Lauren Fleshman, 2006 and 2010 U.S. 5000 meter champion, Picky Bar Co-founder, wife, new mother, Oiselle muse and all around superstar, walked the runway for Oiselle during the 2013 NOLCHA Fashion Week looking like this:
Pretty awesome for anyone but super awesome considering she was 3 months post-partum. Last week Lauren wrote a blog post about how she doesn’t always look like this and she shared some not-so-flattering photos taken of her during the same week (if you haven’t read her blog post, please do so, it worth the 3 minutes it’ll take to read it). In her words, “[n]ever take the photos you see on magazine covers or online too seriously. Everyone has thigh cheese. It’s part of life. Nobody is perfect.”
As many of you know I struggle with weight and body image issues. The word is struggle, some days I do better than others. During my current post-A race funk I’ve been having a lot of tough days. I am having a very hard time accepting my body. Sometimes all I can think about is the size of my hips, the sag in my stomach, the flab on my arms and the ever increasing number on the scale. Body mass and self esteem become intertwined and I’m a pretty miserable person to be around (just ask Shaun). In this state I find Lauren’s massage to be very inspiring but it is also a message that’s tough to hear. As imperfect as Lauren (and Lauren’s body) may be to her, when I look at Lauren I see a model of what the athletic female body should look like — small hips, powerful legs, flat stomach and defined arms. Even when I look at Lauren’s not-so-flattering pictures, I can’t help but compare how far away I am from what is considered imperfection (talk about a sentence written in the passive voice).
As much as it is wonderful to hear amazing women like Lauren say that her body isn’t perfect, acceptance of your body dosn’t come from a picture in a magazine or on the internet. Acceptance of your body comes from within, it is a solo journey and one that I’m still struggling to make.