How do you know what you look like?

For all ye runners, shredders, dieters and sneaky custard creamers...

How do you know what you look like?

Postby BigFlower » 27 Jul 2014, 18:34

Sorry for what will probably be a rambling mess of a post.

Basically my body image is a bit weird at the moment.

I used to have an eating disorder and then generally very low self esteem. Pretty much meant that what I saw when I looked in the mirror was fatter than the reality. Got better and part of that was recognising that what I saw in the mirror was very dependent on my mood and general state of mind - if I felt good I looked good and vice versa.

Now I am fitter than I have ever been as a adult. I weigh about half a stone more than my lightest (wedding weight(. But strong and got muscly legs etc. My BMI is in the "normal" range (towards the top but within it).

But now photos are confusing me. I ran a 5k today and DH took some photos of me. I look way bigger than I feel. Running down the last straight I felt awesome, but I don't look it.

On a more superficial level I know I look more attractive than I have for a while - confidence and good mental health are giving me a real glow and I am dressing well etc.

BUT I just don't know how to trust what I see in the mirror IYKWIM?

Does that make any kind of sense?!?!

How DO you know what you really look like?
DD - Feb 2010
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Re: How do you know what you look like?

Postby doodlesmummy » 27 Jul 2014, 18:44

That is such a difficult question to answer. I think we all feel like we look bad on some days and better on others. I always feel fat n heavy if my jeans feel the slightest bit tight, also I tend to feel I look awful when weather is bad / had a bad day etc.
And I think the best way is not too look in a full length mirror....it gives your mind too much opportunity to disect what it sees. I only look in a full length mirror if trying something new or going out for something important.
I would focus on how you feel and facts wrt your body. Focus on how good you feel now you are fitter, your BMI, your confidence and how you feel mentally. Step away from the mirror and photos, especially photos as I know I dont often photo well and thankfully has a DH who agrees and deletes most of the bad ones.
And Bigflower, remember that it isnt how you look that is important, it is how you feel and that good mental health and inner beauty from confidence matter far more. (((((((((((BF))))))))))))
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its not how much you eat...but how you eat it that counts!
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Re: How do you know what you look like?

Postby t&n's mummy » 27 Jul 2014, 18:55

Wss^ I am often surprised when I see pics of myself and I swear all mirrors are not created equal. How you feel is way more important and like you say, feeling good does give you an inner glow that is very attractive, hold on to that not numbers.
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Re: How do you know what you look like?

Postby SparklePetal » 27 Jul 2014, 18:59

I think photos are even harder than mirrors for catching you out in this way. I'm not an eating disorder sufferer, but I have plenty of experience of feeling like I looked fine, even having studied myself in the mirror, then seeing a photo later and thinking I actually looked awful. Two weddings soon after DS was born (one only three weeks!) in particular I looked absolutely HUGE. Size of a house! I find it very hard to link up my head knowledge that people who recently had a baby often carry extra weight with maintaining a positive self-image when looking at those pictures. Maybe that's why I don't like having my picture taken?

I wonder whether photos have a more potent ability to tap into these feelings because of the huge number of airbrushed/model images we see daily? I know we are all clued in to the fact that all these women are fake and have been photoshopped, but maybe that doesn't stop us having a thin/beautiful shape burned onto our retinas of what a woman "should" look like?

Also, a photo can be such an inaccurate capture of our whole self. IRL you are moving constantly, just little tiny facial movements are enough to show your personality, your character, your attractiveness. Add in your smiles, laughter, conversation, etc and all that is feeding into the person your family and friends perceive you to be. That one still image captured on camera is not the totality of the way they see you, even if they would recognise it as an accurate depiction of the shape of your features.

Not sure if any of those rambling thoughts are of any use to you.
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Re: How do you know what you look like?

Postby PerpetualMadness » 27 Jul 2014, 19:10

You don't know how you look because it's subjective. I have suffered from eating disorders and 'struggle' twitch my weight BUT I have finally realised that I love my body. It made and fed (feeds) two children. It runs, jumps, climbs and keeps up with them. It allows me to do many things. It is healthy. What it looks like is really irrelevant. It does what it is meant to. It is my home.

When I look in a mirror and think something negative, I remind myself of all of that.

And in terms of photos, I have stopped hiding from the camera. Photos are not just about me. I don't want my boys to wonder where I am when they look back in years to come.

And this:

http://blog.petflow.com/a-moms-kids-exp ... s-perfect/

Focus on how you feel.
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Re: How do you know what you look like?

Postby sabrina fair » 27 Jul 2014, 19:13

Sorry, short answer, but nobody looks good running down the final straight. DH has an amazing body (seriously, I'm sure there are men who would kill for a body like his - though he hates it, and won't look at himself in the mirror, but that's a whole other story), but he does not look good running down the final straight in a race. He looks red and knackered and broken, in clothes that are good for running in but not good for showing off his 'figure'.

Relaxed, playing with his boys in normal clothes on the other hand he looks awesome. I think that context is everything.
Mum to monkeyboy (Spring 2011) and squidge (August 2013)
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Re: How do you know what you look like?

Postby mamapup » 27 Jul 2014, 19:22

I tend to go with not looking in a mirror much and.focusing on knowing that I'm healthy and hopefully have a 'happy mummy glow ' (rather than just.knackered all the time!). I'm quite self critical so too many mirrors aren't good for me. I'm also not.photogenic at all so get really sad.at.all the photos I ruin!

Let's remember we are all.awesome and beautiful.
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Re: How do you know what you look like?

Postby FestiveTidings » 27 Jul 2014, 19:23

I look like the image I have of myself in my head. That's the only image I need to see and it's the one I'm happiest with :) Mirrors are for checking I don't have spinach I'm my teeth and my top isn't on inside out. It doesn't show me my smile when I'm looking at my husband or my boys. It doesn't show my dirty laugh or the dirty mind that goes with it!

I don't care if people look at me and think, Jesus look at the size of that arse! I have a husband and children that love me for who I am, not what I look like and that to me is most important.

Granted I am slowly trying to lose weight but that is not from a health perspective. I want to lose the fat so I can play with my boys for longer and hopefully be around for them a bit longer.

Mirrors and photographs don't give a true picture - the angle, the lighting, the pose, posture can all contribute towards a bad picture do I don't trust them as a true reflection of what I look like.

But I understand where you are coming from BF - I've had several body issues over the years and even now I have my collywobbles about it. I just try to remain positive about it xxx

I'm sorry if I sound a bit preachy - I don't mean to me. I've written this three times now and I'm still not getting my point across in the right way! Think of it said in soft, soothing, supportive tones over a cup of tea and some guilt free cake xx
Mum to Roo born Feb 2011 and Wee One born April 2014 - each one a miracle.
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Re: How do you know what you look like?

Postby BigFlower » 27 Jul 2014, 19:32

Thank you SO much!

This is perfectly put -
PerpetualMadness wrote: I have finally realised that I love my body. It made and fed (feeds) two children. It runs, jumps, climbs and keeps up with them. It allows me to do many things. It is healthy. What it looks like is really irrelevant. It does what it is meant to. It is my home.


I really don't hate my body. Pregnancy and birth etc were all really good for that. And yeah, the facts of bmi, weight, body fat %, fitness etc can't really be argued with. I've been keeping a diary since I started running and that's good to look back at - just two months ago I really struggled to run for 1 minute without stopping.

sabrina fair wrote:He looks red and knackered and broken, in clothes that are good for running in but not good for showing off his 'figure'.


Yep that was me! In my head I was flying and in the pictures I look like I'm about to collapse!

PerpetualMadness wrote: And in terms of photos, I have stopped hiding from the camera. Photos are not just about me. I don't want my boys to wonder where I am when they look back in years to come.


Definitely - there are hardly any photos of my mum in childhood photos. I think this is so sad. She always struggled with her weight and still does. There is not a single photo of her pregnant with either my sister or me. I know it was different pre-digital but not a single one is pretty sad. I do make sure there are lots of photos of me with DD. I really don't want to pass on any body issues to her, very conscious of what I say.

This made me well up a bit. <span class="skimlinks-unlinked">http://blog.petflow.com/a-moms-kids-exposed-what-she-really-looks-like-and-her-reaction-is-perfect</span>/
Thanks for linking. In fact today after the run we went for lunch and DD said to DH "I'm going to sit next to mummy, she's our winner" :D and she also tells me I am beautiful. I guess I just need my brain to catch up and cop on that she's right!

FT you don't sound preachy at all. You speak much sense. And I totally agree (just, my brain takes a while to feel what it knows at times).

Thanks all - formulating my thoughts and having sense spoken to me was just what was needed.
DD - Feb 2010
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Re: How do you know what you look like?

Postby GHJingle » 27 Jul 2014, 23:48

Awwwwww BF that brought a tear to my eye. You are her winner! what more could you ask for in life ! :D :D :D
A (May 2012), B (Feb 2016)
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