How I improved my body image.

July 23, 2013

As I was leaving for my run this morning my dad was leaving for his walk at the same time so I decided to go down to the .5 mile loop park that he walks around with him. I even did the first mile of running with his dog! Best run I have had in a long time.

Photo

20 minute Warm-Up +

Fartlek Workout: 8 times 1 minute at slightly faster than 5K effort with 1 minute recovery jog

20 minute Cool-down

Warm up/cool down/recovery pace is 7:45

Those fartleks really started burning during the 4th one and my legs were so tired by the end that the cool down pace was kind of hard to keep but I do have to admit, it was a fun workout.

And for some randomness:

My texting conversation with my sister last night at 11:30 pm.

Me: I wish mom’s house had clap on and off lights. Will you come over and install them for me?

Sissy: Call mom and ask her to come downstairs and turn off the lights for you.

Sissy (five minutes later): You can also try throwing pillows at the light switch..Sometimes you get lucky and it will turn off.

I fell asleep reading and finally got up and turned them off at 1 am.

————————————————————————-

I have talked about body image a bunch throughout the years (seriously, years now?) I have been blogging and today on my run I was thinking about it a lot. I was thinking about what I did to change my feelings about my body. From the ages of 13-25(ish) I had a hard time looking in the mirror without picking out something on me to be negative about and now I really don’t do that (unless it is THAT time of the month when my hormones go crazy:) It used to be constantly on my mind no matter how thin I got and it wasn’t very fun.

I didn’t start feeling good about my body until now because I all of the sudden am now my thinnest/in the best shape/most toned that I have ever been. I weigh 20some lbs more than I used to a few years ago.

I don’t love my body because when I look in the mirror I now think I look like a super model.

My healthier body image didn’t come because I have been repeating affirmations to myself about loving my body.

I feel better about my body BECAUSE my priorities changed. Having a perfect body just isn’t a big deal to me anymore. It isn’t my number one priority anymore and I rarely think about it so if I’m not thinking about it I am not thinking negative things about it. I am happy where I am at, I am happy my body brought the greatest thing ever to me (Brooke). My worth is no longer tied to what my body looks like…. there is so much more to life than that.

I think for me a lot of it has to do with service. For so many years I just thought about myself. As soon as I got pregnant my body didn’t matter anymore because I wanted to do whatever it took to make sure Brooke was healthy. Once I had Brooke my day became centered around serving her.

DSC 5016

(turns out Brooke really likes rice)

I’m not saying that having a baby is the best way to make you feel better about your body but I think in general just placing less importance on your body and more importance on serving or bettering someone (or something) else does.

Running definitely is still a priority for me and I want to be fast and train hard. So if that brings along some muscles and allowing me to eat ice cream after every meal then that is great but all of the running is because of my running goals, not because I think I will be ‘happy‘ when I lose x amount of lbs. Does that make sense?

What about you? Has your body image become healthier over the years? How so? What is your advice to feel better about your body?

Has body image ever been a big deal for you? When?

Who do you text most often?

Elizabeth @ my neon running shoes July 23, 2013 at 2:05 pm

I can totally relate to this post! Even when I got pregnant I was still really struggling but the whole being a mom thing has really changed SO MANY aspects of my body relationship. In fact, I think the term body image is a misnomer because it’s so much bigger than just an image! Again, I agree with you having a baby isn’t a way to solve things but it can be used as a great motivation. Thanks for your honesty :-)

Reply

Hollie July 23, 2013 at 2:06 pm

What a great post Janae. I think every person could benefit from reading this. You will never truly achieve body happiness and in turn life happiness until you realize there is so much more to life then how you look. For me it was finding someone who truly loves me, for me.

Reply

Cathryn July 23, 2013 at 2:06 pm

I totally agree. I look back on my photos of me in my 20s and wonder why precisely I beat myself up about my body and never wore shorts because I looked fine!!

I think the key point you make is about having other priorities. For you (and for me), having a child changed the way we saw everything, but it can be different things for different people. It’s when we stop being totally self-absorbed and start thinking about other people and other things that we start to realise how unimportant all the things we worried about before really were! It’s a healthy part of growing up.

I used to hate my legs because I have ‘thunder thighs’. Yes, they’re still larger than I’d choose but they’re super strong (due to running) and I rock shorts with confidence I would have killed for in my 20s. Being honest though..my belly is a different affair and I’m still learning to ‘love’ what my little boy left there :)

Lovely post…and your dad looks AMAZING. Hope he’s really proud of himself.

Reply

Jazz July 23, 2013 at 4:22 pm

Lol- I call my belly my ‘Zeb pack’ after having Zeb! so much cooler than a 6 pack.

Reply

Betsy July 23, 2013 at 2:06 pm

I hope with time I can have such a great positive attitude like you.

Reply

Ashley July 23, 2013 at 2:09 pm

My body image has certainly improved over the years (seriously high school/college was NOT pretty for me, mentally) but it’s still something I tend to struggle with. When I’m training and sticking to my plan I feel great- I feel strong, I don’t care about the number on the scale and I don’t find myself ever saying “ugh, I feel fat”. but if anything interferes with my workouts- an injury, vacation, etc.- all the bad thoughts start creeping back in. I just try to remind myself that even with an extra rest day or two (or four) I’m healthier than ever. I’m stronger, I’m faster and I’m in the best shape of my life. KNOWING these things really helps me keep myself in a good mind space when I’m starting to doubt it, just need to keep reminding myself!

I text my sister most often too!

Reply

Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries July 23, 2013 at 2:11 pm

I couldn’t agree more with you here! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. I, too, used to beat myself up ALL the time about something on my body when I looked in the mirror. I get asked a lot how I changed that and don’t struggle with body image issues anymore. Of course I have the occasional day that I’m not feeling my best, but like you, having my baby Hunter was the thing that turned my way of thinking around. Weighing a few more pounds or not having a super toned tummy is nothing in comparison to the joy that Hunter brings me.

Reply

Sarah @pickyrunner July 23, 2013 at 2:12 pm

I think I go in waves with body image. Sometimes I’ll feel really awesome about myself and other times I’m just not. I’ve noticed that it has a lot to do with my overall satisfaction with life. When I’m not thinking about food and my body constantly, I can look in the mirror and see a totally different image than if I’m unhappy in other areas of my life. I think you’re right in that shifting your focus to find other things that you prioritize higher makes a huge difference and hearing you share your story is inspiring to so many.

Reply

Lisa July 23, 2013 at 2:13 pm

Such a great post. Body image is such a hot topic to discuss because I’m positive every single person can relate to it and have had moments where they struggle with it.
It’s so true that there’s more to life than the way you look and being a certain size will not bring you happiness. I’ve learnt this after losing a significant amount of weight and being severely underweight. I wasn’t happy in the slightest.
I think it took a lot of time for me to really appreciate what my body could do for me, but I’m glad I’m at a healthier place now. And I’m glad you’re at one too:)

Reply

Adriana @Laced Up With Lipstick July 23, 2013 at 2:14 pm

Oh I so get what you mean,
In college I was crazy about staying thing it was quite an obsession with counting calories and exercising everyday. I am not in the best shape of my life but I try to do my best. I have two beautiful children and a super saggy stretched out belly but it doesn’t bother me anymore. My children are the greatest treasures and I’d rather have them than the perfect flat abs I used to have. My main priority is to be healthy so I can watch them grow up and be a good model for them.

Reply

Heather July 23, 2013 at 2:16 pm

I really, really love this post. Well said.

Reply

Lauren July 23, 2013 at 2:17 pm

Thank you, Janae, for continuing to make posts like this. You have been a great inspiration for me, and I’m sure other long time readers too :), who struggle with these issues… you rock!!

Reply

Alina July 23, 2013 at 2:24 pm

Focusing on fitness goals has really helped me with body image. Instead of exercising to get that six pack or to tone up my arms, I focus on getting stronger or faster or having more endurance. If your goal is to be able to do 20 perfect pushups without stopping or run a sub 7 minute mile, your body will improve on its own—you don’t have to weigh yourself constantly or obsess about appearance. I am in the best shape I’ve ever been in and I did it by doing workouts that I love—-so yeah–throw out your scale :)

Reply

MILF Runner July 23, 2013 at 2:25 pm

I love what motherhood is doing for you :)

My struggles with body image were fueled early on by my very, very thin mom and her weird food and feeding tendencies. I knew something was wrong with her…which was good for me to realize! As I became more involved in sports, things changed. I viewed and valued my body more in terms of what it could do. I went from feeling like a behemoth around my mom to being a shrimp around my athletic peers (which I had a hard time realizing because I thought I was gigantic due to my mom comparison). That said, I rarely went through periods where I was not happy with how my body looked. I thought the appearance was pretty good actually ;-) Once an athlete, I longed to be stronger, bigger. It was more performance-based. Currently, I’m content :) Health trumps appearance. We are all so different. It is absurd to hold up some singular model of beauty or perfection.

As for texting…I text two of my friends and my husband the most frequently.

Reply

Kim July 23, 2013 at 2:26 pm

I love this topic! My daughter is 4 and listens to every word I tell her, she also ALWAYS tells me how beautiful she thinks I am. Kids her age haven’t yet been tainted by all the outside forces that we allow to convince us we are not beautiful. About 4 months ago she and I were looking at ourselves in the mirror before leaving for church and she told me I looked beautiful. I had just been wishing my arms were more toned, my belly was flatter, and my hair had less gray, but she didn’t and doesn’t see any of that, she just sees a beautiful “mommy”. If I told her I was fat, not toned enough, and had horrible hair, she would learn what all those negative thoughts mean, would believe me, AND would learn to look at herself with a very critical eye. Because I so want her to feel confident with every part of who she is I’ve been very careful to never complain about any part of my body in front of her. After several months of not complaining about my body, I convinced myself that I’m actually pretty happy with the way I look. The new attitude feels great, and it also feels great to exercise with only the thoughts of getting stronger, faster, and fitter on my mind rather than worrying about how can lose a few more pounds.

Reply

Katie @ Peace Love & Oats July 23, 2013 at 3:11 pm

LOVE this comment, Kim. Great lesson for all of us.

Reply

Kim @ Hungry Healthy Girl July 23, 2013 at 2:28 pm

I feel the exact same way!!!! I still stress over it sometimes, but it is definitely less of a priority. There are just so many more important things to worry about!

Reply

naomi July 23, 2013 at 2:28 pm

I really needed this today. Ot has definitely been one of those days where EVERYTHING in the mirror looks bad. Thanks! You alwas bring a smile to my face :-)

Reply

Tatum July 23, 2013 at 2:29 pm

I just wanted you to know that this post made me fall in love with you. (Not in a creepy way, I promise! Haha) Thank you so much for saying these things. I needed to hear them/read them. I appreciate it, I really do.

Also, I am from the East Bay Area… I sounds like you are too? Can we get ice cream together sometime? If not that’s okay… I know this is random and probably seems weird. I love icecream too! I really wish I could get away with eating it everyday… But the silly scale won’t let me!

Reply

Alexis July 23, 2013 at 2:32 pm

Please please please post a million more pics of your parents’ dog:) I’m a “crazy dobie lady” as my husband always says, and am already in love with him! What’s his name? His story? How does he do with Brooke? My dobie adores kids and he’s especially obsessed with my friend’s 2 year old. Though he always tries to sit in his lap haha. He begs us daily for a kid of his own;)

Reply

Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama July 23, 2013 at 2:32 pm

Becoming a mother definitely shifted my priorities and perspective. Life is so much more than the reflection staring back at us in the mirror, and as soon as we realize that, we’ll be much happier! Now I’m more concerned about setting a healthy example for my girls so they never grow up with self esteem or body image issues. I never want them to feel ashamed of their bodies. I can’t expect them to feel that way if I’m not comfortable in my skin. I think as we get older we also realize that aging is a part of life. Our bodies will never look the same as they did at 19, 25, or even 30. And that’s ok. There is beauty to be found at every age and every stage of life!

Reply

Nicole @ Curly Mommy July 23, 2013 at 2:35 pm

I don’t mean to sound condescending, but it is so nice to see you loving yourself! I wish that every woman could see how wonderful their bodies are, no matter their size or shape. Yay for you!!

Reply

lizzie July 23, 2013 at 2:36 pm

Love this! Although i know so much better, i used to base my worth a lot on my appearance as well. After having kids, i still struggled with it off and on. I wrote about this when my third was still breastfeeding.

http://lizzieandryan.blogspot.com/2011/11/humility.html.

Thanks for always being so honest and awesome!!!

Reply

Debbie @ Deb Runs July 23, 2013 at 2:38 pm

I bet your dad LOVED having you go with him to exercise this morning! :-)

I think I text my son more than anyone else. We love using the iPhone emoticons!

Reply

Ashlee@HisnHers July 23, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Makes perfect sense! I’m not sure if it is part of growing and maturing, but I know a lot of mid-late 20s girls who have started to have a better body image as well. SO happy to leave those years of worrying behind :-)

Reply

Victoria @ Reluctantly Skinny July 23, 2013 at 2:49 pm

I definitely still have some body image issues, like most people do, but I didn’t start getting over them until I began working out and eating right for health and strength. When I stopped focusing on losing weight, I felt much better and prouder of my body.

Reply

Laurin July 23, 2013 at 2:56 pm

I was overweight as a child and have never quite come to a good place with body image, but I am actually really struggling with it now (I am 35 weeks pregnant) and am nervous for how I will feel after the baby is born. I remember your post a few months ago about how to love your post-baby body was by walking into Brooke’s room and reminding yourself that your body created her. That post has gotten me through a lot of tough times so I really thank you for that! :)

Reply

Irene July 23, 2013 at 2:57 pm

What a great post. If I’m being totally, honest, getting married changed my self image more than anything ever has. I mostly wanted to look good so that boys would like me. Now that I am married, obviously I want my husband to still find me attractive, but I feel like I’ve realized that looks are such a tiny part of what matter in a relationship and my thoughts about my looks have changed accordingly. I still think about my body and looks, but more in proportion with the other aspects of my life. I guess I was lucky though, since I don’t think I ever had too terribly negative image of myself I haven’t had to change too dramatically. Maybe my mom never letting me play with Barbies (she thought they would warp my expectations for my body) payed off?

PS: that picture of Brooke is ridiculously cute. I can’t even stand it.

Reply

chelsey @ clean eating chelsey July 23, 2013 at 3:05 pm

I feel the exact same way. Wanting a baby and getting pregnant made me realize how ridiculous I was for so many years worrying about what my body looked like. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to still look good when I pop these babies out, but it’s not my biggest priority. My priority is to be a good role model for my girls and to show them what being healthy is all about! I’m not going to lie, one of my biggest fears as a soon to be mama of two girls is that I will either say something to them or show my insecurities with myself with them (accidentally of course).

Reply

Karen @ Runner Girl Eats July 23, 2013 at 3:11 pm

I used to pick apart so many parts of my body criticizing things no one else even noticed. Running has definitely helped me realize that what my body is capable of I’d so much more important than what it looks like. I still have dimples on the back of my thighs and tons of other things that aren’t perfect but I honestly don’t care. Those dimples are strong and carry me through life :)

Reply

Andrea @ The Fit Scoop July 23, 2013 at 3:28 pm

I think we women are our own worst critics. I doubt any of us look at others with the same critical eye that we turn on ourselves. If I find myself ever getting too self-critical, I try to look at myself through the loving eyes of my husband, family, and friends instead.
I also know that I want to raise a confident daughter (I’m 24 weeks pregnant) who feels good about herself inside and out. To do that I need to be that way myself so I can be a role model for her to follow :-)

Reply

Doni July 23, 2013 at 3:29 pm

I can actually feel great about how I look and feel, then see a number on the scale and all of a sudden I’m like, whoa, porker. (and I’m in the normal BMI range). It’s the stupidest thing that I would let that number tell me how I should think about myself.

On the flip side, I know that if I didn’t occasionally get on the scale, I’d probably not realize pounds creeping on, and I don’t want to get to the point where things get overwhelming.

With three daughters, I do my best not to verbalize any of this. It’s all about being healthy. And I have to remind myself of that too.

Reply

Running Rosa July 23, 2013 at 3:29 pm

I can totally relate. I’ve always had a hate-hate relationship with my body. Ever since I was little, I was the fat kid and took a lot of bullying from other kids. I remember the day in 7th grade when I had the though “no one made a fat joke about me today” because it was the first day that hadn’t happened since I was in first grade.

Today, I am a different person. I love what my body can do and I too love that it gave me my beautiful son. The only reason I’m looking to lose any weight is because it will make me a faster runner and will reduce the impact on my knees and feet, not because I feel fat. My perspective on food has changed. It is no longer the thing I turn too when I’m in an emotional tailspin. Running has become that thing I turn too. Or my husband. Or just looking at the positive side things. I wasted too much energy stressing about my body and now I want to spend that time focused on my family and bettering me.

Reply

Emily @ Running for Boston July 23, 2013 at 3:30 pm

I still do have minor issues with my body….but doesn’t everyone? I am training for Boston so I’m at the gym a couple times a week and I run 40+ miles every week. My body’s in tip top shape. At the end of the day, I’m far too exhausted to really worry about my body and it’s minor imperfections. Whatever’s not perfect at this point will never be perfect and that’s ok. Nothing’s perfect in this world. And at least I look better than the majority of the people on the street (said with half sarcasm/half pride….hey, I’ve worked my tail off for it)!

Reply

Lisa July 23, 2013 at 3:33 pm

I so needed this today! This body image complex has literally taken over my life and it is such a struggle. My mind is in a constant battle with my body as I try to take in enough to support my training without freaking out about the extra calories and weight fluctuation. I try to keep it in perspective that in the grand scheme of things how I look just isn’t that important but it’s a struggle. Good for you for overcoming this, it’s not easy! Love your blog, thank you for posting things like this!

Reply

Danielle H July 23, 2013 at 3:34 pm

Thanks for posting about body images. I think every girl has this problem. Lately I have been thanking my body for allowing me to run like I want to and be active like I want to. I have been worrying about health over vanity…It’s definitely not easy and a struggle because there is always a number I want on the scale. Seriously, I had a physical and was shocked to see the number because I’m in smaller clothes and work out more than I use too. I am strong these days. Really scale thanks for reminding me not to look at you ever again.

I text my friend and parentals every day :)

Reply

Kristin July 23, 2013 at 3:37 pm

I needed this post so much, Janae. I was actually thinking just the other day about how much I hoped and prayed you would post about something related to body image. I am so, so tired of struggling with it. I am so tired of caring and worrying about everything I eat and if I’ve run or exercised enough. I am so tired of putting on my clothes in the morning and judging how tight they feel. I am so tired of weighing myself. I will cherish the day when I just eat when and what my body feels like and stop when I was full, and when I run because I love it and not because I’m afraid of what will happen if I don’t. It always encourages me that you have reached a positive place where it doesn’t haunt you. If you have any more tips, or anything else to say on this topic, I (and I think a lot of others) would love to read. Thank you, Janae, for being a role model.

Reply

Mallory July 23, 2013 at 3:49 pm

I echo Kristin’s thoughts about you posting MORE about this issue!!

Reply

Mallory July 23, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Janae, this post couldn’t have come at a better time. I have really been struggling lately and I’m not sure how to deal with it. I feel like it is affecting my whole life. I have such a messed up relationship with food and I think a lot of my issues stem from where I’m at in my life: in between jobs, not going back to school quite yet, about to move back in with my parents, the whole ‘quarter life crisis’ thing i guess. I need to find some ways to serve others – maybe volunteering or something – while I have this extra time. I’m so glad you have found peace with your body image and it is extremely apparent in your posts now compared to your posts 3 years ago.

Reply

Karen July 23, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Thank you for this post and for the posts like this one. During the end of my graduate school, I really suffered with self image, as I felt control over one part of my life could equal a balance in the others. I have gotten past that and am truly thankful I have, but I still have those days when I suffer (much as I am sure we all do) . There are also certain things I will likely always dislike on my body, namely my “abs” , this morning I ran past an older woman in her sports bra and sports, totally comfortable with the body she has, stretch marks and all; and I thought “I wish I had her confidence so just be running in mine” SO to all us ladies, embrace ourselves one step at a time :)

Reply

Heather @ Run Like a G! July 23, 2013 at 3:51 pm

Loving your body is super important! Glad to hear you love your body now and the beautiful child it produced!

Reply

Stacy July 23, 2013 at 4:06 pm

At age 48, I still have issues with my body image. I’m at the very high end of a healthy weight for my height, but have been thinner many times over the years. I cycle up and down about 25 pounds or so. I was never athletic or exercised consistently until I began running three years ago. This spring I added some core and strength training and even through my body is stronger than it has ever been, I still want to lose weight.

The person I text the most (and get the most texts from) is my newly-married daughter! :)

Reply

Alyssa @ See This Girl Run July 23, 2013 at 4:11 pm

While I can’t related since I am not a mother, I love love love your change in perspective. I’m definitely still in the process of learning to love my body and I hope I can keep improving and eventually be happy with it (in a healthy way). Love this.

Reply

YogaBritta July 23, 2013 at 4:14 pm

I struggle with body image on a daily basis. In previous years I struggled on a minute by minute basis, then hourly. So I guess I have been improving over the years. I still have way more “fat days” than I care to, but I’m getting there. My mind is enjoying being able to let it go more often. It’s such a hard topic. I wish I had a healthier view of how I look.

Reply

Lindsey @ Run Freckles Run July 23, 2013 at 4:16 pm

What about you? Has your body image become healthier over the years? How so? What is your advice to feel better about your body?
-My body image has definitely improved, but is no where near perfect. I have my “fat” days even though I am considered a skinny girl. I used to have an eating disorder where I sunk down into the double digits (not okay at 5’7″) and honestly hated my body more than being 30 pounds heavier now. I feel more energetic! I would have never been able to have become a runner if I remained in the 90 lb range. It would have killed me.

Has body image ever been a big deal for you? When?
-It was huge when I was 18-21 years old (I’m 25 now). Once I lost a boyfriend in a car accident, it really changed my thinking and how I viewed my life. Once I got through the grieving process, I was able to get back on track and maintain a better image of myself and get healthier rather than skinnier. That’s when I started running from time to time :)

Who do you text most often?
-My sister or my mom.

Reply

Kristen @ Medium Roast July 23, 2013 at 4:17 pm

During the winter and spring when I was training my hardest for my upcoming races, I looked at my body in the mirror and felt like I had to train harder since it would help me in the race, and I would look better in my swim suit. Well, I did fine in my race, but still didn’t think my body was up to swim suit snuff.

I solved this problem by buying a different, more flattering swim suit, and just like you said, changing my priorities. Now, only months later, I love my body and I’m actually running less. I’m not super pleased about the running less part, but at least now it doesn’t feel like something I have to do to feel better about my body. I do it because I want to, not because I feel like I have to.

Reply

Jen July 23, 2013 at 4:24 pm

First of all, you look amazing. When you first started your blog, I couldn’t say the same. You GLOW now. I started reading your blog a few weeks ago, and when I find a new blog I like I read it from the beginning because I’m weird like that, but also because I have/had struggles with over-exercising, eating and body image. I have to say, it makes my heart hurt to read your posts from 2010/early 2011. I have walked in your shoes, sister, and I’m thankful you have this blog because I am interested to see how you pulled yourself out of it (I’m on late Jan 2011, now). Keep doing what you’re doing because you’re inspiring me, and I’m sure many others. It sounds like you were blessed with one of the greatest families ever (like me!), and that makes a big difference in this battle. THANK YOU for being so honest. I know it can’t be easy at times, but it has to make a difference for you and the people following you with similar struggles. I also love how you don’t take yourself too seriously. Being able to laugh at yourself and your flaws is one of the best characteristics in my book :) Why fight who you are? Love who you are, flaws and all. Life’s too short not to.

Reply

Amy @ Long Drive Journey July 23, 2013 at 5:12 pm

I’m the same way as Jen. Yours was the first running/healthy living blog that I found, and there was something about your voice that I just really connected with from the beginning. I’ve read from the beginning too, and I agree – watching your transformation into a really wonderful mom has been really special.

Reply

Lyssa July 23, 2013 at 5:02 pm

5th grade is when all the body image issues began. I am 40yrs old & started running when I was 39. I was the heaviest id ever been, I told my husband I need to do something otherwise im going to fall into a deep depression when I turn 40. I said if I can feel better at 40 than I did in my 30s, then 40 is just a number.I used to run for weight loss but now I run for the endorphins. Running makes me a happy mom& wife. If it werent for running I know id be on somekind of rx antidepressants & I might of been diabetic & had high cholesterol. But as u said its time to live! I dont weigh myself anymore unless im at the Dr’s office. Whats the point I say. I eat healthy & I run bec I love it. My goal is not to have the perfect body,but instead to be energetic and active with my children. I want to live to see my grandkids and still have the energy get out and play with my future grandchildren.

Reply

Rebecca@Running.Food.Baby. July 23, 2013 at 5:12 pm

My body image has improved, but rather than worry about my “looks”, I am more concerned about my athleticism (after pregnancy I was more concerned that I couldn’t run well anymore, not my tummy area). I really didn’t have many body image issues except I don’t think I have the most photogenic face in the world – but whatever.

I text the hubby the most, followed by my parental units and then my co-track coach

Reply

Amy @ Long Drive Journey July 23, 2013 at 5:15 pm

I’ve struggled in the past with body image, but in a different way. I’ve always been really, really small (or SKINNY or ANOREXIC as I have been called). I’ve never struggled with disordered eating, and I’ve always just been my natural size, but that size has always been small. People can be cruel with how they talk about my clothing fitting, or how they ask me if I am eating, how how they tell me that I need to get meat on my bones because guys don’t like skinny girls. I have gone home from the mall feeling really defeated because I, too, couldn’t find a pair of jeans to wear that really fit me. Thankfully, I’ve filled out as I’ve gotten older, but I definitely can relate to the body image struggle, even if it’s from a different perspective.

Reply

Beth @ Racing Robsons July 23, 2013 at 5:19 pm

For me, I love that running changes my focus on my body from wanting it to be “thin” to wanting it to be “strong and healthy”. :)

Reply

Megan July 23, 2013 at 5:31 pm

Great post. I am still in that looking in the mirror and bashing myself BUT I have noticed that when I am in the gym though that I like what I see. I like seeing myself be strong and I am trying to pull that into my every day. I am hoping happiness will set in permanently one of these days.

Reply

april July 23, 2013 at 5:36 pm

everything you just wrote was so true and i really needed this. i’d love to give you a big hug right now! thank you, janae :)

Reply

Sam @ Better With Sprinkles July 23, 2013 at 5:40 pm

Love that motherhood brought you this confidence! I think everyone struggles with body image once in a while – it’s hard to feel 100% confident all the time. I think mine ebbs and flows with what’s going on with my life – if I’m happy and doing well, my body image tends to reflect that. If I’m stressed or sad, suddenly I’m convinced that I look like I gained 10 lbs overnight. It’s annoying, but I’m working on making it a constant positive.

And I would love to see you write more on the topic!

Reply

Leigh @ beach and back runner July 23, 2013 at 5:46 pm

I absolutely love this post, and so many people need to be reminded of this, including myself! There is always more to life than worrying about weight, even though it is so easy to fall into that trap. I also like to focus on the positives in my life, and realize that those things – family, friends, hobbies – are what really matters more than the number on the scale. Thank you!

Reply

Marie July 23, 2013 at 5:49 pm

I too, definitely needed to read this today. Body image is such a battle. Somedays I love how I look/feel and other days I am discouraged/feel badly. I’m still trying to be okay with my body image and I really do blame the media for a lot of it. Even some if my favorite running magazines still refuse to show runners who don’t have a super low body fat percentage.

I’m still too attached the scale and seeing a specific number but hopefully that’ll eventually not be the case. I still feel so guilt if I don’t exercise or eat right and it sucks. I know alot of it’s in my head because I’m in good shape from running but it’s still there, that critic and just won’t stop.

It’s really nice to have people being honest with their comments and that you talk about body image honestly.

I text my boyfriend and best friend the most during the day. Your text convo with your sister is something I’d tell my sister to do. When we all lived in the same house we’d text each other to shut the lights off, lock a door etc because we were too lazy to actually do it, haha.

Thanks for this post, it hit home today!

Reply

Lauren July 23, 2013 at 5:56 pm

Thanks. I’ve been struggling lately because I’ve gained a few pounds of marathon weight. My stomach isn’t as flat as it used to be and I think my thighs are huge but every once in a while I need to slap myself (figuratively) and say HEY. Those thighs are huge because they are muscular and running and going to get you through 26.2 miles.

Reply

Jen@HealthyFoodandFamily July 23, 2013 at 5:58 pm

For so long I have been focused on weight and trying to hit a certain number on the scale, thinking I wouldn’t be worth anything until I achieved that number. My life was all about weight loss; when I was going to eat, what I was going to eat, depriving myself of everything good in life. Then I realized I was so much more than that. I now focus on fitness and trying to make myself fitter and stronger. Trying to push myself harder while working out, but not worrying about a calorie burn…it’s freeing and my life is SO much happier now.

Reply

Brandi July 23, 2013 at 6:00 pm

Grwat post today!
But wait, your parents have a dog? Is he new? I always thought only your in laws had a pup. Hopefully Brooke loves him!

Reply

Danica @ It's Progression July 23, 2013 at 6:09 pm

beautiful, honest post, Janae…thank you so much for the reminder that it’s so not about how we look on the outside!

Reply

Deena July 23, 2013 at 6:15 pm

Great post! My daughter is 8 months old and before having her I also struggled with body image issues. Its amazing how changing focus can really show how insignificant the numbers really are. Thank you for posting this and thanks for having this blog; I love reading it and find it very inspiring.

Reply

Kristi July 23, 2013 at 6:17 pm

Great post. I still have weight that I want to lose, but I’m happy with who I am. I feel healthier than I have ever felt, and I know that it’s only going to get better. I have let go of the numbers that used to consume me. I don’t count calories. I don’t weigh myself. I just make sure that whatever I am doing is bettering myself.

Reply

Ashley@eatrunlivehappy July 23, 2013 at 6:19 pm

I had an eating disorder for 10 years sadly even after I had kids. it wasn’t u til my divorce at age 24 last year that I really looked at my priorities. running has helped me so so much with my self and the way I deal with emotions. I am not a creeper but want to learn everything I possibly can about running so I have been reading your blog starting with day 1. (I’m only to March 2011!) and its amazing to see the changes you’ve went through. you are seriously my hero!!!!

Reply

LosingLindy July 23, 2013 at 6:30 pm

this is a hard subject for me.. I honestly don’t hate my body, because I don’t look at it. Denial much?

Reply

Heather @fitncookies July 23, 2013 at 6:36 pm

I definitely relate to those who think a lot about body image. I have definitely thought of it over the years, but never making it ruin my day or anything. I feel the best I have ever felt, am more toned now, and just enjoy working out everyday. If i want a treat, I treat myself without feeling guilt about it or looking at where it went on my body later!

P.S. I text my mom the most :)

Reply

Annette@FitnessPerks July 23, 2013 at 7:14 pm

Fantastic post!!! So true. I love making a baby girl & am proud that my body can do that. <3 It wasn't in a good enough place to do that a few years ago, so I am glad I came to my senses & realized what IS most important in life.

Reply

Heather @farmgirlgonechicagoan July 23, 2013 at 7:27 pm

Isn’t Brooker just the biggest charmer?! I love going back home to visit my family! Hope you are enjoying your time. I can’t agree more with you on the body image thoughts, I feel the same and I haven’t had a baby. I think it comes with knowing who you are and being happy with yourself as a person.

Reply

lindsay July 23, 2013 at 7:27 pm

<3 <3 <3 this. Brooke is a blessing

Reply

Gracie (Complicated Day) July 23, 2013 at 7:52 pm

Good thoughts. I think that essentially it boils down to thinking of others as well as yourself! For you, Brooke became your priority. For others, it may be being a great wife, doing the best job at work possible, school, art, or church. In some way, our society teaches TOO MUCH self-love, self-worth, self-esteem. It’s just too much “self”. It leads some to focus only on themselves, looking with a critical eye at their weight or hair or shape.
I can tell you that the happiest times in my life were always busy times filled with helping and loving other people – and not once did I have the time or inclination to sit around and mope that my thighs are chubby!

Reply

Amy @ crazysweatymommy July 23, 2013 at 8:04 pm

I have to agree that having kids changes your focus. I’ve always had body image issues, but I have found that it is less of my focus once having children. Not to say that I still don’t find flaws often, but I feel more aware of my actions and thoughts so my children learn to love their bodies and what they are capable of doing.

Reply

Cari July 23, 2013 at 8:25 pm

Just when I kept looking at your pictures and thinking, “wow, janae looks so healthy and beautiful and happy!” And not just because of your cutest accessory! Confidence really does a number on our bodies. Just proves that when you feel better you look better!

Can’t wait to see your beautiful nieces and nephew too!

Reply

Kristin July 23, 2013 at 10:03 pm

Such a great post! I think that how I view my body now compared to last year has changed so much! I am more confident in my self and the way I look which makes me feel better about my body. I used to really hate my stomach and now that I have lost some weight and have been working out I don’t hate it so much anymore. I have learned to love my stretch marks and sagging skin!

Reply

Brooke July 23, 2013 at 11:54 pm

Body image is so hard to deal with in Athletics. Thanks, great post.

Reply

Holly KN July 24, 2013 at 1:52 am

Most Texted Award goes to: Husband.

I’ve generally been pretty OK with my body image, although when I finally filled out from scrawny teenager to adult female, that took some getting used to. Now, I see my body as a machine for my life, and keeping it strong, healthy, and fueled is what lets me do everything a I want to. Mistreating it (over-exercising, under-feeding, porrly-fueling) won’t help me live my life any more fully – in fact, my body will then become a liability. This is what I remind myself, when I have a ‘bad body image day’.

Reply

Coco July 24, 2013 at 2:30 am

Amazing post :)

Reply

Andrea R. @ Morning Runner Girl July 24, 2013 at 2:48 am

This was so wonderful to read!!! As I am getting help with my disordered eating and have given up the scale and mirrors… The only thing left I “judge” myself by is my own love and respect and comfort of my body. Not know what the scale says or seeing if my stomach “pooches” out further after a big meal I ate has been so freeing!! But now I just have to work on my mind and tell myself that it doesn’t really matter!!! I am the hardest on myself than anyone is on me!! Why do I feel the need to look “perfect” ((or what I think is perfect… which isn’t really!))
Anyways… THANK YOU SO SO MUCH for this post! I am bookmarking it to reread later!! :)

Reply

Rachel July 24, 2013 at 5:36 am

This post makes me so excited for motherhood. In fact, your whole blog does. Brooke is such an adorable little girl. She seems so sweet and I only hope that I can have children like her someday :)

I’m still young, so I’ve still been struggling with body image. I hate it, it really stinks. It can either make or break my day depending on how I’m feeling. I just recently put on some very necessary weight after a marathon. I know that I needed it but I just feel icky gaining weight whether it was needed or not. I stopped weighing myself recently but thought it would be a good idea the other day….it wasn’t. I found the exact number of lbs that I put on and got pretty down. Again, I know it was necessary weight and that it’s making me healthier in general. No worries though, I don’t change my eating habits or anything over this. I’m not trying to lose weight because I know that I don’t have to and I know that it will hurt my family. Overall, I know that I look healthy now and that I am taking better care of my body in hopes of having a lovely family like yours some day! :)

Thank you so much for your blog. I’m sure it’s not easy always managing time to write posts but you are so consistent and I look forward to reading about your adventures everyday! You’re very inspirational. For anyone else with a blog that comments on this one, I read yours too! You’re all awesome :)

Reply

Kate Wicker July 24, 2013 at 5:40 am

“I think for me a lot of it has to do with service.” That one statement will help so many women overcome body image angst whether they are mothers or not. As someone who once ran through a stress fracture for several months, lived a life whittled down to what I could and could not eat, and eventually succumbed to a full-blown clinical eating disorder, I really try to encourage women (including myself because I admittedly still have to occasionally deal with the relics of my disordered eating days and distorted body image) to see their bodies more as instruments than objects. Instruments have a purpose. An instrument can serve others. Instruments can be fine-tuned, but this fine-tuning is not about looking better but making the most of what we’ve been blessed with. We can’t just externalize ourselves and see ourselves (or others) as objects that need to be tweaked or fixed. We have so much more to offer the world than skin. I am a mom to four kids, including three girls, and I really, really want to be a good role model for them. I want them to see that I work hard to take care of my body because it helps me to live a fuller life and to have the energy to keep up with a biggish family, not because it makes me look like a supermodel!

Recently, I decided to shun the scale. When I was recovering from my eating disorder, I wasn’t allowed to weigh myself but later as I grew healthier, it was okay. I’d step on the scale as a tool and it provided me information. Nothing more, nothing less. However, I have noticed more recently that it was morphing into a barometer of my self-worth. I was a big runner in my pre-mom days but having four kids two years apart slowed down my routine and then an injury sidelined me for a few years, but I’ve been running again for over a year and will have completed three half marathons before the year is over and have plans to start running fulls again. The weird thing is I’m obviously exercising more than I had for a few years (although I kept being active as a gestating and nursing mama) I have not only not lost 7 pounds from my fourth pregnancy, I’ve actually gained 3 pounds. So I’m 10 pounds heavier despite running 30ish miles a week and strength training several times a week as well. It was driving me crazy and making me cry to step on the scale (which I fortunately do super early in the morning, so my sweet girls did not witness this self-flagellation). Intellectually, I knew this number did not make me a weak person, but I so badly wanted it to be lower even though a recent physical showed that I am as healthy as ever with excellent numbers as far cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure, etc. go. What’s worse is I actually speak to other women about reclaiming the beauty of creation and having a positive body image, and I’ve obviously felt super under-qualified to be doing just that! But I’m glad I’m able to recognize the inner demons before the take a hold of my life.

We are so much more than a number on the scale. I’m going to continue to run and focus on health and not label foods as good or bad or see the contents of my pantry as a sign of my morality, but I refuse to let the scale or the funny carnival mirror in my head twist and distort the way I see myself. As I continue to make my way down the road to full recovery where I am kind to myself, I’m grateful there are other women who have had shared some of my struggles but have overcome them.

I am also grateful for my body and all that it does for me and does for others. I’m Catholic, so hearing Jesus’ words “This is my body and it has been given up for you” has taken on a whole new powerful meaning since becoming a mother. My body is a sign of sacrificial love for my children – whether it’s during pregnancy or when my arms are aching after carrying a tired toddler. This is a beautiful thing. It also should make me see my body in a whole new light – again as an instrument to do God’s will, serve others, and take me where I need to go rather than an object that is thrown on the dissection table to be picked apart!

Sorry for the epic comment, but thanks for your encouraging post!

Reply

Lauren @ Confessions of a First Time Mom July 24, 2013 at 5:49 am

Oh yeah, I 100% agree that having a baby changes your priorities and heals you from a lot of your demons. You don’t have that time to fixate on your insecurities because you’re so busy trying to create life and ensure they have the best life possible once you have them. It totally shifts your thinking. I really relaxed with my eating when I got pregnant, and nothing has really changed even now that my daughter is turning one on Friday (holy crap, where did that year go?). I believe in everything in moderation, and I’m instilling that exact same attitude into her. For dinner, we’ll eat a healthy lean protein, a green, and a carb (chicken, green beans and quinoa), and then for dessert we’ll have a donut, or fro yo, or a cookie. I want to teach her about balance and not depriving yourself.

Reply

Katie @ running4cupcakes July 24, 2013 at 7:10 am

I can totally relate to this post. Since having a baby I have a much better body image than before. As well as a better relationship with food and exercise since I am more focused on my little guy than just me!

Reply

Kay July 24, 2013 at 8:19 am

Still in the process but I’m working on the same thing:)
Marathon training is really helping I think because really I’d rather be fit and be able to run 26 miles than have a completely flat stomach. like that seems so dumb when you compare..
:) I run because I love to and if I ever feel like the reason I want to workout is to burn calories I don’t go

Reply

Liana@RunToMunch July 24, 2013 at 8:43 am

Getting into running has been the best for my body issues. I still look the same, but I feel a lot more pride for my lanky awkward body.

Reply

Nicole @Pink Elephant on Parade July 24, 2013 at 8:53 am

My relationship with my body is messy and complicated. The one good thing that I’ve realized recently, though, is that regardless of weight loss I’d keep running. And I didn’t have an emotional breakdown when I was put in the rowing shell’s version of a fat section.
So this has to be some kind of movement in the right direction, right?

Reply

Heidi July 24, 2013 at 8:57 am

This is a fantastic post – thank your for pointing this out. I never had too much of a body issue through my teens or early 20s, until I started putting on weight. Then the struggle began. When I was 30, I had my first baby. It changed my whole perception of my body, what it was capable of, etc. I was suddenly amazed by my body! Even now, 1.5 years later, I’m still not in great shape and have weight I need to lose, but I love my body and am amazed at it’s strength and ability, and so, so, SO grateful it gave me my beautiful daughter.

Reply

Shawna July 24, 2013 at 9:06 am

Such a heartfelt, encouraging post. I’ve never had a baby, but I’ve struggled with body image since my teens as well, and only within the past year have I really focused on changing my mentality and thanking God for my strength and thinking of my running in an entirely different light. Great to hear other girls’ stories along this line as well.

Reply

Casey July 24, 2013 at 10:46 am

Such an awesome post!!
stayingonpace.weebly.com

Reply

Casey July 24, 2013 at 10:47 am

Such an awesome post!!

Reply

Blaire @ Just Been Running July 24, 2013 at 11:33 am

I can relate to this post because I have been going through similar things for the past 2 years. I was always skinny growing up and in high school because I am really active and played lots of sports and I’m tall (5’10″), but in college I kind of “let myself go” and that was really hard for me. Once I started it never really changed and I felt like I was stuck in this body that wasn’t really me.

Fast forward to 2 years out of college (August 2011), and I told myself that enough was enough and that I was going to change. Well I did…I started working out hard, nothing too crazy but cardio 30 min and weights 30 min a day and I saw significant changes. Then came come running in January 2012 and it totally changed my body. I got thin, lean, and muscular which I loved and felt great. I was eating well and happy, of course I had some friends and family question how I got so skinny so fast and that is always hard to deal with, but I got past it and I have tried to stay super healthy ever since then. I used to be concerned about what was on the scale, but now I have muscles and I know from my many years of school and being an Exercise Science major that muscle weighs more than fat, so I am happy about it :)

My body image has completely changed. I will have some (hormonal) days where I can find everything wrong with me, and some days where I love what I see (in a totally non conceited way), but I think that comes with the territory of being a girl! Great post, thank you :)

Reply

MartinaNYC July 24, 2013 at 12:05 pm

Thank you for keeping it real girl!

I struggled a lot with my body image while growing up. I now have a boyfriend who adores me and that has surely helped me a lot. Plus, I have my running <3 Running helps me to eat better and to take good care of my body-after all, it is thanks to it if I can run faster and stronger day after day! However, I am still very self conscious about other people's comments. For instance, my mom called me the other day saying that my dad saw some pictures from my last 10K and wondered why my thighs were still that big if I run so much! I know he didn't say it in a mean way but that hurt. Oh well, I guess I just have to learn not listen about what other people have to say about MY body ;)

Reply

Katie July 24, 2013 at 1:04 pm

Love your attitude towards body image. I used to care a lot more in college, but I think it’s because I had weighed the most I ever had before then. Staying focused on various things in my life really helps downplay any self-consciousness I may have. I’ve also found that surrounding myself with positive, down-to-earth people makes a HUGE difference. Happy people make me happy.

Reply

Liz @ I Heart Vegetables July 24, 2013 at 1:53 pm

I think finally realizing that I’ll never be 100% happy with my body (and that’s OK!) is the best way I’ve been able to accept where I am. I’ve also found that people just love being around people that are HAPPY and stressing about stupid imperfections isn’t going to make anyone happier!

Reply

Katie July 24, 2013 at 6:29 pm

I absolutely love this post SO much. Thanks for sharing :) I have struggled a lot with unhealthy body image for years, too, and I just love what you said. I love that Brooke has changed your focus to serving others and not being so selfish (which is really what it kind of boils down to when you think about it!) I think it’s so cool that you are so much healthier and happier now!!!

xo

Reply

Lindsey July 24, 2013 at 10:43 pm

Body image is a huge struggle for me. I LONG for the day that I am satisfied with the way I look. I have lost 75 pounds and always worry about becoming the 200 pound me again. When I first began losing weight I wanted to buy clothes in the normal area, not the plus size area. I succeeded and then that was no longer good enough. Then I wanted to be a single-digit size. The celebratory dance I did when I bought my first size 8 pants was a true sight. Soon that wasn’t good enough either. I wanted to be a 6. I battled an eating disorder and became a 6. Then I wanted the scales to hit a certain number. I hit that certain number this summer and now that is now longer good enough. Now I want to see if I can get the number on the scale 5 lbs. lower than it is right now. It’s a HUGE problem. I know I am the healthiest I have ever been in my life. I eat (sometimes way too much), I run 40+ miles a week, take a minimum of 3 strength classes each week, and complete an additional 3 – 4 cardio classes during the week. My muscle tone is better than it’s ever been, I can see abs for the first time ever, and my cardio level is beyond what I could hope for! Why can’t those signs of health be good enough for me?
Reading your blog has helped, but it is a lot easier to read words and talk about what you “learned” from someone else than it is to actually put those words into action. I’m working on being okay with not working out every. single. day. I’m working toward being okay with not burning 1,000+ calories a day. I’m working on being happy with who I am and what I look like and not the number on the scale. I truly think I do not see the same person that everyone else sees when I look in the mirror. I want to see myself through another person’s eyes.

Reply

STUFT Mama July 24, 2013 at 10:57 pm

I love you times a bazillion. Being a mom definitely puts things into perspective. I’m the same way, it’s not what I see in the mirror, it’s a healthy body that has energy to take care of my boys! :) Awww……….. this post just made my night complete.

Reply

kathy t July 25, 2013 at 4:39 am

Question re: 20 mn. warm up- what does that include?

Reply

The Hungry Runner Girl July 25, 2013 at 6:48 am

Hey! My warm up was 20 minutes at a 7:45 pace!

Reply

Rachelle Wardle July 25, 2013 at 10:28 am

Great post Janae! Thanks for being real. I could not agree more with every single thing you said.

We need to get together while you are here!

Reply

Lindsay July 25, 2013 at 5:32 pm

I’ve always had huge body image issues, and have ended up losing 80+ lbs over the past 8 years (most of it in a healthy way), but it’s only now, after I gained 10 lbs from my previous lowest weight, that I finally feel comfortable in my own skin. Surprisingly, the comfort somehow came after I had my heart completely broken, and I realized that I had to pick up and care about myself more than anyone else (for now). It’s been a huge relief to not have to feel “guilty” because I want to shove my face with cupcakes every now and then. And if I find myself feeling gross, I just go for a run and all is better :)

Reply

Adrianna July 29, 2013 at 8:22 pm

great, great post…love!!

Reply

Heather July 30, 2013 at 7:37 pm

Exactly what I needed to hear! We are so harsh on ourselves when we actually are so much more amazing than we give ourselves credit.. You are such an inspiration! I adore you. Thanks for this!

Ps that baby is perfect.and I miss you.

Reply

Tracey August 4, 2013 at 4:18 pm

Thank you so much for this post! I’ve been a fan of your blog for the last few years and have loved watching you evolve into such an amazing mother! Brooke is one lucky little girl. I needed this post because I’ve just started treatment for a 31-year battle with anorexia (and I’m only 38 so it started very early.) I’m trying to learn how to accept a healthier body and your wise words have helped me more than you know. I’ve actually re-read this post when I’ve been struggling this past week and you’ve really helped me through. Please write more posts like this because you have no idea how much you’re helping all of your readers, especially me! Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Reply

Lora @ Crazy Running Girl August 6, 2013 at 7:06 am

This is such a great post and something I need to remember. I struggle HARD with my body… I look in the mirror and there is not one thing that I like. I know I shouldn’t be this way and try to be positive, but I don’t know, I can’t find that happy place about myself. In the past few months too, I’ve been having a really hard time with eating as much as I need to in order to fuel my body for running. Even though I know I need it, I really wish I didn’t have to eat so much.

Reply

Kaitlyn February 22, 2014 at 11:32 am

This is GREAT post. I’m so glad I found this on your blog although it’s months later. I’m 21 and hoping to combat struggling with body image, and it’s a relief to hear that it may get better as years go on. Although my weight is good and I feel fit, I still pick and pick at what’s wrong, and it hurts. I hate that it is that way and look forward to finding a way that works for me. Glad to hear that your pregnancy lead you to realizing how amazing your body is! :) xo

Reply

Linda @ Fit Fed and Happy March 11, 2014 at 12:36 pm

I think that’s a great mindset to have–to train better and faster thus loving yourself. I really feel like exercise brings one joy and endorphins! :)

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: