Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Fending Off Negative Feelings

March 24, 2010 by  
Filed under Fitness

What a weekend! MizFit, Marsha, YumYucky and I spoke on a body image panel at Fitbloggin in Baltimore this past weekend.

(Were you there?! If so, let us know — and thank you for coming; it was a blast!!)

Fitbloggin was a fitness/wellness blogger conference organized by Roni, and it was an amazing time!!

Seriously, a wonderful experience and so nice to meet Marsha and YumYucky, and to see MizFit and Roni again (I met them at a blogger meet-up in Chicago in ’08).

Anyway, though we didn’t have a huge turnout at our break-out session (our time slot had us up against book authors) it was an intimate and engaged crowd and an overall awesome experience.

Our topic was body image and blogging: what are we teaching our kids.

But today I’m not here to talk at length about our panel discussion (more on that in another post later). I’m here to talk about the day from a personal perspective and how it relates to our blog’s topic.

I’m pretty sure it goes without saying that probably everyone has days where they feel better about themselves than others. As someone about to speak on a body image panel, you definitely want to be having the kind of day where you are feeling good about yourself.

Yet when I woke up Saturday, I’ll be honest … in spite of being stoked for the conference and to meet all the other bloggers, I felt pretty unsettled for a couple reasons.

First, though I am a PR professional in real life and love to talk, I am not a fan of public speaking. I do it for practice when the opportunity arises, but it makes my stomach twist into knots.

Then in addition to being nervous/anxious about my first panel experience, I was feeling pretty uncomfortable and self-conscious in my own skin, especially after weeks of being out of my eating and exercise routine.

I hemmed and hawed over clothing choices and settled on one of my go-to confidence-boosting ensembles (my fave jeans, a fitted black jacket and a cute black T, boots) … but even that wasn’t helping my mental state at the moment. I know I don’t look  or feel my best right now, and I found myself psyching myself out on the drive from Annapolis to Baltimore.

All of a sudden, the thought of being at a fitness conference — with all these fit, healthy bloggers — had me in knots. I hate to admit it, but I started second-guessing myself and felt the ugly comparison monster coming out to play. I hated her, and hated myself for feeling her coming out … I wanted to be better than that … wanted the ability to trump her and say “Go away!”

But I was feeling weak that morning. Hell, I even snapped at my parents when they happened to call to wish me good luck … it was terrible. I just was feeling body-conscious and then guilty/ashamed of feeling that way, period — recognizing how ridiculous it is.

So when I got to the hotel, I started rationalizing that much of this fear was in my head and that I was here for a reason, and needed to jolt some confidence into my head.

I swiped a little lip gloss in the ladies’ room, fixed my hair, and then started talking to myself — telling myself that I CAN do this; that I am here because I want to be here. And I told myself that I could either wallow in my misery or use my experiences to help other people.

Somehow that little self-talk was just what I needed to snap out of my funk.

I hit up the registration table, got my speaker name-badge and swag bag (amazing stuff, BTW!), and never looked back. When I got into the main conference room, there were 200 men and women in there.

What was I so afraid of?!

I’d been judgmental and assumed (incorrectly) that everyone would look a certain way and I’d be the odd woman out … but the truth is, there men and women of all different shapes and sizes and colors, all there for a kick-ass fitness blogging conference.

I’m sharing this story today because even after all the talk we do here about trying not to compare ourselves to others, to love ourselves as we are it’s not always easy to do … and, right or wrong, it’s human nature to compare ourselves to others. Sometimes it can be a good thing … but sometimes the fear of the unknown can psych us out.

What I discovered from this experience is that we DO have the power within us to trump our own “comparison monsters.” Sometimes all it requires is a shift of focus.

Once I was able to get past  the  negative feelings dancing in my head, I was able to relax and enjoy the day. And it was an amazing day! Thank you again, Roni, for organizing FitBloggin’!

How about you? How do you deal with uncomfortable body image days? Does self-talk work for you?

Comments

No Responses to “Fending Off Negative Feelings”
  1. Deb says:

    I was there and loved the session! (I had the family that wanted me to have a smaller waist…). The entire conference made me feel bad about my body… And all I could do was fling on a t-shirt and carry on.

    when the poor body stuff comes up that’s my fall back – hang the slightly looser fitting clothes on. I know they usually make me look “bigger” – but I’m not reminded of the flaws in my size.

    • lissa10279 says:

      Deb so glad to hear you loved it!! I remember you 🙂 I am so sorry you felt bad about your body – that certainly wasn’t the intent of the conference!

  2. Rita says:

    It depends on the situation for me, if I were at a fitness conference, I would probably feel inadequate.

    I’ve been pondering this a lot last year, how to heal it and self talk out of it too. I’m getting my personal trainer certification and part of the reason for doing it was not only b/c I love fitness, etc. etc but it was terrifying. As a former obese person to go to school with people who have no idea what an extra 20lbs is let alone 90+ is a frightening proposition.

    But I wanted to do it because it’s scary and because it makes me feel uncomfortable. I think that those feelings are sometimes things we should walk towards instead of away from. Those moments give us the opportunity to heal and learn and realize that we can overcome and do it in grand style.

    Thank you for sharing that, as I’m sure that everyone there thought you looked marvelous and confident!

    • lissa10279 says:

      Rita, I’m with you — I do things like this (public speaking) because it makes me uncomfortable and sometimes that is a good thing.

      My pleasure–and thanks 🙂

  3. Ashley says:

    Am I a freak to say that I don’t have bad moments with my body image? I mean, I used to, but not anymore.

  4. Candice says:

    I had a friend in grad school who was so remarkably confident and seemed to have no issue what-so-ever that she was a plus-size woman walking into a classroom of judgmental college freshman (we were both in the teaching program). I learned a lot just from observing her and how she handled herself. I was always pretty comfortable with public speaking, but would always have thoughts in my head about what people were thinking about my size.

    These days, with the extra blood flow from pregnancy, my face actually gets bright red any time I speak in class. LOL I’m not uncomfortable speaking in class at all (I can be hard to shut up, actually) but now it looks like I am b/c I turn beet red. It’s been a funny twist – now I worry that everyone thinks I’m self-conscious when I’m really not.

    • Candice says:

      Forgot to add – in particular, I have always been extremely self-conscious about walking into rooms. I developed a habit of being early for many things simply so I’d be there before most everyone else and not have to have a room full of people look at me as I walked in.

      • lissa10279 says:

        Aw, that’s tough, Candice! Esp. if it’s not about being uncomfortable but rather just pregnant!

        Funny you mention that … I used to do that, too — or have to go to walk in with someone else I knew first …

        I really think confidence is something some people are blessed with and others have to work for. I admire people who walk into a room, head held high, with no social anxiety whatsoever. For as social as I am, I’m often shy when I meet new people and I worry it comes off as being standoffish, so I’ve tried to be better about that.

        • Candice says:

          Like many shy people, I found out years after high school that people thought I was a bitch because I appeared standoffish…. when in reality I was sitting there entirely certain no one would ever want to talk to me so I didn’t bother trying. The head games we play on ourselves can be amazing. So thankful for reflection and growth.

          That friend’s key phrase was “Fake it till ya make it.” I think about that all the time now.

  5. mamaV says:

    Hi Lissa: I wish I could have been there with you…I would have dragged you into the bar for a few beers to loosen up 😉

    This is a very interesting, insightful post. You are very good at analyzing your thoughts, working through them, and trying to pull a learning lesson out of them.

    I think everything was amplifyed by the fact that you had to get up in front of people, its not like just walking around at a conference, you are on stage, and truth be told, we judge. Totally nerve wracking.

    Plus you were meeting people you know from blogs and that is scary because face to face is totally different.

    I remember when I spoke at BlogHer, I wasn’t nervous, just excited, and I was really sweaty…. and felt gross. My skin was broken out and it left me a bit self conscience. My battle is I am always fighting with the “she was a model?!?” stuff, I mean come on, I am forty, am I forever to get looked at from that standpoint!!? I wish I could hide that part of my life again, but its out so I am stuck with it.

    Bottomline, we are all our worst critics. But the most courageous of us are able to admit 🙂
    mV

  6. Denise says:

    I was at your FitBloggin session and would never have guessed you had all of that going on inside you because you projected calm, poise, and empathy…just what I needed as I was dealing with my feelings of inadequacy in the face of all the pretty, thin, YOUNG things at the conference. I hope to one day not always feel like the odd one out but the weight and the binge eating and now my age (42) are all working against me. *sigh*

  7. Nats says:

    Popped into the fitbloggin conference cocktail evening, met Marsha, which was brilliant!!! Also met Carla too which was great! Didnt get to hear your speech but I heard it went brilliant!!

    Nats

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