I am a fraud.

2 Aug

I have several drafts of this post that have been sitting in my draft file for several months.  Then yesterday I read a post by Another Mother Runner and I was inspired to complete my post and share it with you.

I am a fraud.  There it is out there, Shannon the “Original Tough Chik” is a fraud.  Well, fraud is a pretty harsh word, so I will let you decide for yourself.  If you have met me a an expo or know anything about the mission of Tough Chik, you know that my goal is to get women out and active and look cute while they do it.  I preach that we are all beautiful, all shapes and sizes, and we should love our bodies.  Your body is your vessel and allow you to do all of these amazing activities. Blah, blah, blah.  If you want to read a article on positive body image, stop here.  This ain’t that kinda post.

If you are anything like me, I am sure you have read several articles and posts about positive body image.  Heck, I could write one of those articles.  I do believe all those things…for other people.  I struggle, like millions of others, with poor body image.  Is it due to some jerk in past saying jerky things?  Unrealistic images in the media?  An anxiety disorder?  Who knows, probably a little bit of all of those things.

My poor husband is constantly telling me things like “no, you look fine”, “no, you don’t look chubby”, “yes, you are being crazy”.  I know my thoughts are ridiculous.  I know that the magazines are Photoshopped (I am a graphic designer for heaven’s sake…although I am not that good).  I know that jerk was being a jerk and projecting his issues on me.

I was a new runner and I thought if I was going to be a distance runner, I needed to look like a distance runner.  We all know what runners look like and most of them don’t weigh 90 lbs.  But in my head, if I was going to take this seriously, I need to get light…light=fast.  What a joke!  I know women who have 20 lbs on me and could blow my doors off.  But there was an evil demon that had been sleeping for many years and running woke the demon.  He started to stir and mumble and the more I ran, the louder he got.  I am NOT blaming running, I have always had an issue but with the combination of a new passion and a crappy job, my size became my project.

During this time I was “watching my calorie intake” a little too seriously and getting close to being what was considered “underweight” and I loved it.  I know that sounds terrible and sick, but it was almost a game, the more I lost – the happier I would be (and the fast I should run).  But I was never happy (and not any faster), not even at my skinniest.  I still wanted to loose more.  A lot of people started to worry about me.  My counselor even brought in a scale and threatened to start weighing me if I lost more weight to ensure I wasn’t loosing to much.  I never got to the point of an eating disorder, but I saw how easy a diet can slip into a full blown disorder, for some people.

After I ran my marathon, I joined my husband on the bike.  I had taken a 6 month hiatus from the bike to give running all of my energy.  On that first ride out, I could barely make it up hills that I use to be able to bound up with no problem.  I had great endurance and I was lighter, but I had lost all of my strength.  The pounds I was so determined to rid were fat, but they were muscle too.  I was weak and tired.  And instead of being happy and skinny, I was avoiding going out to eat or grabbing a drink.  I was becoming anti-social and not happy at all.

I decided to stop weighing myself, because no matter what number came up…it ruined my day.  I stopped food journaling on the weekends and allowing myself a glass of wine or splitting a dessert here and there.  I was still very conscientious about what I ate, but gave myself a little break on portion sizes on the weekends.  And I started to gain the weight back, slowly and it was hard.  I am not going to lie, it was tough but I couldn’t deny how it was helping me on the bike.  I had to make a decision and be skinny, sick and sad or healthy, happy and strong.

I am a lot better now than I use to be but the evil demons do sneak up from time to time but I know why.  I have discovered that the negative self talk is a coping mechanism, not a good one, but one I have adopted.
I am not writing this for sympathy or seeking compliments, trust me, nothing you say will change my thought process.  Although is in nice to hear, my reality is not reality.  I am not dumb, I know what a “healthy” weight is and I know that I am within that range.  But I wanted to share that even TOUGH women have their weaknesses.  It doesn’t make us less tough, it makes us human.  I wanted to share my story because I don’t want to hide in shame.  I don’t have all the answers, heck I don’t have any answers, I just have my truth.  I am lucky that my issues didn’t get to the point of being something that was detrimental to my health.  I was able to change my habits, but not everyone is so fortunate.

So maybe I am not a fraud, maybe I am just human.


10 Responses to “I am a fraud.”

  1. tootallfritz August 2, 2012 at 9:23 am #

    You are so right, all TOUGH women/people have their issues. I think we all have people in our lives we look too and think, “Wow, they have it all. Their life looks perfect.” But it’s just not true. Perfection does not exist. It’s like a dream that you can see but you just can’t touch.

    Hang tough Ms. OTC!

  2. jnkmiles.org August 2, 2012 at 11:15 am #

    I think we can all fall victim and it is esp. hard out in the racing world. Everyone has their own movie though and to be happy and balanced in your own is THE one I’d come to see over and over again!!

  3. Becca G. August 2, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

    As I was reading this, I was thinking, “She is not a fraud, she is HUMAN.” And then you went and said it! It is so hard not to judge yourself when you see one person at an event that has your “perfect” ideal for a body style. It’s funny how we see that one person and fail to see the thousands of others who are just like us (or bigger or possibly looking at us as their ideal.) Keep up the good work!

  4. Larissa August 2, 2012 at 12:45 pm #

    I love this post!! I can so relate to this on almost every level. Especially when you are talking about all the things your husband says. Sometimes I drive my poor husband nuts (luckily he loves me a lot!). It’s always nice hearing that you aren’t the only one that has these feelings. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  5. Samantha August 2, 2012 at 12:52 pm #

    I feel like you just looked into the last year of my life and then wrote a synopsis of it. been there. battled those demons. the more I lost the unhappier I became. I only weigh myself now on rare occasions. Thanks for sharing this, it really hit home. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who has gone through this.

  6. Kasey August 2, 2012 at 2:24 pm #

    Chin up. You are human. You just summed up age 19- 25 for me. You didn’t end up hospitalized, though, or have the lasting effects cause an unusual bone bruise (first time I’ve publicly admitted that). It took a lot of work on myself, and I lucked out enough to marry a wonderful man who helps remind me that I am a valuable person, that I am good, and kind, and worth more than my appearance.
    Though, he does have a sense of humor about it (and has helped me laugh at my own neuroses)- when he was deployed, and I was PARANOID about gaining weight like so many spouses tend to do under that stress, any comment I made was met with, “Whatever, Chubs.” I’ve adopted that nickname now, even had it on my Tough Mudder shirt last fall as a reminder to myself that I am not the contorted image my evil voice sometimes tries to claim I am.
    I joined Tough Chik because finally, I had accepted I will always be more muscular (and therefore heavier) than those whippet-thin track stars, and that is OK. Strong is my body’s version of sexy. When the negative talk starts, I like to talk back: can those waif-like models flip a tire? Can they complete a Tough Mudder? Can they beat me at arm wrestling? No. I am strong. I am enough.
    So are you, Shannon!!!!

  7. Michelle August 3, 2012 at 10:25 am #

    Wow! You really gave me something to think about. I struggle with my weight and yet I know that I’m not fat, but the number on the scale really drives my mood which is sad but true. Thanks for sharing. I just posted on my blog, and now it makes me wonder if I’m being honest with myself. Is it racing weight I want or the number on the scale. Grrr……

  8. Trinity August 4, 2012 at 10:15 am #

    The only thing you made me think by this post is that you are more of a Tough Chik than I ever realized! All of us have our issues, goodness knows I do, and they are so very hard to push past at times. Finding that place between laziness and overdoing it is seriously hard, most people end up landing on one side or the other. Getting yourself to that healthy middle spot, even if you feel little sliip-ups at times, is a huge accomplishment! Look at yourself in the mirror daily and remind yourself of the impact you make on so many people, I hope it makes you smile. 🙂


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