Lately I’ve been listening to a podcast called Run, Selfie, Repeat by Kelly Roberts. Two episodes I’ve recently listened to (Ep. 16: No More Before And After Photos and Ep. 17: Your Weight Doesn’t Define You) are about working towards a positive body image and how photos or compliments actually work against that goal. These two episodes really got me thinking about how I view myself and how I viewed myself in the past.
I was never thin in middle school, but I also never saw myself as fat or even bigger. I just thought I was regular. Just a regular sized person. I wasn’t concerned with weight or how I looked. I just wanted to have fun and be with friends. When other kids did make fun of me, it was more because of how I was acting or something that I said. No one teased me for being bigger. However, I remember my mom having me count calories during a bit of that time so I guess I was bigger and it was a bit of a concern. In high school I wasn’t as concerned with my weight either. More my boobs because they were freaking HUGE! I left high school wearing a DDD and they only got bigger in university. It was kind of a running joke with my friends and me. One of my friends put my bra on her head and said that my one cup could serve as a helmet if she needed and another was adament that I have a reduction surgery that siphoned the breast tissue from me to her. None of that bothered me. But even then I didn’t see myself as bigger. Just someone who was unfortunate to be overly “blessed.” I remember one of my friends telling me that “I would be prettier if I lost weight”and that other agreed. Still, I just thought that I was normal and everything would be fine once I had my reduction.
Now that I’ve had my breast reduction, I feel fat. Sure, I wanted to lose weight before, but I was really hoping that my breasts would be smaller and then my problems would just go away. Now that I am proportionate, I don’t have the confidence I thought I would gain after the surgery. Also, living in South Korea where vanity is what runs everything, I feel huge. My middle school students who can’t be more than a size 4 jeans are saying they need to be on a diet! I can’t go to stores here and just buy clothes. I’m scared to even walk into a store and attempt to look around because I know they won’t have anything my size and there is a chance that someone in the store will insult me. Yes, shop owners and workers here have been rude to me in the past. Let me tell you my favorite story..
I was in a cute little shop in my town and I tried on a few items. The shop owner was kind and tried to help me find things in my size to try on. I ended up buying a pink shirt and as I was paying she said to me, “You really need to go on a diet so that you can shop in my store. ” If I hadn’t already paid for the shirt, I would have walked out without anything. Instead I just looked told her okay, walked out, and never went back.
Since then I’ve gone up and down a lot in my weight and it was really because I wasn’t happy. There has been a movement of sorts on the internet of people embracing a positive body image. I’ve read, what feels like, hundreds of blog posts from The Militant Baker and followed Instagram accounts like bodyposipanda. I’ve reached a place where I feel relatively happy with what I look like.
Working in Korea means that I am judged a lot by how I dress and look on a daily basis. My coworkers will ask me if I’ve lost weight because I’m looking good. When I first got here I would say “Yes, I have lost weight. Thanks for asking!” But now I just say “I don’t know. I don’t keep track.” After I decided to eat vegan/vegetarian I was constantly asked if I’ve lost weight. But in actuality, I hadn’t lost a pound. That made me realize that I can look better and not lose weight. I can look healthier and people will notice! And I don’t mind people noticing that I’m looking better, but I want them to change how they compliment me. So I’ve made a list of different things people can say to me to compliment me without talking about weight.
- You’re looking healthier!
- You look so happy today!
- You’re looking stronger! Have you been exercising?
- You look great today!
- You have a positive energy about you today!
So there you go! If you feel like complimenting me in the future you can say these 5 things 🙂
This post really wasn’t about my running travels and was more of a personal post, but I hope you enjoyed it anyway! If you haven’t already, you can check out my two other running post about why I’m running and what motivates me.