Image Consciousness

Warning: Streams of Consciousness Ahead; Author is blogging
before bed after a long day, Thoughts may be jumbled.

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     When I woke up yesterday afternoon and weighed myself, I was 142 lbs. I was kind of happy about it and felt I deserved some hard won take out pizza. (Papa John’s 3 Cheese, if anyone cares) I posted about this on Facebook, along with debating whether or not it was “worth it” to get said pizza. Among the comments I got was one from a friend (straight, male) which inferred that I am already “sexy”. The intention behind this was all positive, I assure you, he’s a pretty solid friend (and I hope I’m not making you feel bad by discussing it in my blog, I actually want to thank you for bringing up an important topic). However, as well meaning as he was, it made me start thinking –

  • What is really motivating me to be on this diet? Am I in it for health reasons or something else? Can’t I have multiple motivators? Is my motivation any different now than it was at any time when I tried to do the gym thing before?
  • Does it matter whether someone else finds me physically attractive? Is it inherently anti-feminist to feel good about a non-skeevy compliment like this? Should I even give my boyfriend any influence on how I look – I obviously want *him* to find my attractive?
  • Do I care about how I look? Is there something wrong about admitting that I care? Does that make me shallow or vain now?

Then, after admitting to myself that, yes, I am partially motivated by wanting a particular image, my mind wandered even more –

  • In 2012 when the boyfriend wanted me to go to the gym with him (and yes, saying I could be “more toned”), I stubbornly refused (and was moderately offended, because I already felt I looked good, wtf?). So why did I start going to the gym pretty hardcore last year (I mean, I was doing the personal trainer thing, I thought that was hardcore. For a woman that nearly flunked PE in High School, that was hardcore).  How much of that was me and how much was because of a one time off-hand comment? Does the fact that I even remember the comment signify that it carried any weight (no pun intended)?
  • A large part of my motivation was general health – wanting to avoid health issues my parents have and realizing I had a more sedentary life that I’d had in 2012 (I did tell my trainer that I was mostly just working off my pizza addiction since I wasn’t doing it at work anymore). Is this considered wanting to lose weight? Or maintain it?
  • In reality, a large part of my motivation was fangirling over Stephen Amell as Green Arrow and wanting to emulate him (I never did finish that series on emulation I meant to do a few years back, did I?). Watching Oliver Queen work a salmon ladder over and over and watching Amell’s personal workout videos on Facebook really kind of made me want to be badass like him. I wore his “Fuck Cancer” tshirt to the gym a lot of the time and bought the Arrow soundtrack to listen to.

  • Then last year, I also got my Lammily doll, which sent me on my dolly craze. And I got pulled into internet battles over whether or not dolls contributed to body image issues. Of course I’m going to fully defend and champion my precious Lammily! I don’t know how much dolls influence these things, but if there is a chance she can help some kids, isn’t that a good thing? And what is wrong with some dolly diversity?
  • Is it possible that I’ve been influenced myself this past year from all the dolls and all of these things I’ve been made aware of because of this new found hobby? Even if that were the case, why would that be any more shameful or wrong than admitting I was driven to the gym because I wanted to emulate a comic hero?
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The day Stephen Amell actually responded to one of my comments and gave me encouragement. Made me feel a bit self-defeated when I needed to quit going to the gym due to too many other things going on in life that needed my attention. Still need to reach that pull-up goal. 

I really don’t know. It’s likely a mix of everything, honestly. At the end of the day, though, whatever my motivations, I am making a decision about my life and my body because it is what I want. As long as I am comfortable with and feel good about myself, that is all that matters.

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Analytic Data is Sexy

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When I was a little girl, my mother would workout in front of the TV with Denise Austin. I used to join her, mostly because I wanted to do whatever my Mommy was doing.

As I sit here and type this, I am being distracted by the sensation of my arms pulsing and vibrating. In what was probably a bad decision on my part, I splurged on an electric muscle stimulation (EMS) device. Like the name suggests, the device uses electric impulses to work your muscles. It is by no means a weight loss tool, but these devices have been shown to tone muscle, which is what I am going for. I’ve currently got electrodes fixed on my triceps in an added effort to stave off floppy bat-wing arms. I’m fully aware that I may have just wasted my money. But, it does feel pretty cool regardless.

 

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FYI: Thin wheat crust = 640 calories; 1/2 cup of sauce = 35 calories; 3/4 cup of cheese to barely cover the pizza = 270 calories. Total = 945 calories. Daily allotment is 1,200-1,300.

For most of my life, I have gone through periods where I at least make attempts to be healthier. These don’t always last and I usually fall victim to cliche excuses like lack of time, lack of money, or just really missing pizza. While the main idea is to just generally be healthier, I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I do care just a little bit about how I look. Thus, I have buzzing arms. I also enjoy the fact that this allows me to multi-task.

 

One of my fellow bloggers that I really enjoyed reading (and I’m curious for updates, as life seems to have sucked her into the abyss as well) is Claudia Bette. For awhile she was doing the diet and exercise thing and was posting charts tracking her progress. This has is something I would also like to do because, well, analytic data is hot. This is why gizmos like FitBits are so freaking cool. I kind of want one. But, I already have a heart rate monitor and a pedometer and I spent my extra money on this Compex instead. The EMS is only one part of the picture. I’m also attempting to diet and I went in this morning to re-join the gym. I’ve been keeping track of my daily basal metabolic rate or BMR (these are the calories your body burns each day just keeping you alive), starting weight for each day, the foods that I eat and the number of calories I consume. After all, the idea is to burn more calories than are consumed. However, there is a caloric minimum needed to avoid going into “starvation mode”, which the internet cannot seem to definitively confirm or deny. So, my goal each day is to fall somewhere between that minimum and my BMR. This is a lot harder than it seems. Perhaps after I have been doing this for another week or so, I will create my own pretty data art.