Thursdays Thoughts

When You Don’t Recognize Yourself

thursday thoughts edited

Tuesday, I read a post by Kaella called When You Don’t Recognize Yourself In The Mirror. She talked about how she doesn’t even recognize myself anymore, gained twenty pounds this year, and is not comfortable in her own skin. When I read that, it really struck a chord with me. Over the last two years, I’ve put on over 20 solid pounds. It was something that I was ashamed of and didn’t want to address or acknowledge but seeing Kaella’s post (on top of Ange’s post a while back about going from a size 4 to a 8), it really inspired me to write my own post because I’m sure we are not alone.

Growing up, I always had “thunder thighs.” I swam for around 10 years and my thighs were always huge no matter what I did. Then I transitioned to competitive badminton and long distance running. So I was always active and constantly burning calories (on top of having a teenager’s metabolism). However, I always struggled with my food intake. Being of an Asian background, I was always told that thin was beautiful and that my thighs were on the larger side. It was always an uphill battle and on top of constantly working out, at most, I was only eating what I burnt. It got to the point where I would be crying over the fact that I had only burnt 1000 calories but ate 1100. I literally cried at a restaurant because I was offered french fries and I just “couldn’t have any.” It was ugly and it was a lonely struggle. On the outside, I seemed fine but on the inside, I was falling apart.

However, over the years, I’ve started recovering from my problems. I started eating more and letting go of the idea of only eating what I burned. While dating H, I went from only being able to eat maybe half a plate of food to the whole plate (and then some currently…). I went from 90lbs to 100lbs.

Then in university, my body seemed to have settled on being between 110-120lbs. Understandably, I could not weigh the same as I did at 15 when I was 19. I let it go after a long talk with myself after trying to practically kill every calorie I consumed on the elliptical (this was when I took my break from running). I still had the idea of keeping my weight low but I tried to be “reasonable” with myself.

That was 3 years ago.  When I started running again, I finally gave myself the freedom to consume whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I literally spun out of control. But that was “okay” because I was practically running over 10K on weekdays and 21K on the weekends (um, side note, how I survive this, I do not know). Then I started running with a club and my mileage decreased as my junk miles were cut out. I put on maybe 5lbs or so but I wasn’t too concerned. I was still around 118-120lbs at this point and I was happy eating everything I wanted to.

So how did I go from 120lbs to 140lbs? Well, I got injured. I got injured in both training seasons after my half marathon and the calories consumed no longer evened out with what I was burning. Like Kaella, when I see photos of myself currently, I don’t recognize myself. My cheeks are rounded, my chin looks like I got a double going, my stomach is softer and squishy, and my clothes don’t fit. Thank goodness work has no dress code so wearing sweatpants is a-okay.

I honestly feel uncomfortable. I dislike photos. I worry that if I try to restrain my eating, I’m not strong enough to avoid reverting myself back to my previous ways.

Similar to Kaella, I don’t really know where this post is going. I shot my first vlog yesterday and while editing – I tried to focus on not the parts of my body that I am not a fan of, but instead of focusing on parts of my body that I’m proud of. For example, my “thunder thighs” actually work in my favour when I have to run, swim, or bike – I should not be worrying about one of the strongest part of my body looking big but instead how effective it is. I just wanted to share my story alongside Ange and Kaella and to let people know that you’re not alone. There is no shame in gaining weight. While it is difficult to accept my body, I’m working on accepting me for me. That’s all.

QOTD: What have you been struggling with lately?


Major props to these strong ladies for sharing their thoughts of this issue – links to connect with them is below!

Kaella: Blog Twitter

Ange: Blog Twitter

Other places to connect with me
Follow on Bloglovin

Linking up this post with Amanda from Running with Spoons for Thinking Out Loud Thursday.

18 thoughts on “When You Don’t Recognize Yourself

  1. Thank you for being so open about this. My weight has fluctuated so much over the past 10 or so years, and there have been times I don’t like or recognize what I see. I had a baby 2 months ago, so my body is all new territory right now and I’m trying to figure out how to get to a place where I like hwat I see again without going overboard or letting it rule me life. I love how you’re focusing on what you’re proud of – I think that’s a wonderful place to start!

  2. I LOVE that more and more people are coming out and talking about this issue. We shouldn’t be ashamed of the weight gain, we should talk about it and realize other people are in the same boat. Plus, we need to stop valuing ourselves based on a number on a scale. You’re an incredible runner and a wonderful person, that’s way more important than a scale.

  3. I was just thinking about this last week when a coworker posted a picture and I didn’t even recognize that it was me. I’ve put on about 10 pounds since October and in the mirror I think, hey its not that bad. And then I see pictures and know that I am uncomfortable with both. I am just trying to accept it in the mirror, despite none of my clothes fitting and just feeling like crap. Thank you for sharing this, it is exactly what I needed to read!

  4. I can definitely relate to having a hard time adjusting to a fluctuating body since I had to deal with so much of it after coming out of my eating disorder, but SO much of it our heads and isn’t a true reflection of reality. Like I watched through your vlog, and I have no idea what you’re talking about when you mention “thunder thighs” 😛 We’re SO much crueler to ourselves than anyone else would ever be, and we say things to ourselves that we’d never dream of saying to a friend. Self-acceptance and love is a life saver.

  5. Props to you all. I know that I am small now, but I have also had a very fluctuating body weight over the years. I’ve been everywhere from 100-140. And I’ve have 20 lb fluctations over a few months. Regardless of the changes being fast or slow, it sucks to realize that you are in a body that you don’t recognize.

  6. Yep – I’ve gained 10lbs since ironman last year but I’m beginning to be ok with it because it happened because I stopped hating myself & beating myself up with exercise and food restrictions. Big hugs!!

  7. Thank you for your transparency in sharing such a source of struggle for you. Those watershed moments of “I’m not supposed to be in this body” can be so disheartening and destabilizing. Add in the mental aspect and it can be a total mindfuck. Without any advice or insight, all I can say is just be kind to yourself and that I’ll keep you in my thoughts. Best wishes!

  8. Even as a guy I can relate to this. There are times I’ve gotten frustrated with any weight gain, though it had more to do with always being a skinny kid and now as an adult my metabolism just isn’t as kind to me lol

    I’ve learned to deal with it by not letting the bad days outweigh the good ones. Having the tasty but bad for you food is okay once in a while 🙂

    It’s tough to silence that voice in your head sometimes but as you’re doing, learning to accept yourself as you are will certainly lower the volume.

  9. Like you, I put on weight while injured. I try to remind myself that the extra weight is temporary, but yeah, sometimes photos suck because they really do add on pounds. For real. It’s why celebs always pose the same way in every photo. They know which angles make them look slimmer. But I don’t want to be that girl with my arm on my hip in every photo, ya know? Metabolism slows down as we age, there’s no getting around that fact, so it’s not realistic, as you said, to expect to weigh what we did in high school. Here’s to both of us recovering from our injuries and losing those extra pounds the right way.

    • Came back to say that when I was going through a stressful time in my life which caused me to lose my appetite (my stomach was always in knots from stress) I lost 15 pounds and later I was pretty restrictive with my diet to keep the weight off which resulted in some serious vitamin deficiencies (I think) because I’d never experienced anxiety before and all of a sudden I was. And crying a lot. Being too thin was actually affecting my mood and after I stopped being so restrictive and started taking Some vitamins I felt normal again.

  10. great post! it is so important to learn to love your body for what it can do! i used to be ashamed of my thunder thighs and now i embrace them with pride!

  11. It’s really good to acknowledge how you feel about this. The bigger question is, what will you do about it? I have found that I am my healthiest version of myself when training for a half marathon. Having just finished one, I’m honestly concerned that not having to train right now will mean weight gain, which I do not want. Gotta find a good balance 🙂

  12. Thanks for sharing your story, Carmy. It really is helpful to know that I’m not alone in post-injury weight gain and the struggle to focus on the amazing things our bodies can do. For what it’s worth, I think you’re beautiful!

  13. Carmy! Thank you for sharing your story with us! So much of that resonates with me, especially the Asian/thunder thighs part. I used to HATE my legs. It’s only now that society is all about big booty/big thighs that i’m like, YES i look good. It’s pretty sad, but true.
    The other week when I did the video with Huff Post, when I watched it after I was so horrified with how large my shoulders looked. I think they are probably a bit bigger than normal, but it was nothing to freak out about. Everyoneee has their issues, and 99.9999% of the time it’s all in their own head. I think you look awesome, and strong legs are beautiful. Plus you could kick probably anyones ass in a race 😉

  14. My weight is definitely something I’ve struggled with in the past year or so. I used to me really restrictive and early last year I decided to start eating ‘normally’ again, and I went a bit overboard. Turns out that finding that balance between not eating enough and eating too much isn’t that easy.

  15. Gaining weight is one of the hardest things I went through in recovery from an ED. It was hard for me to let go of having a six pack and wanting to look like all the really fit people online, but I realized that it wasn’t healthy for my body. Remember, your weight doesn’t define you. You are a precious creation of God, regardless of number.

  16. Pingback: Why Vulnerability Hurts and Heals Someone With An Eating Disorder

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