That Time I Cried After Seeing a Photo of Myself

Hey guys! How are you? I’m popping in late this evening because I had a hectic day! In fact, the last two days have been pretty crazy. A runny nose Tuesday turned into a full-blown I-can’t-breathe Wednesday, and today, I’m totally stuffed up and still very, very groggy. Meanwhile, my new job is moving at what seems like lightening speed! There’s so much happening there! It’s all stuff I’m excited to take on, but with such low energy levels and minimal breathing capabilities, I’m not too enthusiastic. And, in case you were wondering, workouts have been pretty non-existent too. I had such a great week last week, adjusting to the change, but this week, I’m reminded there’s always an adjustment period.
I’ve been thinking a lot, though and I wanted to pose a topic to you guys and get your thoughts…

I’ve been really struggling with self-acceptance lately. I saw a picture of myself from the Open last week and literally… (don’t laugh) cried! I did! I cried! It was silly and I was probably overly tired (or something) but the way I looked in the photo did not match up with the way I imagined myself looking during the workout! I usually feel strong, fast, and focused during workouts, and this, my friends, felt like a reality check. It made me question where I stand with my diet and whether I’ve been giving myself a free pass… have I been doing good? What’s good anyway?

I know I’m sick and this might sound pretty far out, but I’m really grappling with how to deal with such a poor sense of self. Granted, I don’t always cry when I see myself; there’s lots of selfies I like and we established last week that, hello! deadlifts don’t make for the most flattering photos… but, if I’m being 100 percent honest, I still struggle with thinking I’m not thin enough… or fit enough… or _______… You fill in the blank.

It’s truly frustrating to say that out loud and I hope you’ll forgive me (this blog stands for the opposite of that – I want to exude health, confidence, and self-acceptance), but it’s something I’m working on. Actually, I think I’m better than I used to be… CrossFit has really helped. I’ve never felt so strong in my life, and so impressed with my body and it’s capabilities. I also like that CrossFit isn’t about weight loss (at all) and instead, about getting better, stronger, and faster; the whole me against myself mentality is awesome. Not to mention, doing things I never thought I’d do, like handstands and double unders, is totally rocking my world and reinforcing a sense of “Hey, I’m not so bad! Look what I can do!”  But, lingering beneath the surface is a girl who doesn’t always take pride in her appearance.

I guess it could be from growing up overweight. I certainly have vivid recollections of the bullying I endured — did I ever tell you that the day I baptized, on the bus on the way back to school, this boy said, “Mr. Harley dunked a whale in the water today!”? Yes. He did. Asshole.

Anyway, I know I’m not alone in this fight — a lot of women (even young girls) deal with the same self-loathing. In fact, I just had a conversation with my stepmom, Teresa about this tonight… she’s been doing the IdealProtein program and lost a whopping 48 lbs! I’m so proud of her and she feels and looks amazing, but she kept reiterating to me that her focus is health, getting her blood pressure down and her body fat index to a healthy level.

But that’s not how my litter sister, Brooke (Teresa’s daughter) sees it. Recently, Brooke asked Teresa how much she weighed. When she told her, Brooke started freaking out, concerned that she weighs the same. My stepmom told her the difference is that she’s healthy! For her size and age, she’s a perfectly normal weight. She’s physically active and eats well… “Please,” she begged, “don’t become obsessed with your weight.”

The conversation reminded me of the fear I felt when Brooke once asked me about dieting. I didn’t dare tell her I wanted to lose weight, but the truth was, I did want to lose weight!

Where is the happy medium here? What’s the message Brooke, me, and my stepmom need to take-home from all this self obsessing about weight and diets?

I think a big part of the answer lies with the relationship each of us has with food – do we eat for fuel? Do we overeat? Binge eat? Experience emotional eating? It also has a lot to do with our past. Clearly, I’m not a whale anymore (I never was…). And, to some extent, our future goals need to be considered.  If I want to be a CrossFit competitor (I don’t), I should probably eat differently than if I plan to just CrossFit for fun.

The answer certainly isn’t easy…

Or is it?

I’m really curious your thoughts and if you struggle with the same back-and-forth about your body. Do you have a clearly defined path you’re on, and reason for being on it? What’s your weight loss/diet philosophy?

Oh, and in case you were wondering… here’s the picture:


And FYI: I’m not looking for you to tell me I look fine. I’m sharing this with the hope that talking about this openly, being totally transparent, and sharing the picture spawns some inner peace about the whole matter, and hopefully, some great dialogue among us!

Have you ever shuttered at a picture of yourself?

What’s the status of your self-image? Does it change?  

And, do others look to you for direction? What do you tell them? 

PS. This post reminds me of how I felt when I saw our wedding photos for the first time. Do you worry about how you’ll look in your wedding day photos?

Hey girl!

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  1. I know exactly what you mean about seeing a photo of yourself that was captured during a period of time you thought you were looking more badass and it appears you weren’t after all… BUT! There are few things to always remember:1. Was it taken by a pro? As silly as it seems most people don’t ever shoot with great intent or know how to properly catch a persons mood/angle
    2. Some people shoot one photo, and don’t pop off a few at a time so that one photo (which of course they won’t toss) usually catches us at those “great” times where we were standing awkwardly (body positioned terrible), or in the midst of a blink or a talking/laugh.
    And even then, photographers who get paid to shoot can capture those lovely photos of the prettiest people ever looking their worst (i.e. tabloid covers).
    I think the thing to do is shrug it off as it was taken by someone who doesn’t do photography as their career, and happened to catch you at a second where you were in the middle of something (we can’t look badass every second of every minute…maybe 99 seconds we look amazing and that 1 we don’t).

    And with all that said, that picture is TOTALLY fine!!!! But we are our own worst enemies…

    Posted 3.21.14 Reply
  2. wendy wrote:

    We all have our things. I have to say, you are super strong and are constantly my carrot during workouts. You push me to be a better athlete, which is much better than any chicken legs Taylor swift may be sporting these days.

    Posted 3.22.14 Reply
  3. Naomi S wrote:

    I am constantly in awe of how much more kick-ass you are than me. I only strive to gain that kind of strength in double the time it takes you. 🙂 I’m with you though. We all have our hang-ups (mine is my affectionately named “buddha belly” or “my food baby” that genetics has blessed on me), but also like you I am constantly amazed when I set new strength PRs. I think that is a much more healthy way to look at ourselves.

    Posted 3.22.14 Reply
  4. […] to talking about that though, I want to say THANK YOU for your wonderful, encouraging comments on this post. I debated sharing those thoughts (and then debated pulling the post), but ultimately, I’m […]

    Posted 2.28.17 Reply