Up With the Sun

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I went on my first week-day AM run in AGES!  It felt so good to wake up with the sun and get my workout out of the way.

 

Before I left, I had my pre-run snack (gotta fuel up!):

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I did a 5.0 mile loop in 55 minutes.  I burned approximately 400 calories (80 calories/mile).  I really, really miss my heart rate monitor.  The Polar service center better fix it and mail it back to me ASAP!

 

I intended to do 4.0 miles, but I was totally in the zone and missed the turn-around point completely.  By the time I realized what had happened, I was halfway to the 5.0-mile turn-around point and figured I should keep going!

 

Unfortunately, my right knee  gave me some trouble — literally, I can sometimes feel my patella grating.  It doesn’t feel very good! I stopped about twice to walk it out and stretch, and then I seemed to be OK. But, this is a sign that I should NOT run tomorrow and need to do cross-training instead.

 

I came home and made a ginormous bowl of oatmeal.

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I made my oatmeal with 3/4 cup oatmeal instead of 1/2 cup oatmeal due to my 400-calorie burn.

 

The toppings were literally overflowing!  HOLY YUM!

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My oatmeal contained:

 

  • 3/4 cup oatmeal
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 sliced banana
  • Toppings:  Sprinkle of Grape Nuts, sprinkle of brown sugar, 6 blackberries, tablespoon of sliced almonds.

 

Again – perfection in a bowl!

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Musings From a Glowing Bride

 

So, you probably wouldn’t be surprised to learn that I’m addicted to online wedding forms (like WeddingBook through Facebook).  I love reading about other people’s wedding woes, ideas, and recaps.

 

There was one post a while back in which a girl questioned whether she was "too fat" to buy a wedding dress.  Apparently, her "friend" told her that as a size 20, she shouldn’t get a wedding dress and should just wear a pantsuit.  Of course, the forum community erupted in anger at this so-called friend and told the bride that all women deserve to wear a wedding dress on their big day, no matter what their size.  They also recommended plus-size bridal boutiques to visit.

 

A week later, the bride came back and posted photographs of herself in the wedding dress she ended up purchasing!  She looked BEAUTIFUL, very happy and positively glowing!

 

I was thinking about our (and when I say "our," I mean our culture’s) obsession with looking "perfect" on your wedding day.  I can’t tell you how many girls have written on the forums about crazy crash diets or the "best" weight-loss pill

 

Of course, I understand our desire to look our best on our wedding day — but the size 20 bride PROVES that it’s not your physical appearance that counts, but its the glow that shines from within, a reflection of your happiness and love.  Corny, but true.

 

On my run today, I was mulling over the fact that I can’t really remember the last time I thought negatively about my body.  Truly.  Even when the dressmaker told me I needed to drop 5 lbs. to fit into my dress without alterations, I didn’t feel *bad* about myself.  It’s almost surprising to me, because even a year ago (at goal weight), I would stand in front of the mirror and pinch my sides or crunch up my tummy and criticize.  And suddenly… I just DON’T ENGAGE in that kind of behavior anymore.

 

How did I get here?, I asked myself this AM.  After all, for so many years I just WISHED and PRAYED that I could be happy with myself, that I could fuel my body in a healthy way and respect myself enough to indulge like a woman should without feeling guilty. I reached this point by refusing to focus on my physical appearance, and switching my focus to running races and setting new personal records.  I stopped thinking of myself in terms of how good or bad I looked, and I began to think about how STRONG I was or how FAST I was becoming. 

 

For a while, I had to "remind" myself to think this way.  I nipped negative thoughts in the bud before they could grow into a full-blown self criticism.  I repeated healthy mantras.  And then suddenly… my conscious thought choices actually became my unconscious thoughts!

 

I’ve never been happier.  I finally got out of my own way. I truly love my body, my life, my health. 

 

How do you view your body?  Have you switched your mentality?  Are you trying to learn healthier behaviors?  What’s worked and what hasn’t work for YOU?

{ 35 comments }

 

  • sloank December 18, 2008, 7:04 am

    Wow Caitlin, you’re so inspiring!! I have to say, I have struggled with self image for a very long time and you make me feel so much better about it! I agree, I can start feeling those negative thoughts floating away with the more and more I train and increase my mileage. I still wonder if I will ever truly feel happy with myself and not worry over my body. You make me feel like that IS possible! I love your outlook! And I agree, brides, no matter the size, always look absolutely amazing in their dresses! It’s just the big huge smile it puts on your face!!

  • Anonymous December 18, 2008, 7:08 am

    I am finally in the same place as you are. I like my body, especially how Im strong as opposed to just thin. I love being able to life heavy weights!!! I also love my curves and now actually worry that my curves are going away rather than trying to get rid of them. There are a few areas Im not thrilled with but overall I feel very good about what I see in the mirror. And I could care LESS about what the scale says. Somehow I keep getting in better shape and the scale keeps going up (muscle?) so I have learned that the scale means ZERO. Good for you Caitlin for also being happy with your body! It is such a waste of time not to be.

    Stephanie

  • Lyss December 18, 2008, 7:08 am

    Your post this morning literally made me cry while reading it. You have no idea how badly I wish I could feel the same way as you do. Even though, at 5’5 and 108 pounds, I know that I am ANYTHING but fat, I can’t shake the feeling that I need to lose weight/firm up/change SOMETHING about my body, especially now that I’m getting married. I’m terrified of looking at pictures of myself on my wedding day and hating how I look. I wish I had your strength.

  • jenngirl December 18, 2008, 7:10 am

    Caitlin, this is the NUMBER ONE reason I read your blog (other than you are so fun!). You do have such a healthy body image, and it is very obvious that you do not engage in negative behaviors/thoughts. I admire you so much, and I thank you for always being open and honest.

    Currently, I am working on my body image. I have days where I am proud of my body, and I feel healthy and strong, but other days are not so great, and I can find more than a few things wrong. I like your idea of setting goals, I think that definitely helps to shift the focus from physical appearance. Again, I commend you and thank you so much for your positive influence, it means a lot.

    Delicious oatmeal this morning by the way šŸ˜‰

  • Caitlin (see bride run) December 18, 2008, 7:16 am

    sloank- ROCK ON!!! positive body image is a process, and it sounds like you are well on your way to true happiness. and congrats on increasing you miles!

    lyss- aww honey. the point of the post is YOU CAN feel this way. ANYONE can. it just has to be a conscious choice at some point to change your thinking. it’s all in your head, after all. šŸ™‚ you are beautiful and i know you will glow from the INSIDE OUT on your wedding day!

    stephanie – major kudos!! letting go of the scale was a big step for me too. what’s in a number??? certainly NOT my happiness or self-worth!

    jenngirl – thank you thank you!! its a path well worth the journey, trust me! xoxo

  • Tami December 18, 2008, 7:16 am

    my legs. i just can’t be happy with them…drives me crazy. but i love my arms and my wasit is slimming down but my legs….i am so strong, physically and mentally so it surprises me that it even bothers me (which bothers me even more)

    i am jealous of your run outside today. it’s 20 here in NH, a foot of snow is on it’s way for tomorrow and MORe snow on Sunday, a white xmas for sure next week.

  • Meghann December 18, 2008, 7:23 am

    Great morning musings!

    I feel the same way. I can’t remember the last time I looked in a mirror and thought bad about myself. My energy has been focused to new goals, that make body image seem less important. Its amazing to think how far we’ve come.

    I stepped on the scale at Publix yesterday and noticed I was a couple of pounds less then I would like. I was actually thinking I need to eat a little extra to make sure the weight doesn’t drop anymore. I never in my life thought I would ever be able to think that to myself. I’m so confortable and happy with my body right now I don’t want any changes to come from it.

    And granted there are still some pictures out there where I don’t look my best and the words “I look fat’ come out of my mouth, but in the back of my head I will always know that’s not true. I think its just a reaction I have been trained to say to others. The so called fat pictures don’t even bother me becuase I know how good I look and thats all that matters.

  • Caitlin (see bride run) December 18, 2008, 7:26 am

    meghann- interesting thoughts on the knee jerk reaction of “i look fat” when looking at pictures. i agree its something that women have been ‘trained’ to say. what’s up with that?! i HATE fat talk. i don’t think i do it too much anymore, or at all, but i know i will never fat talk in front of my children, that’s for sure!!

    you are hot, anyways!!

  • Amanda December 18, 2008, 7:27 am

    Thanks so much for this great post!! I am really working to feel the same way that you do. Being a perfectionist and struggling with eating issues for a while now, I find it really hard to just accept my body as is and not feel like I should be making some “improvement”. I can say that while training for my race I started to focus on the strength of my body instead of just trying to be thin. I am going to start to make a more conscious effort again .. starting today šŸ™‚

  • girlrunningaround December 18, 2008, 7:31 am

    First of all, I love blackberries. Your posts with them look so good!

    Second, great run today!

    Third, “it’s not your physical appearance that counts, but its the glow that shines from within, a reflection of your happiness and love.” I could not agree more with that statement. I didn’t lose the weight I wanted to before my wedding, but I do not remember one point that day even thinking about it. All I could do was smile, and it didn’t matter what size I was, I was so happy I looked even better than I could have 10 pounds lighter.

    Finally, I love that you share your triumphs and struggles here. So many women go thru the same things, it’s nice to have a forum to talk about it.

    Happy Thursday!

  • Catherine December 18, 2008, 7:59 am

    I absolutely 100% love my body. I used to think of myself in very unhealthy ways, seeing fat where there was none, thinking that I’d be “happier” if I looked different, etc. Last year I made the decision to treat my body right and start saying positive things about myself. Every time I looked in the mirror I would say something positive about myself and nipped the urge to criticize in the bud. Now I don’t even have to work at it – I look at myself and smile and feel good. Running is no longer a burden to look good, it’s a fun way to relieve stress and I relish in my improved strength and speed like you.

  • Justine December 18, 2008, 8:02 am

    Yay for the AM run! Morning runs are so great šŸ™‚ I thoroughly enjoyed mine yesterday morning…especially since I’m back home in Ohio now and that means its freezing/icy/snowy and I may not get many outdoor runs in. Dreadmill, here I come…

    This is a great post! I know that I’ve come a long way since I started working out consistently about 4-5 years ago. At first it was just to “lose a little weight” even though I wasn’t considered overweight. Slowly, my focus has changed and the goal is to treat my body well so that I can live a long, healthy, happy life.

  • laughinglindsay December 18, 2008, 8:12 am

    Hey Caitlin! I love reading your blog and had to chime in this time.
    I LOVE this post. I am in the middle of changing my own thought process about my body. It’s SO important for us as women to not buy into what others define as perfection. Your advice is so valuable and encouraging. I love the idea of concentrating on how strong I am and how I can reach physical goals with this body. You’re a genius!
    This is such a tough concept to master and I admire you so much for not only your strength but for also sharing these ideas with us.
    YOU GO GIRL!!

  • Amy December 18, 2008, 8:25 am

    Thank you for such an uplifting, positive post!

    Like you, I have recently come to a place where I am grateful for my body. A former slave to the scale, I cannot remember the last time I weighed myself. I am also a runner and feel happy every time I can complete a run. I love my body!

  • leslie December 18, 2008, 8:31 am

    This post was amazing! I hope to get there someday. I work in fashion, so I am constantly surrounded by tiny girls starving themselves to fit into size zeros. I have to remind myself daily of how far I’ve come from behaving that way to learning to be healthy. I always tell myself how great it feels to have the fuel, the energy, and the strength to run for miles and miles. Plus, I would way rather have a hot athletic body than have my bones sticking out. It’s so great to read stories like yours and think that someday it’ll be natural for me to think that way too!

    Thanks for always being so inspiring. šŸ™‚

  • Ash December 18, 2008, 8:46 am

    I struggle every single day with body image. I have been diagnosed with body dysmorphic disorder in the past, but actively fight it. One day I hope to have as positive of a body image as you do!

  • Mica December 18, 2008, 9:15 am

    Your attitude change is so inspiring, as is your entire blog!

    I LOVE the idea of simply focusing on physical achievements (like running)and good, healthy eating instead of a perfect body. I’m trying to get there now–but man, I need to learn to cook!

    (On a less important note, the idea of a patella grating gives me the heebie jeebies.)

  • tfh December 18, 2008, 9:16 am

    I love my body, too, and it has a lot to do with feeling like a lovable and worthwhile person on the inside– that whatever happens to me externally, I am still the same ME and the people I choose to have in my life aren’t going to treat me differently! Hooray for self-love!

  • Balance, Joy and Delicias! December 18, 2008, 9:22 am

    Such a great post! You’re really inspiring!!! And i’m so happy that you reached to this point without even noticing it! I hope every woman in this earth could feel this way someday!

    I’ve noticed that my self criticism to my look/body have been less frequent as well. When I overeat or get lazy for a workout, instead of feeling guilty, I said to myself: meh~ wokrout! meh~ overeats! I’m human, i’m not perfect and that’s a not perfect human do.
    And I agree on that we should focus on being healthy and strong, instead of thin and pretty!
    As we aged, I think we begin to love ourselves more, in a wiser way!

    Love this post! (x2) šŸ˜€

  • Anonymous December 18, 2008, 9:59 am

    I noticed this post is almost exactly like the Fitnessista’s post about loving your body. A lot of your blog is based on other people’s. Boring.

  • Caitlin (see bride run) December 18, 2008, 10:02 am

    Anon – Normally I delete negative comments like yours, but I think I’d rather leave it up so everyone can see how pathetic you are. Get a life.

  • eatingbender December 18, 2008, 10:03 am

    My comment may not have shown up the first time, but I apologize if it’s a duplicate! I just wanted to say that you never cease to amaze me with the topics and thoughtfulness in each of your posts. It is inspiring to read that you are at such a happy place with your self-image, and while I’m not quite there yet, it’s helpful to know that it IS possible and hopefully someday I can comment on another one of your posts and say “I’m there” and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about :o)

  • Kristina December 18, 2008, 10:09 am

    Thank you so much for this post! You are so inspiring, I wish that I can someday think like you!

    I’ve struggled with my body image for as long as I can remember. Sometimes it’s hard as hell to get those negative thoughts out of your head but since reading your post this morning, I think I’m going to try even harder to think positive about my body!

    Have a great day! šŸ™‚

  • Bridget December 18, 2008, 10:42 am

    Caitlin, thanks for the inspiring words! I love your outlook and hope to reach that point someday, too. Thanks for keeping the positive thoughts coming!!

  • erin December 18, 2008, 10:44 am

    caitlin
    delurking to say, this is exactly why you are on my daily list of blogs i read- i never could put my finger on exactly why i stayed attracted to your site- but now I know that it’s because you exude that self confidence in your body, your life and your choices. I am working on loving the body i’m in. I am by no means fat, I look pretty good actually. I’ve been struggling with the last 3-5 lbs I will do really well- and something will trigger me and I’ll binge on cookies or ice cream and gain the lbs back. I am doing a LOT better since RECOGNIZING the problem- but I also gain inspiration from sites like yours and if I stick with like minded people the negative gradually melts into the background and eventually is no longer a part of my reality.
    Thanks again

  • Caitlin (see bride run) December 18, 2008, 10:47 am

    erin – thanks so much for posting that, and good luck on your journey!!!

  • Marathon Maritza December 18, 2008, 12:15 pm

    What a great thought process…I couldn’t agree more. Of course, that is easy for me to say, but much harder to practice. But you’ve inspired me to work on it!

    (P.S. After seeing so many brussel sprouts on your blog, I finally tried them a few weeks back, when I noticed them on sale at my grocery store…have had them once a week every since!!!)

  • Colleen December 18, 2008, 1:20 pm

    That’s unfortunate what anonymous had to post on here…I would rather click from blog to blog reading happy self-love stuff any day!

    You are beautiful inside and out! šŸ™‚

  • eyesonthehorizon December 18, 2008, 3:07 pm

    your post gave me goosebumps! I have always struggled with my body image as I think most women do. I am getting better though and realizing that there is so much more to life than looks. As long as I can stay strong and run, I will be happy!

    btw those sweet potato burgers look fantastic, i am going to have to try those!

  • Sarah December 18, 2008, 5:57 pm

    Caitlin, I literally got chills as I read your post.

    Its as if you were speaking to me when you said, “I stopped thinking of myself in terms of how good or bad I looked, and I began to think about how STRONG I was or how FAST I was becoming.”

    I’m working to overcome an eight year battle with ed, and have recently taken up long distance running, competing in my first half in a couple weeks. I cannot verbalize to those around me why this is my new passion, but now you’ve done it for me =)

    God bless and keep up the good work!

  • Caitlin (see bride run) December 18, 2008, 6:32 pm

    sarah – rock on!! im happy to hear about your new love for running šŸ™‚

  • HangryPants December 18, 2008, 7:12 pm

    Fantastic post, Caitlin.

    I think for me it’s hard not to compare myself to other people or the way I used to be (when I was sorta unnaturally skinny for me). Like Meghann, I find myself thinking “I look fat” even though I know I am not actually fat. It’s hard to come to a place of self acceptance, but I just try to focus on being happy and all the things I can do. I could find a million things to hate about myself, but why bother? The other thing is to be around people who are not always being negative about themselves!!!

  • Anonymous December 19, 2008, 6:05 am

    I want to see Veggiegirl commenting on this post

  • Gar December 19, 2008, 3:08 pm

    i think this topic is so prevalent because it continues to exist time after time. Females are pressured to pay attention to their body image. Yes, some may justify that it’s up to you to decide how you view your body, but it’s easier sad than done, right? I never thought I’d be so self-conscious of my body and it all begin with a statement made by my aunt and everything just went downhill. Words can have such positive/negative impact on the human mind. I’m still struggling to feel good about myself. Currently, it’s mostly downers. I try to fight it off. I fuel myself with whole foods, not go on extreme diets (I can’t because I get low sugar level very easily) and stay active. It’s nice to read other people’s encouragement and comments. It makes you feel not as alone.

  • Elina December 22, 2008, 8:41 pm

    Caitlin, I know this is kind of an older post, but I just have to tell you how amazing and inspiring you are! This is such a great attitude and I really hope that one day I get there. Right now my self-image depends on the day, but the healthier I am and the more I exercise the better I feel about myself. It’s nice to treat your body the way it deserves to be treated – with respect and kindness! You are awesome!!!! šŸ˜€

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