Thursday, April 30, 2015

Accepting Body Image

I love to take photographs. Family, pets, random things on random walks. What that means though is that I am very seldom in the picture. Sure, once or twice a year at a special event we’ll get someone to take a family shot with me in it, but there are very few candid moments of my life captured on film.

Last week was our first Learn To Run session. Since I’m in charge of social media for this year’s Ocean breeze race, I asked one of participants who had a phone with her to take a few pictures that I could possibly use in our Twitter feed or Facebook page to help promote the event. She was happy to oblige and sent me 2 pictures that I could use. One showed the group standing and listening to the instructor and the other is more of an action shot of folks running during one of the exercises.

Both were great shots and really captured what I wanted to show online in hopes of getting more people to sign up. The only problem is that I am in the very forefront of one of the pictures. And MAN! I do not like the way I look. I understand that spandex running clothes are only flattering on about 5%* of the general population. But I am so far from that 5% in this picture that I was mortified and my instant reaction was that I was not using that picture, no way, no how!

That picture stuck with me all day. I know that I am overweight and out of shape; that is one of the reasons that I am running. But what does it say about me if I’m so willing to just toss that picture aside? I’m not ashamed of who I am. I’m obviously okay with people in real life seeing me like that, since I went to the session in the first place and plan on going back. I guess there is just something in seeing myself, full body, in all my lumpy glory that makes it all the more real. This is how people looking at me must see me.

I’m NOT going to throw away the picture. I’m going to use it here and in the social media feeds. Maybe it will inspire someone else who feels that they can’t join because they too are not part of the 5%. And one day I will look back at this picture with pride and joy on how far I have come.

*Not an actual statistic from any recognizable source, just a random guess.


  1. Way to go, Andy for putting yourself out there for the masses! You are going to inspire people all over the world! I'm glad you didn't disregard the picture! One day you will look back at that picture and think about how far you've come!! Keep running!! xoxo

  2. I think it's important for every body type to be represented when it comes to pictures of physical fitness. Running isn't something you wait to do until your body looks a certain way; it's something you do because you feel good running. So... thank you for using the photo.

    That said, whenever I start getting down about my body (which is... frequently), I will think to myself, how angry would I be with myself if I lost use of my body? How angry would I be that I didn't appreciate it when it worked for me the way I wanted it to work regardless of how it looked? It's usually enough to pop me out of the mindset. At least for a few minutes.

  3. I am inspired. I can't tell you how many times I *do* throw away the picture because I don't like how I look in it. Next time, I'll think of you and your example of self-acceptance.

  4. Good for you for putting yourself out there! Most of us see ourselves much differently than we see ourselves, myself included. I also think that you are an inspiration to others to get out there and get active, regardless of where you are at in your personal fitness. Kudos!

  5. Someone once said to me that I didn't really have the body type for running. Mmmm, not quite sure what he was talking about but I took that to mean I was not exactly gazelle like. Thanks for using the photo. If you enjoy running, you keep doing it!!!

  6. I look like that in my gym gear. I have seen a few photos recently taken at bad angles too. I cringed. I wish I could accept myself, but it is one thing I struggle with. It's hard even saying it. Thank you for being inspiring.

  7. Thank you for posting that. I feel the same way when I go to ballet class - it's intro level and I've put off trying it for years because I think I don't look right. But frack that. The way I look is not who I am. Thank you.