“I look fat in that picture.”
“Look at my arms.”
“Why did you take that from that angle?”
“Ugh I look so gross!”
“Hold on let me stand like this, or someone else stand to hide my body.”
A picture is worth a thousand words, and when you are trying to lose weight we use all thousand. I’m so guilty of this. Now in the age of cell phones and digital cameras, we are constantly asking for retakes or to delete them. I’m guilty of being highly critical of photos being taken of me, not just because of weight but also because I have facial nerve damage. But I kind of miss the days of whatever it looks like is what you get. It almost makes getting a good picture more special, when you can’t erase and suck it in. My friend at work and I laugh all the time about how when we see the photographer during a 5k, EVERYONE tries their best not to look like a hot damn mess. But I have decided next time no to pretend it’s a stroll in the park. Also I am going to use the pictures as a tool on my fitness journey, and then also look at the moment not the picture.
Exhibit A is shown above. When I first saw this picture I did NOT want it posted anywhere. I was like, “Oh my god look at my rolls! I look so gross!” The backstory of this photo, it was my first ever 15k (I know I talked about that a lot), and Jim (my fiancé) got a candid of me running in the pouring rain that day. Why didn’t I want to show it? When running in 5k’s or mud runs, you will hear people warn each other of the photographer coming up, so you can fix the fact that you are puffing like a nut and looking like a piece of poop. Why am I not owning that crap? If it was easy I wouldn’t be doing it, so why not show people yeah I worked hard to get to that line. Then I went to a boot camp class at a dance studio I love, with a teacher that kicks the crap out of you. We were all finished this 90-minute sweat-fest, and the teacher said, “Alright group photo!” There was a chorus of, “Ugh! I’m sweaty!” and people all began to slide towards to the back. I’m sad to say that I also hid in the back of the photo. Well you know what! I’m done doing that! If I am busting my butt, and someone is commemorating that with a photo or that photo is being used on their social media I am not going to be ashamed anymore. I worked hard for that sweat and red face. If it’s effortless than I didn’t try hard enough. From now on any photos of my fitness in motion, I promise you will see the sweat.
Photos can completely be fitness tools. It’s good to reflect on how far you have come, and how hard you have worked. I have a picture from a few Christmases ago. Jim’s sister received one of the newer forms of Polaroid camera. She was taking pictures of the whole day. She took a picture of Jim and I, and I think I look terrible. When I see it all I think is I look so big. So I decided to clip the picture into my fitness journal. It’s from when I was at my heaviest, and I can say, “I never want to get to the point of being that big again!” It is part of my “fit”spiration. I also willing have begun using photos as a tool for fitness by planning on taking a picture every time I start a FitGirl Challenge. I have a Piece of paper with “FitGirl Challenge” written on it, I put down the date every time I start a new one, and I hold it in a photo. This is so I can see how my body is changing each time I start the next challenge.
I need to see a picture and not immediately start picking apart my body. I look at this pic and it’s me with the love of my life. We were at the wedding of one of my greatest friends, and just dancing. No picking apart my imperfections just remembering that perfect moment. The only thing my eyes go to in that photo is actually the way Jim is looking at me. I won’t get mushy, this is a vomit free zone. But I need to appreciate more pictures like that. The ones where I don’t immediately start the run down with what’s wrong me, instead I just love what memories they bring me. The other day we were watching a slide show at work, and I just loved the moments that it captured of the school year. Then I co-worker pointed out how much I have changed and weight I lost. I hadn’t even noticed myself in the background or side of some of the pictures. But then when I look closer at those moments, there was a notable change in my size. That’s what I call a bonus, since I wasn’t even looking for me.
So a photo is worth a thousand words, but I am the one controlling what they are saying. They are illustrations of my journey, and I need to be ok with that. I’m being more positive with myself, and that goes hand in hand with me being ok with getting my picture taken. It’s going to be a process and I won’t always block out my little bits of judgment on myself. So if I ever ask for a re take or to suck it in, tell me no. I’ll start to be more camera ready at all times!