My body image is something that I struggled with starting in the 7th grade.  College was extra hard and so were the years leading up to having Brooke.  When I got pregnant I started to realize how incredible my body was for being able to have Brooke and that helped out my body image a lot, I was a lot kinder to myself.  

Motherhood means that my day is revolved around Brooke which also means that I have less time to worry/think about myself.  My priorities have definitely changed over the years and I am happy with the progress that I have made BUT there are still those days where I am hard on myself and I struggle (mostly during those hormonal times or when I am struggling with my divorce issues).

I went to a zumba class with my sister the other day and as I was looking in the mirror I started picking at things about myself (physically and other things about myself that were bugging me…).  It lasted for about 3 minutes and then I just told myself to stop it.  Luckily, over time I have started to realize that negative thoughts do NO GOOD… so why do it?  Me sitting there thinking about what I don’t like about myself doesn’t help me or anyone else in my life so what is the point?!  It really is such a waste of time if you think about it… we could be using our energy and brain power for so many better things.  It is so damaging and it holds us back from a lot of great opportunities too!  

I think that most of the time the first thoughts that pop into our heads are out of our control and they just kind of happen BUT… what we think about after those first thoughts are 100% our control.  You can have a negative thought pop into your head and choose whether to think about something else or continue to dwell on those thoughts and make them worse and worse.  

So, long story short…  Let’s all work on our thoughts about ourselves together mmkay!?!  Starting now.  

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And from our Monday night.  

I don’t get to see Brooke today because I will be up in SLC for the entire day doing some work things so we went to our favorite places for our date last night.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

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I knew I was going to froyo later on with friends so I made sure to take Brooke to get her own cup too.  Turns out she just wanted a cup of sprinkles.  

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At bedtime she left with my mom for their special sleepover party.

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And I went to go play some intense toilet paper dodgeball.  Not a bad idea.  

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On Sunday somebody said the word Yogurtland and Megan and I couldn’t get it out of our heads until we went.  

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And last but not least, I was forced to run through the sprinklers because it was the only way to get home… I am really sure you wanted to hear about that part of my evening.

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Ever had body image issues?  How do you overcome them?

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120 comments

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dude, you’re a total fox. if you ever need someone to remind you of that, text me. love you!! <3 <3

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Love this! :)

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It’s no secret that I’ve had major body issues. I’m pregnant with my third now and every once in a while I can’t help but cry because of my changing body but after a good cry I feel empowered again about how awesome my body is to grow a baby. I have a daughter too and the biggest gift we can give them is to be nice to ourselves.

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I’m the same way. I’ve been struggling with body image issues for about 7-8 years. It’s hard watching my vary change, but it is awesome at the same time!

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Thanks for sharing this post Jana

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Derp, I’m having a hard time commenting from my phone and it keeps sending before I can actually finish. Anyways-

I think everyone has had some sort of body issue at least once. Whether it’s one time thinking that you don’t look good or staring at your mirror. Our society often ranks success on looks which is absolutely upsetting. As someone who worked in the public health field with college students it always saddens me so much. That’s a huge reason I was so proactive in aiding money for eating disorder awareness last February. It’s such a big issue that is often overlooked.

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Goodness yes! All.the.time. It’s crazy sometimes though that the days I feel best about myself aren’t necessarily the days when I’m most dolled up, they’re more often days I’ve done something I’m proud of, like a great workout or accomplishing something tough, or even a day spent with my favorite people. Which tells A LOT about how powerful that mindset can be!

Brooke is on point with the sprinkles. They are the BEST part.

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I agree, pregnancy has changed my perception of my body in a good way. But it can be tough to see yourself change. I remind myself that I am healthy and happy and will make positive choices with food and fitness. Other than that, it’s really out of my control. And that’s the hard part, but freeing part.

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For sure!

Being mad fun of in elementary does NOT help!
I always thought I my nose was too long and my forehead was too high, and my skin was too white…
then I met a girl with big ears and she said that she just decided to own it one day, and it changed everything.

So I tried to do that too and life’s been aweeesome!

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When I struggled with some body issues a while back, my mom would make me tell her one thing that I liked about myself every day. Like my eyes, or my hair, or whatever. She also taught me to be kind to myself – she always used to say that I would never be so harsh with a tiny little beautiful girl (referring to my baby pictures). She really helped me to love and accept myself – warts and all – so thankful for that.

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I have such bad body image problems. As a teacher of young children, I try so hard to remember that they are looking to me as a role model. If I can’t be confident in myself, how can I expect them to believe in themselves?

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I just talked about this recently on my blog as well. I think that we all grow up in this culture that we’re supposed to be perfect but yet all we see is our own imperfections. So many of us (myself included) brush off compliments too; when someone tells us we look great we brush it off and point out our flaws. I’ve had to continually remind myself to not brush it off, but just say thank you and take the compliment. Janae, you’re beautiful, don’t forget it!

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You are absolutely amazing, stunning and gorgeous!

I’ve had body image issues a few times (especially after I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and my weight was all over the place and then when I gained 60 pounds while pregnant! I overcame it by just finding things about myself I do love and focusing on those and Remus imf myself growing a baby for 9 months is pretty amazing!

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Body image issues…story of my life. Even at 40 years of age.
I try and focus on what I love about me. My eyes, my strong legs, my humor.
I really struggled with entering races in the beginning of my relationship with running because I would just compare my non runner type body with all the women who had runners bodies. So silly of me. Honestly. I think it’s all about women supporting each other.

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I really haven’t known anyone who didn’t struggle with some type of body image stuff, it’s so common and yes, we can all do a better job accepting what we are in the moment, how we look, who we are. I’ve definitely gotten better over the years because like you I’ve seen the negativity does no good and holds me back from fully living life. Nice reminder :)

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I have struggled with body image issues on and off for most of my life. The last couple of years of my marriage and then through out my separation the issues were at an all time high. During my separation I started to really focus on improving myself and through that decided to work on the parts of my body that I wasn’t happy with and to start focusing my thinking on the parts of my body that I love. Every now and then I still look down at my legs and wish they were smaller but for the most part when I see my body I see how far I’ve come in the past 2 1/2 years and appreciate all of the wonderful things this body has done. And honestly last night for the first time I thought “Yes I gained 20-30 pounds during my marriage, but so did he is no better than me and at least I continued to love him despite his weight gain.”

So when your mind starts to focus on the things you do not like don’t just turn those thoughts off but switch them to thoughts of the things you love about your body!

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Body image…such a hard thing to keep under control. Thank for the reminder that we should be nice to ourselves. :-) I struggled with anorexia in college and bad thoughts still creep in every once in a while. Its a tough thing to shake.

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Yeap I have 100% had body image issues. It almost makes me bored to tears whenever I find myself fixating- how have we got to a point as a society that every woman I know, including my MOTHER has these issues?

Right now, tbh, I haven’t overcome them. We’ll need to see. I try to force myself to focus on health, not appearance. That sometimes helps!

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Body images issues are the worst! I”m doing SO much better than even a year ago, though there are still occasionally hard days. What’s helped me is showing myself how incredible my body is – running so many fast miles, playing basketball. I couldn’t do either as well as now when I was struggling with an ED/terrible body issues!

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Whenever I find myself thinking something negative, I just look at my awesome runner legs! Hey, my nose might be big and my hair might be wild, but I have some super toned legs so who cares??

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I try not to think too much during the hormonal times of the month because those thoughts never get me anywhere good. Divorce court was even more fun during that week of the month, if you want to know the truth lol.

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I am exactly the same way – very critical of myself. But if i take a step back and think about the fact that this body has produced 2 kids and bounced back pretty well, it changes my perspective!

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Thanks for writing this post!

It is something I’ve struggled with my entire teen and adult life. I’ve had it under control for years, physically, but now that I have a daughter of my own, I’m bound and determined to only show myself love so she learns how to love herself and how to be healthy and fit, and not to worry about a stupid number on a scale or a number stitched on a tag in a pair of pants. Believe me, I still struggle, but being the better I wish to see in Harlow is all that matters. Even if I have to fake it now and then. ;)

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So glad you brought up Zumba and you over came it! I needed to hear that. I actually go to Spin classes now instead of Zumba because there are no mirrors and I don’t have to look at myself. I can just focus on a great workout. But you’re inspirational and making me want to try and be strong and go through a Zumba class here soon. Thanks gal!

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such wise words. anne lamott writes beautifully about this — she tells a story of shopping for herself for a big event with a friend with terminal cancer. while she’s standing in the mirror picking herself apart her friend simply looked her and said (something like) “you really don’t have time for that dear” — so true.

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I love this. I lost my mom to cancer in 2005 and recently my brother in law. It reminds me that no, I don’t have time for that nonsense. Life is precious and be to enjoyed!

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Beautiful! I will remember that the next time I cringe at my reflection doing yoga. I have about 50 pounds to lose and I don’t feel that I look the way I look sometimes, lol!

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Wow! I was just thinking of that article this morning before reading this post. Spooky! I remember the quote as: ‘You just don’t have that kind of time’.

When I start to make a mental list of my flaws and failings, I remember that I just don’t have that kind of time.

Love this blog and the people who comment.

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Whenever I struggle with my body or image I remind myself what I would say to my friends. They are beautiful, smart, caring, strong women and hearing them talk badly about themselves upsets me. It’s easy to find ways to compliment them or help them get over the hump so I try to do the same for myself. Obviously we are a lot harder on ourselves than we are on our friends (thanks society!) but it helps remind me that I’m fine just the way I am and I shouldn’t beat myself up for things I wouldn’t let my friends do to themselves.

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I try to remind myself that no one else will believe in me if I don’t believe in myself. And I tell myself that I’m amazing and beautiful and super.
Even though I don’t always believe it, it really does help. And another thing that helps is to realise that almost everyone else feels the same. Your post just made me feel better at least, you are so beautiful and amazing, it seems ridiculous that you could feel that way!
But I guess we all do. :)

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I have to honest… I think your MODEL gorgeous! So hearing you struggle with body image surprises me. :)! I understand we all have negative thoughts, however You & Brooke make one beautiful family! :) Enjoy your day in SLC!

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Haha, adults play dodgeball??

Exercise has helped my body image. When I feel successful and hot and sweaty, that’s when I feel my best :)

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Sadly, I don’t meet too many people that don’t have body image issues – and it always surprises me (although it shouldn’t) how really, really smart people can still justify doing really stupid things in the name of weight-loss. I was always a skinny kid growing up but when I hit puberty I “fattened” up and remember hearing my family talk about how much weight I’d gained when they thought I wasn’t listening. By the middle of high school I was a mess and ended up battling anorexia, bulimia, and cutting. Not the happiest period of my life, but I eventually overcame all of that and am a better person for it. I wouldn’t say that I don’t have issues anymore, but I rarely let those issues get the best of me. I tend to feel them crop up more when things feel out of control and it reminds me that it’s not about food or appearance – it’s all a mental thing. I’ve realized over the years that it’s important to be healthy, but life is so much more than food and weight and beauty and the more time I waste focusing on those things, the less time I have to enjoy what life really offers: love, friendship, excitement, travel, food, great times, and wonderful memories.

I saw Madonna on Oprah once and Oprah asked her how she stays so healthy (aka thin) and Madonna said that she just thinks herself thin. Obviously, it’s not that easy, but sometimes it is. Madonna said that she believes she’s beautiful and strong and the more she believes it the more it comes true. I really took a lot away from that and when I really concentrate on loving myself and thinking about how beautiful or strong I am, I start to feel that way and that makes me more beautiful and strong…if that makes sense.

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Middle school was three years of body image issues for me. Then, the issues became 10x worse when I gained 50 lbs after I turned 21 and started drinking and eating garbage constantly. Even after I lose the weight I still had some insecurities, but now I’ve finally let most of them go and realized how silly they were all along.

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Thank you for this post! I don’t often comment, but I wanted to let you know I think you are beautiful!

I recently wrote a similar post about I accepted my body, and to be honest, becoming a mom had a lot to do with it. :)

http://www.runningwithracheal.com/2014/07/how-i-accepted-my-body-and-how-you-can.html

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I struggled with body image for several years after graduate school. Even though I ate super healthy and worked out all the time I would still find things to be disappointed in. That all stopped when I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and I had to start focusing on being healthy and stop worrying about little physical appearances here & there. I have to worry about making my body happy (reducing inflammation, repairing my immune function) and when that happens, I feel better physically & mentally.

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Awesome post and topic, Janae. I think pretty much all women have body image issues, but I’ve found that personally they get a little better as you get older. I still struggle though…I’m about 15 pounds heavier than I was at my marathon PR weight, and I really have to actively try to not freak out about that because I was really underweight at that point. One big takeway message I’m bringing with me from your post is to also be kinder to myself mentally. I’ve been having terrible anxiety lately about how others perceive me and I should probably give myself a break about that, too. Have a great Tuesday!

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This is my take on negative thoughts:

Negative thoughts are like a baaad old friend. You know the one that was selfish, only in it for his/her happiness and could walk all over you. One that you no longer have in your life. They were there, now they are not, because you know they aren’t healthy for your well-being, so you kicked ’em to the curb with your running shoes. Yay, great.

But, once in a blue moon, or maybe even every day, that old friend may stumble across your path. You have two choices– 1. Ignore the person (thought) completely and move on with your day like the cool new chic you are; 2. Acknowledge the person (thought), wave at him/her (thought), but choose to not succumb to that control they have over you, basically be friendly because you are nice like that but have the power to be like, “okay moving along now”; 3. Get swept back up in all their business and be a mess. (I know I said two choices, but that last one could always happen to. Albeit none of us want for that to happen.)

ANYHOOS! Yes. I totally have issues. And I react in those ways. Some days I won’t have it, other days I can feel them lingering but I choose to not get totally swept under, and then on those hormonal emotional days, I’m all under their realm.

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Agreed! I struggled with how I looked (and I’ve always had a thin frame) until I had kids. Now I appreciate my body SO much after having 3 kids and breastfeeding….it’s quite amamzing!

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I think it’s more usual for people to have body image issues than not. It has definitely helped me having my own daughter to realize that I want her to think of her body as being the exact way, shape, and form that it was created to. I stress balance and health over the way I look and I can see that it’s already carrying on to her. We talk about why we exercise and fuel our bodies, but also why we let ourselves have treats. I want to be strong and healthy over being a certain size. Oh yeah, and I cannot weigh myself. I have to base it on how I feel and how my clothes feel. That being said, I’m about 10 lbs heavier than I have been in the last 5 years or so, but I’m also the fastest and strongest I have ever been.

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I love this: “You can have a negative thought pop into your head and choose whether to think about something else or continue to dwell on those thoughts.”

I have lost about 60lbs (through running!) and struggle with feeling “good enough” even though I am at a perfectly healthy weight and am in the best shape of my life. I find that, like you focusing on Brooke, if I focus on what my body CAN do instead of what it looks like, I love it a lot more!

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Yes, I have had body issues. I am underweight and am always taken aback when people feel they can say something about it. I think “would you tell an overweight person to lose weight”? Doubt it! Then why would you tell an underweight person to gain weight? It’s hurtful. So, I have struggled with this but have accepted that at 42 my body is probably going to be this way. I also am challenged as I age to not beat myself (my body) up for not being able to keep up with the things I have done in the past. This has been a big lesson for me. Lately, I tell myself “if it were meant to last, it would have”. So just accept and be grateful each day what your body will do. I think this might be called…aging gracefully!!

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This was such a great post! I think most teenage girls struggle with body image. I’m 17 and I think the pressure right now is huge and the need to be perfect is what every girl desires. I’m not skinny, in fact I’m technically “overweight” and there are days where no outfit looks good and getting out of the house is a huge challenge. I gained a lot of weight in the years where most girls are trying to get rid of any fat, which made it so difficult to not be horrible to myself. I have never been bullied for my weight and the only person who beats me up about it is myself. I’m trying to lose weight to be healthier but I have things going on that makes that difficult. One day I had enough of feeling like crap and I just stared at myself in the mirror and said I have to be comfortable and okay with myself the way I look now otherwise I’ll never feel good no matter how much weight I lose and since then, the pressure to be perfect has gone away. I still want to lose weight to be healthy but I no longer feel the need to lose weight to be perfect. I have to remind myself that I am a great person and I have many things to love about myself. It’s not definitely not great everyday but it gets easier, I hope one day I don’t feel the need to be anything but myself. Weight doesn’t make you who you are, it doesn’t define you. What defines you is your character and your personality and it took me a long time to understand that. You’re beautiful, Janae and you have absolutely nothing to hate about yourself but I know we all dislike things about ourselves and no amount of compliments make those feelings go away! Thank you for such a real post!!

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I thought after losing 80 pounds I would be less focused on my body, but I still am just as much. That was five years ago. You would think after going from a size 14 to a 2, I would have a ton if perspective and respect for how far I’ve come and how much I’ve accomplished. Not true. I’m still hard on myself even now.

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Being a mom has helped me somewhat with my body issues as well because I am so proud/amazed at what my body was and is able to do. However, I think that it will be something that I will always need to consciously work on. But I’m okay with that because I feel like I have a much better perspective now :)

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I don’t mind what I look like. I really, really don’t. And, maybe this is as I’ve never really enjoyed going shopping/wearing make-up but have always loved to laugh.

I can’t remember the last time that I bought some clothes. Okay, hands up, do socks count?

It’s your health. Your sense of peace. Your sense of calm that counts. Anything else is totally irrelevant. Those negative thoughts CAN kill you but YOU have to believe that if you’re alive, on this planet, that you can rock the world.

Ridsx

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I really love this comment!

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Thanks for sharing! Without going into toooo much detail, I’ll just say I can relate! I’ve found that eating whole foods that fuel your body and avoiding processed foods will lead you down the right path. Oh, faith and family also help a lot bit. =)

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I most definitely struggle with body issues. I’ve gained some weight back over the past two years and it really hits me when my clothes don’t fit or I see a picture that I don’t like of myself. I have to try and remind myself that I am mentally so much happier and that my body will even out on it’s own! It’s all in our heads!

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Love that you brought this up! When I’m having a hard time with body image, I remind myself that the most attractive people (in my opinion anyway) are not the most attractive/most toned/etc., but the people who are most confident, most genuine, and happy with who they are!

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I’ve struggled with body image issues for most of my life. I think the turning point for me has been having my daughter and watching her watch me. I’ve spent so much time talking about working out to be “strong” to be “fast” to be “healthy” and eliminating the words “fat”, “skinny”, “lose weight” from my vocabulary that I’ve actually started to believe it myself! Our words, whether internal or external, really can change our belief systems and behaviors.

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This is SO true. Our children will watch us watch ourselves we need to believe we are beautiful regardless or the next generation is gonna be so insecure for NO reason.

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Thank you for sharing! I definitely agree that it’s something most of us all go through and it’s normal, but how we react to it is our decision!

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Um yes! I want to think that all women have some body issue struggles now and then. Mine became so bad at one point…. long story. But I learned so much from it.
It’s funny because now, as a mom of 4, I look at my post kid body and think “wow, look at to my stomach, that’s a mess, etc” but then I just smile and remind myself that I work on it everyday and really, having my kids has improved my life so much that I wouldn’t trade having a better body for even 1 of my children. I still struggle sometimes and I finally just came to the conclusion to stop judging myself, especially on the scale. I don’t weigh myself anymore and I’ve never been happier. It was getting to the point where I was working out harder but my weight kept going up! So I just stepped off the scale and I haven’t looked back. I just pay attention to how my clothes fit.

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Reading all of these comments has me feeling a little sad. I hate that so many people have body image issues! It has never been something I have struggled with other than your normal “I wish this was this way, or I was that was that way” type thing. I don’t know how my parents did it but the instilled so much confidence in me as a little girl, I’ve been able to carry that with me my whole life. I will say that having my son made me appreciate my body so much more because I saw what it was capable and designed to do!! You are beautiful and I’m glad you have pushed those negative thoughts out!!

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Amen. This came at a perfect time. These past two nights I have not been able to sleep well and this is unusual because I’m such a heavy sleeper. I would wake up in the middle of the night thinking about all of the things I am unhappy with regarding myself. I cried and cried. Then this morning I actually wrote a text to the boyfriend saying, “Thank you, I love you too. I think I am very unhappy with myself, so I am gonna work on that. I feel very negative about myself and I’m gonna change that. How can I expect to be loved when I don’t love myself?” I’m so done with this way of thinking. I do love who I am.

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I’m not impressed with physical qualities or financial wealth. I am however impressed with the drive it took to accomplish these if they were genuinely earned.
Bullocks to denying yourself happiness..be happy for yourself for giving full effort..life is to short to make other (unhappy) people happy to then have permission to be (temporarily) happy with yourself…and that’s basically all that’s done when you think about it. <3

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If you really stop and think about how one personally sees beauty…
I think a true laugh is beautiful,
I think a genuine smile is beautiful,
I think that eyes that light up when they see a friend are beautiful,
I think an open heart, and an open mind are beautiful,
I think a kind heart, a forgiving heart and a loving personality are beautiful…

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Definitely, and getting bullied in elementary school didn’t help. I’ve also started to realize that how you look is such a tiny part, really, of who you are. In 50 years, nobody posting here will be considered “hot” or “sexy,” no matter what they look like now. But with any luck, we’ll still have our minds intact and be reasonably healthy.

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I’ve struggled for body image issues for a very long time. The main way I overcame mine was through running – strong not skinny is the way to go! It’s still an everyday struggle but now instead of picking out the negatives I try and cancel out those thoughts by thinking about one positive for every negative. It really helps.

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The body image stuff is common. I think everyone is guilty of it. It’s hard to look at yourself and not find some type of flaw. It’s something I battle with and I don’t know if I will ever look and thing, oh I am totally content with myself.

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Great thoughts! I agree about becoming a mother & priorities shifting magically. She’s much more important to me than worrying about some silly ‘issue’ with my body.

p.s. you’re hawt, Janae!! ;)

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I have struggled with body issues for as long as I can remember. On my journey to living a healthy active lifestyle, my body has physically changed, but I have also changed mentally. I am not defined by my weight, the size of my butt (or lack there of), the little bit of fat that is on my back. A rounder butt won’t make me happier and neither will six pack abs. Working on myself, mind body and soul as well as helping others do the same is what makes me happy.

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I could have written this post myself!! I am the same as you, and having a baby absolutely made my body image issues go away!!! I mean, how incredible are our bodies that they can create LIFE?! It’s amazing and so mind blowing-ly awesome when you think about it! Seriously. :) Now that I have my baby, I’m proud of the little extra padding I have, because it’s all going toward nourishing him!!!!

xo

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As I get older only a few years from 40 I’m going from my 20s of being the hot girl to my 30s I’m a mom and now almost 40s where so much changes occur. It is so important to let those negative thoughts go somewhere else and focus on what’s inside that truly make is beautiful. It sounds cliche but the truth. I just read something that said to not even comment to my children about their looks at all like don’t say you’re so pretty etc but rather compliment what their doing. And never talk about certain foods will help with weight but rather how it’s nourishing. I thought that was interesting.

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Oh man, body issues!!! It just breaks my heart to think that we all have them to some degree, it’s such a sad part of being a woman (and more men now too). I have struggled with bulimia, binge eating, horrible negative thoughts about myself, and for what? It doesn’t actually accomplish anything. I think that motherhood has done wonders, also shifting my focus to health instead of appearance. It’s funny, when I started to focus more on health, I made changes that improved the way I looked and helped my to feel better about myself on multiple levels. I think it’s fantastic that so many women talk about it today, and hopefully we can do a small part to break that cycle with our children.

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Body image and eating issues are a constant battle in my life too, but I am finally at a place where I am winning most of the time. I don’t think I’ll ever be free and totally unencumbered by eating or weight issues but I’ve come a long long way. I think being accountable with yourself (as you are doing) is the foundation for a healthier life and outlook.

For me, running has actually helped me have the healthiest relationship with food and my body I’ve ever had. I have to fuel properly to be able to perform and finally running is more important to me than a number on the scale.

The time I still struggle is if I’m injured or recovering from a race. I’m running less mileage and being less active and so I feel like I need to deny myself food. I just try to talk about it as much as possible so I’m being transparent and accountable. It’s a work in progress!

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Oh I have had body images and then some. I struggled with eating disorders for several years in college and beyond. For me running and staying active has been a huge part of better self image . I focus more on what my body is capable of doing and less focused on how it looks. If I have legs that can get me through an ultra marathon, then I can’t t really complaint too much about my body. Most days, I look in the mirror and am happy with what I see.

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I have had body issues since my 20’s, I am now 42, I even went through a short period of bulimia in my 20’s. I have to say running has made me fall in love with my body but I still have my days when I am critical, I don’t think that will ever go away but I definetly am happier with my body now then when I was younger. Running has changed my life in many ways and has changesd my outlook on food and I actually enjoy more foods now and eating healthier.

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I think we all struggle with negative thoughts about our bodies. I don’t own a scale, because it’s too easy to beat myself up over a number. I just try to surround myself with people and situations that lift me up!

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YUUUS~ I definitely struggled with my body image in high school and into college. I went through a slew of eating disorders before I discovered running. At first, running was a way for me to lose weight, but I started to realize that my body was actually quite amazing and capable of so much more than I gave it credit for. I started to love my body for what it can do and not focus too much on what it looked like. Even when I was having a bad body image day, I would just remind myself that this body was able to finish several full marathons and countless half marathons, and then the negative thoughts would stop :)

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I have had my share of body issues. I think of others with physical disabilities who just love to have a body that can walk, run, dance or just get up on their own. I also turn it into a prayer and ask God to help me focus on the positives of my body and it’s strength!

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Thank you for sharing this. It seems like many of us have struggled with some sort of body image issues in the past (or even present). I’m a woman, I pick myself apart sometimes too. Unfortunately, I think it’s normal although clearly not ideal. Like you, I find that talking myself out of it and mentally telling myself to “shut up” really helps. It pushes the thought away and leaves room for positivity :) Although I don’t have kids yet, it seems like children really help women shift perspective from all the petty “problems” they once had. So happy to hear you’re in a much better place now!

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I thought about this very same topic this morning.
I went back to school today and I was nervous about announcing my pregnancy and then when people told me I looked great and so tiny it made me feel good. WHAT? that is craziness, it reminded me of days of old when you step on the scale and feel great about a low number. Just silly!!

Love you. xoxo

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In high school I struggled with body image a lot, then I went onto run cross country and track at a community college and those negative thoughts never really popped up, but then I transferred to run for a university and they came right on back when we had to get our body fat % tested regularly. Looking back, I’m so glad I can now see that I looked absolutely terrible because though I still ate a ton, I was not eating nearly enough for the amount of miles I was running. I was running to be skinny, not to be a good athlete. Every time someone beat me I thought it was because they were skinnier than me, when in reality, the girls that were beating me were of all shapes and sizes, but I was just concerned about the ones who were smaller than me. Those negative thoughts still pop up from time to time, but now that I’ve graduated and don’t feel like I’m under constant scrutiny, I feel so much better about myself and realize all the great things my body is capable of because I keep it healthy now (well, other than when running injuries creep up every now and then :) )

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I think everyone has something about their body that they don’t love. What’s really funny is that more often than not, someone else thinks that same feature is cool or endearing. I had a gap in my front teeth and paid lots of money to bridge the gap, then people told me that they preferred my “before” smile. I say just love yourself the way you are. Whatever you look like, that’s you. What you’re like inside is SO much more important.

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You’re so smart!! I started having body image issues when I was 11 :/ I thought I was terribly fat and was ALWAYS wasting so much time and happiness thinking about myself. Looking back at pictures, I was at a perfect weight!

Thankfully, Crossfit and running has helped me love my body! Whenever I get down about the way I look or wish I was thinner/more muscular etc. I just think of all the amazing things my body does for me. I definitely want to improve my fitness and physique but I want to do so because I love myself, NOT because I hate the way I look! :)

I love your posts like this! You’re the best Janae! :D

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Love this post! First off, you look freaking fantastic. If a girl doesn’t struggle with body image at some point in their life, I would be shocked. With society the way it is now, I think that girls feel more and more pressure to look a certain way. I’ve always struggled with body image (probably didn’t help being called thunder thighs in high school…meany). I still struggle with it, but as a runner I feel good about what my body can do. I know that if I run/work out, I will feel good about myself. I have muscular legs, and somedays I hate it, and other days I’m proud of it.

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I think almost everyone has body issues! Kudos to you for sharing that you do, and for working to overcome them. I had a baby five months ago, and I definitely agree it has helped my self image SO much. I am back to my prepregnancy weight, but everything is…different. Strangely enough, it doesn’t bother me at all, because I MADE her with this body, and that’s so incredible! I work out and take care of myself more for her now than for me!

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I always just let myself think negatively about my body, without understanding how damaging such thoughts can be. I eventually realized (at 23 years old!) that all of this picking on myself has made me self-conscious enough that how I think about my body actually impacts what I wear, where I go, what I do, who I say hi to, etc.

Recently, I’ve started to look in the mirror and tell myself how awesome I am. It felt weird at first, but hearing out loud that I look great in an outfit and that I am the most hilarious person on the planet (okay, overstatement) really boosts my confidence.

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Thanks for the post. Sometimes it’s nice just to have a reminder to be kinder to yourself. You really can just choose to be happy and accepting of yourself or continue the never ending struggle of always being critical.

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Janae,

Thank you so much for posting this. As another reader who thinks you have pretty much the “ideal” body, it is nice to know that pretty much everyone struggles. I go through periods of being ok with my body and periods where I absolutely hate it and get myself so worked up over it I end up pretty much consumed for days about nothing but food and exercise. I am working hard to try and get over this as it is starting to affect my life, work and marriage. My husband and I really want to have kids and I have not had my period in over a year, likely due to overexercise and disordered eating. I am just trying to keep telling myself that it is all worth it because getting healthier will enable us to have kids. Sure my body is changing now and will change much more in the future, but the reward from that is much greater than being able to fit into a size XS or 0/2 pants.

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Everytime something negative comes into your head about yourself…force yourself to think of 3 positive things about yourself!

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I think motherhood definitely changes your perspective. Carrying twins to 38 weeks is no easy task. And I did it (with an extra 70lbs). WHenever I get discouraged over my post partum progress, I try to remember all that my body has accomplished – and give myself a break. Sometimes it is easier said then done, but I always try to keep it in mind.

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Was talking about this with one of my friends today actually. We were saying how we are so, so much harsher on ourselves, and nitpick about the small things that other people don’t notice. It’s interesting how we tend to focus on the “negatives” about ourselves and take the “good” for granted, whereas others tend to admire the “positives”. Why can’t we always see it that way about ourselves?!

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having met you in real life… YOU ARE stunning

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Ohmygodness girl what woman HASN’T had body image issues at some point in their life? It’s nearly impossible not to. The second you think you’ve gotten thin enough, E! proclaims that “Curves are back!” and then you feel like garbage again. There’s always something that someone else has that is better than what you have in some way. That’s why it’s so freaking important to focus on what you’re happy about. We’re all going to have those days where we’re like “OMG my thighs are awful” but if you combat those days with “Yeah, but my abs kind of rock” or “I have the best hair/eyes/chin/hands/forearms/whatever”, then the one thing you were so worried about doesn’t seem quite so bad. Everyone has their insecurities, I have a boatload of them, but I continuously remind myself of what I am happy about, and it helps me pull out of that pity party called insecurity.

I’m sure plenty of women on here are thinking you’re crazy for being insecure because you are in awesome runner shape, so I think it’s very brave of you to admit that you have your own issues, too. It sounds like you’re getting a handle on it, though, and keep in mind that your body runs marathons and it made a tiny, adorable human, and those are some pretty awesome things that erase any slight imperfections you might pick out when you’re at a low point.

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I’ve been battling the body image demons since 7th grade as well… It was after Ella that I FINALLY learned to accept my flaws for what they were… I don’t want my daughter to go through what I went through so I work extra hard not to get down on myself especially in front of her and I try to just be a good, strong, active role model for her… I can only be the best me. I can’t worry about what I don’t have ya know?!

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Love this post! I have to remind myself everyday that my body is strong and can do amazing things! I also try to accentuate the areas I like and it helps me forget the parts that I don’t!!

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Super funny that you’re talking about this today, because it’s exactly what I’ve blogged about the past two days…great minds, right? ;)

I’ve been battling body dysmorphia for most of my life, along with some chronic health issues that only made things more difficult. Over the past couple years I’ve learned that overcoming this kind of struggle is SO MUCH more a matter of changing your thoughts than it is changing anything physical. It’s also hugely important to know where your value truly comes from, and it is NOT from your body or outward appearance. Plus, how incredibly lucky are we to just have bodies that are healthy and working and whole?? Instead of counting my body’s flaws, I count its blessings, and suddenly I don’t mind the little imperfections so much. :)

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That picture of Brooke in the car is darling! She’s growing up too fast, and she’s a beauty.

My older sister always had body image issues – at 15 and 95 pounds she considered herself fat. I think those things helped me be more realistic. I was looking at a pencil skirt today and knew there was no way I could ever wear it. I told myself “I’m not a pencil!” I’m not a pencil, but I am a runner!

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This organization has the best resources and data driven posts about recognizing the causes of and overcoming body image issues! http://www.beautyredefined.net

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I have struggled with this. I am just an average looking person by the world’s standards. When I focus on glorifying God with my life instead of glorifying myself, I feel ALIVE and LOVED and TREASURED. When I am overly concerned with myself then I feel EITHER insecure or prideful. My desire is to take my eyes off myself and onto God, onto others.

“Humility is not making the least of myself…it is making the most of others. It is to be completely free from myself. In fact, humility has no thoughts of self at all.”
James McDonald

Love your blog! Read it every day!

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I love running through sprinklers!
I think that I had more body image issues in my early 20s but I don’t really worry about it anymore. I think I have learned to appreciate the amazing things my body lets me do like run marathons so try to take care of it and in turn I am pretty positive about it. But I know it is something that SO many women struggle with!

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Thanks for sharing. Something I could always stand to be reminded of.

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TP dodgeball?! Awesome! what’s the rules? is there a regulation size tp roll? Is it single for double ply? Is it industrial strength? Sounds awesome!

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Thank you for sharing this.

Body image struggles seem so universal for many of us women. Like so many other moms out there I try to be a good example for my little girl. It would/will destroy me to hear her express negative self-talk about her own amazing body because I think she is just perfect in every way! In order to help her to grow up without those kind of self-defeating images… I have to remember to be positive about myself, because that’s where she will learn her first lessons about a woman’s body image. But it sure is hard sometimes!

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I am 46 year old man, and still have issues. My kids can’t believe the way I was in high school, and in my mind’s eye, I still see that kid. SOmetimes it motivates me, sometimes it frightens me. But its all part of me, and I am who I choose to be. Good luck!

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gosh i think every woman and man has some sort of issue with their body at some point, if its not a constant struggle. for me i feel like its a daily battle; i try to not focus on what i call my flaws because i know the people in my life who love me don’t see me that way, i can also find comfort in my faith and know God made me me and he doesn’t make mistakes, and seek out my worth through Him. but for others who don’t share those beliefs my best advice is to treasure your strengths, focus on what you love about your self and allow that to flourish in your life and kick out the negative thoughts when they creep in, out loud tell them to leave!

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I think most people have some sort of body image issue. There are very few (if any) who look in the mirror and think “yeah I’m perfect”. I guess the important thing would be to not focus on the things that bug us about our appearance.
I have been insecure about how I look for as long as I can remember. It definitely got worse in my first marriage (just a very horrible horrible situation that ripped my self-esteem to a trillion pieces). Thankfully that’s over, but for years each day was a struggle to have confidence in who I was and how I looked.
Now, even though my body isn’t where I want it to be and for some ridiculous reason I still have to deal with acne (which as an adult is even more annoying!) I try and look on the bright side and be grateful for the little things…like when areas start to jiggle less or when my MAC concealer does what it needs to. ;)

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I had awful body image issues throughout middle school and especially struggled during 8th grade. I ended up injured due to a combination of heel striking, half marathon training, and not enough fuel, so I couldn’t run for 4 months, which helped me to get away from the “I have to burn off everything I eat” mentality. I also prayed a lot and talked to my youth group leader, who had struggled from an ED during college.

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I think most (if not all) of us have had body image issues at one time or another. Running has definitely helped me feel better about my body, how bad-ass is it that we can run for several hours without stopping? Not everyone can do that! :)

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxRQNO8vg2Y

I was running on the treadmill this morning and this song came on and made me run faster. You might like it too :)

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Thank you SO much for writing about body image. It used to consume me and even after doing A LOT of work, I still have days where I fall into those old patterns of thinking. Loved what you said about stopping the thought in its tracks. . .You’d love the book The Secret — positive thoughts attract positive things into our lives, I’m convinced! Loved this post. I can totally relate.

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You are so beautiful!

I struggle with body image a lot. My mom instilled this fear of being overweight on me and I’ve been super self conscious for most of my adult life. I worked really hard to be fit and lean before I got pregnant. I always thought I was too big, but looking back at old pictures I wish I could have loved my body because it was hot! Now pregnancy has changed me and I’m holding onto more weight than I’d like and I just can’t seem to shake it. I went from a size 4 to a size 10 which I know part of that was just my hips and ribs widening. I’m so self conscious about my size, my stretch marks, my jiggly tummy and I can’t even tell if its as bad as I think. I know my body can do amazing things, but I’m having a hard time seeing past that. I just keep working hard and eating good food and telling myself that my body is exactly where it should be right now. I’m so glad I don’t have a girl to protect from negative body image issues, and I hope I can teach my boy that curvy girls are still beautiful too.

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My yoga teacher once said that we should talk to ourselves the same way we would speak to a small child. You would never tell a child that their thighs are too big or their nose is the wrong shape so why should we do it to ourselves? Instead of focusing on what I don’t like I now focus on things I like about myself and not just the physical stuff but the qualities in ourselves that makes us unique.

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You are gorgeous! Don’t ever let those negative thoughts stick around!

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I’m glad that i’m not alone in these body image issues. When I’m feeling really bad about my image, (like today), I go work out really well the next day and stop thinking about how far I have to go and think about how far i’ve come. Tomorrow is always a new day. I’m really thankful you wrote about this today!

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Do you eat yogurtland everyday??

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Thanks for sharing these thoughts! You’re definitely someone I would look at and think, “I bet that girl never has body issues” – even though, obviously, it’s so common for people to have them.

When I see your blog pics you look genuinely happy – like, glowing from the inside kind of happy, even if you may not feel that way 100% of the time, it just looks like you have a joy coming from within.

Did you know that when people make crazy/funny faces in pictures all the time it’s a sign of low self-esteem and not being at peace with one self? In your older blog posts, I see you making more of the “crazy” faces in all of your pics. (You still look great!) But in your recent pics/recent years, you just seem to be radiating more self-assured-ness (I claim this is a word!)

You glow, girl! :)

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You are beautiful, no one is perfect, you need to remember Brooke will closely follow what you say and do. So keep taking care of yourself, and be healthy. I want to be more like you. I love how you make time for friends. I feel like I don’t have time for friends.

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I’m 19 and have had body image issues since I was 13. Some days it’s really hard, other days I feel great. But you’re right, it is really a waste of time and energy. There are so many wonderful things to spend our time thinking about, and so many wonderful things we can do if we don’t let our body image issues hold us back.

Running helps me with my body image issues, and you’ve been a big part of my running inspiration! Love your blog. I’m currently training for my first half-marathon in October :) xoxo

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I love that part about changing your thought process after the first thought! That’s actually basically what my therapist had me do when I was first working through my eating disorder. He said it’s totally in my hands how I handle negative thinking. I loved it! Thanks for this post. Some days are better than others, that’s for sure. Another thing I’ve realized is that nobody cares about what I look like as much as I do. And chances are, nobody else knows if I’m having a “fat day”. :)

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I think runners often struggle with body issues because we spend so much time being hyperactively aware of our bodies. Not only do we have to practice right but we have to eat right, do weights and ab work right, and sleep right. I know something that really makes me over think how I look is putting limitations on what I can and cannot eat during a competitive season. When I say “no sweets until Christmas” or whatever the end date may be, I immediately want what I “can’t” have. However, I’ve seen great improvement in my mental state by just letting myself have a little of the good stuff here and there throughout the week.

I read an article about will power a few weeks ago and how much runners use will power in any given workout or race situation. The author had readers think of will power like a bucket of water: you start out at the beginning of the day with a full bucket and each time you work over a decision in your mind (what to wear, what to eat, when to leave for X appointment, what to say) you dip out a little of your will power. With my team, we do our workouts in the afternoon, after we’ve potentially dipped out a lot of will power from our stores each day. So, we have been working together to keep small daily decisions exactly that: small! Now when I go to look at things to eat in our cafeteria, I try not to dwell on my decisions as much. As a team we are getting stronger and I think improving overall body image, too. Thanks for your post!

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I 100% agree with you on this–> it is really tough to ignore certain things about ourselves, but once we do, it becomes really freeing for my soul!! Thanks for always being so awesome!

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Yes! I can find no peace. I battled anorexia since I was 16. Being overweight in my 20’s. Spiraling down into anorexia in my 30’s to the point of going inpatient at age 37 for sixty days. I am now 49 and I have worked hard. Most eating disorders behaviors are gone. But the daily battle with hating my body is very painful.

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I struggle with negative thoughts quite often. I am currently going through a funk.

You are gorgeous lady!!

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I know this is from last week, but felt compelled to comment…
I definitely struggle with body issues, but over the years have learned the same thing when the thoughts begin–shut. it. down. some days are certainly better than others, but i’ve come a long way. it makes me feel incredibly guilty for even thinking poorly about my body, as my sister suffers from severe anorexia. we’ve watched her demise over the years; its so devastating watching what the mind can do to the body. positivity is SO VITAL!
thanks for this :)

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