I couldn't afford the real stuff.

1 comment:

  1. Good post, I can relate to many of your points. I even have a favorite mirror, one that somehow makes me look better than the others do! Yes, I'm a little crazy.
    I'll check out that blog/book you mentioned.