I’m struggling these days to accept how I look. I do not like how skinny I am. I do not want other young runners to look at me and say to themselves ‘to be fast I need to look like her.’ (And to be honest, I do not think many people do that.) I’m not looking for a pity-party, don’t feel sorry for me, but also do not judge me for openly talking about this.
Today I was skinny-shamed and it’s having me take a good long hard look at myself and to remind myself to take a deep breath, believe in myself and believe what I’m doing.
Here are some of the facts:
1. I’m gearing to run a marathon eventually. That means miles, minutes, kilometres, and lots of them. I run a lot. I am also in the gym 2 to 3 times a week for a proper lifting session, plus some other work with mini-bands, medicine balls, hurdles, and what JMar likes to call ‘athletic movements.’ My body knows what’s coming and it’s adjusting itself to prepare itself to go fast. I cannot remember if this is from Lauren Fleshman, Max Shute, or my boyfriend Rol, but one of them said that your body naturally becomes what it needs to be, whether or not you like the outcome.
2. I’m 35 turning 36 before the end of this year. My body is no longer thinking it’s going to have babies. In fact, I’ve probably said it enough times out loud that even my uterus is listening. My body is getting ready for menopause, which means it’s probably trying to teach itself to be really efficient.
3. Genetics. My dad’s family is a long line of endomorphs, and there is a lot of my dad that I take after. My engine burns hot, which is a blessing and a curse. It means that I am burning food rapidly and efficiently, and most nights I’m woken up because I cannot stand the heat of myself! (I just want to crawl out of my skin). Food is my friend, and I have a great relationship with it. I look at food as a positive part of my life and it has really improved my outlook on how I choose to nourish and fuel myself.
This really got me thinking today about what is important. Firstly, that I continue to share my story, my authentic story, about how I nourish and fuel myself. Food is a really important part of my life. Sure, it’s what helps me stay strong and healthy, but it’s also about sharing great life moments with the people you love. Being together over a great meal is an important Gollish-Family tradition.
Secondly, we are all individuals. Our bodies will act and do things very differently. To be the best version of yourself you really have to listen to your body. As I just wrote in an email ‘comparison is the thief of joy,’ so please do not rob yourself of fantastic moments with your teammates because you’re comparing yourself to them. Celebrate your differences and your strengths.
Lastly, and maybe most importantly, let’s stop judging each other. In the ROO episode, there is a suggestion to start greeting people with ‘It’s so great to see you.’ Even when we compliment someone we are judging them. Plus what happens to their self-confidence if one day we forget to compliment them? Instead by reminding people that they are important, not their looks, we make them feel whole and that they matter to us. In addition, another suggestion from the podcast was to call people up to recovery. Being concerned about a friend’s health is natural, but do not confront them in a way that makes them feel isolated or alone. Real friends show concern through love, not through judgement.
There is so much more I wanted to write, so much more to talk about. Know this, when I make comments about how I look or what I eat that I do it from a place of kindness, that I do not believe in judging others for how they look or what they eat, and that I am concerned about the health and well-being of young runners, especially young women. If I say something that upsets you please just talk to me about it. And if you’re a young woman struggling with food, nutrition, and comparing yourself to others, know that you have a friend here that will always lend an ear and give you a hug.