There’s a movement in the fitness blogging world this week called #Exposed and it was started by a blogger named Michelle who lives in Australia. The premise of the movement is to encourage people to post a picture of themselves in a bathing suit or underwear or some variation thereof to force them to focus on all the great things their bodies can do and to cut down on the negative self-talk that so many of us are guilty of doing on a regular basis.
One of my favorite bloggers, Emily over at Authentically Emmie, posted her #Exposed entry and my head basically exploded with how amazing and powerful and brave it was. I was borderline beside myself when I read it and saw her pictures. She is wearing a BATHING SUIT on the INTERNET. Not from far away. Like, close up. And she’s SMILING? Perish the thought! I almost had a panic attack at the thought of joining the movement.
Why? Well, in addition to the fact that um, I’d basically die if a half naked picture of me* ever existed on the internet (*post-2005. I’m not responsible for anything I did in college in 2005 that is on the internet. That’s a rule that I just made up.), I realized that the hardest part of the entire thing for me would be to talk about my body in a positive way. And that’s pathetic, quite frankly.
The other #Exposed posts have pictures with captions on them that say things like “These legs powered me through 2 half marathons and a triathlon!” or “This belly carried 3 babies” or “These arms can do big girl push ups!” All of those things are awesome, and I love that the bloggers posted them. What went through my mind when I tried to think of good things about my body?
“My wrists are really skinny. They’re like baby wrists.”
“My hair is very shiny and I don’t have to color it.”
“My thighs don’t touch.”
Do you see what’s wrong with that? In addition to the fact that there aren’t very many of them, all of those statements are about how my body physically looks. Until I read everyone else’s posts, it didn’t even occur to me to say things like “These arms can hold crow pose in yoga class” or “These quads have helped me run 41 marathons” or “My abs have gotten so much stronger thanks to barre and now I have better posture.”
See, as much as I feel like other people’s accomplishments and achievements should be celebrated no matter what size they are, I can’t seem to extend myself the same courtesy. Those quads have let me run 41 marathons? Who cares, most of them were slow. My arms can hold crow pose in yoga class? What difference does that make – my shoulders are so defined that I look like a football player (in my mind. Don’t bother disputing this.). It’s a ridiculous, exhausting cycle.
I’m not going to post a picture of myself in a bathing suit. I’m not in a place where I feel like I can do that yet. Also, I’m in a fantasy football league with all guys and AJ pointed out that I’d probably never hear the end of it if I did. I digress. This year, my participation in the #Exposed movement extends to exposing my feelings about myself and my body. One of the things I’ve liked best about reading everyone’s posts so far is reading the posts of people who have been participating in the movement for several years. They talk about how much they’ve grown and changed in terms of how they view their bodies, regardless of what has happened with their weight since the previous year. I hope that next year, when I participate again, I’ll not only have the courage to post that picture, but I’ll have some good things to say about my body and the things that it can do as well.
For more information on my struggle with body image, check out my Eating Disorder Series if you haven’t already.
LEAVE A COMMENT: I’m curious to hear your thoughts. What do you think of the #Exposed movement? Would you ever consider participating? Do you think this would help someone with self-image problems?