T-Rex Exposed

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.

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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.

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You stay classy, college Danielle. OY VEY.

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 Β run 41 marathons” or “My abs have gotten so much stronger thanks to barre and now I have better posture.”

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On second thought, my crow pose looks nothing like this, so never mind. Actually, does ANYONE’S crow pose look like this?

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.Β What do you think of the #Exposed movement? Would you ever consider participating? Do you think this would help someone with self-image problems?

39 thoughts on “T-Rex Exposed

  1. I don’t think I would post a pic like that of myself… but I do agree with the exercise of learning to appreciate and say good things about one’s body. I’m more like you — I would have a hard time saying (i.e., believing) good things about my body. And maybe that’s why I wouldn’t post a pic: it’s hard to imagine exposing myself to the criticism of the world, when I’m already so critical of myself. I like the idea of making that a goal over the next year — to actively appreciate my body, the way it is.

    1. Exactly! I never believe good things about my body and I feel like posting a picture would imply that I do. Maybe next year.

  2. Beautiful, absolutely beautiful post. When I read “…I can’t seem to extend myself the same courtesy,” I just nodded my head in understanding and agreement. Here’s to extending ourselves the same courtesy!

  3. I have found that I am very comfortable posting pictures of myself in (short) running shorts and tight-fitting tech runnign shirts. THAT was a major hurdle for me … but going beyond that would be a struggle.

    I am approximately 200lbs lighter than when I graduated college in 1988, and 110lbs lighter than I was in April 2012 ( I have been <200lbs for most of the last 25 years, previous lightest was ~185 but am now 170-175).

    If you know anything about that sort of weight loss … you know that not ALL of your skin goes along for the ride. So when I look at marathon pictures of myself from last week, as my wife says I am 'all muscle and loose skin'. Um, yeah. Exactly. I am still working on my 'this is skin, not fat' mantra. So maybe next year πŸ™‚

    1. That is some incredible weight loss! You have so much to be proud of. I cannot imagine how challenging (and sometimes disheartening) it would be to lose that much weight and have lingering insecurities about loose skin. I know a lot of people get the surgery to remove it and it is easy to understand why. You are awesome!

  4. I would never ever ever never ever ever post semi-naked pictures of me on the internet. nope, not happening. A running group I belong to on FB thought it would be a great idea for everyone to post pics of their abs one day. (I most definitely did not participate) The more pics I saw the more I hated my own. My stomach is flat, but there’s no ab definition. Oh what it must be like to have a great body image of one’s self.

  5. I am always amazed at the people who think I are absolutely adorable (yes that means you Danielle) who are afraid to let it all hang it.. I am by no means what soceiety sees as the typical beauty but I feel that I must peresrvere through the self doubt because its so exhausting to not love myself and not only that I realized that when I was smaller I still had so many negative things to say about myself and now I just smh and laugh.. life is to short to not be happy and i recently posted a pic of myself wearing a bathing (two piece i might add) and I was proud of myself and yes I was nervous.. so i think the movement is awesome because it shows all body types so I say post on people post on — sorry for ranting..:)

  6. After reading the sample posts, my immediate thought was “these giant thighs have run 2 slow marathons and hundreds of slow miles”. But when I read you saying a very similat thing, I thought ‘she’s being absolutely absurd’. Thanks for the eye-opener.

  7. I think that is the beauty for all of us who have worked our way through body image and food issues. I being one of them. That’s why I started the exposed movement (although it wasn’t a movement when I posted in 2009), because one of the ways in which I found recovery was the celebrate. Even if it meant it was uncomfortable. I think that all of the things that you’ve done are fabulous, I accomplished one 1/2 marathon and that is about all I’ll ever do. The beauty of this journey what you and I are on..is that it is just that…a journey. Thank you for even being brave enough to write what you have. I look forward to seeing your post next year and how it evolves for you. mish xo

  8. You didn’t have to post a picture to let your readers see you exposed and I for one am consistently amazed at how open and honest you are about where you are and how you feel.

    I have great admiration not only for your athletic strength but for your emotional fortitude.

    Evolution comes in many forms, right T-Rex?

  9. I couldn’t post a picture either. Not how I really look in a bikini. I am proud and jealous of how other people are proud of their bodies. Maybe one day I can join them and I am trying hard to make sure my daughter loves her body.

    1. I am afraid to have children because I’m worried I won’t be able to encourage a healthy body image. I really hope I can!

  10. Not even close to being ready to have my body exposed. Of course, this is a person who only ever wore a bikini ONCE when I was 14 and felt weird the whole time. I can’t even stand the racing pictures I have because I look like a linebacker running for the endzone. I do love how the fat rolls are disappearing and my thighs no longer rub together. I am a work in progress, but I’ll leave the exposing to other people.

    I am so very proud of the way you have been able to expose yourself this year. It took a lot of courage to describe your journey to wellness with an eating disorder and do it in a way with both humor and truth – a sorry, I’m not sorry attitude.

    BTW – where is the “Namaste, Bitches”? Or was it copyrighted? πŸ™‚

  11. “Those quads have let me run 41 marathons? Who cares, most of them were slow.” What an AMAZING accomplishment running 41 marathons is. I am in awe at people who run ONE! You inspire people, they have fun, it is AMAZING that you have run that many….slow or not. I think it’s so hard for all of us to see our accomplishments as amazing b/c we are not THE BEST. I do that to myself all the time. I did a duathalon last year and was one of the last 5 people in. And I finally thought “WHO CARES! Do you know how many people couldn’t even THINK about doing one?” I don’t think I’ll ever be able to run a marathon. I think you, and your THIGHS, are amazing b/c you have!!

    1. You are exactly right. I feel like my accomplishments are not that important precisely because I’m not the best and I never well be at marathons or running or anything else. That doesn’t mean they aren’t accomplishments just the same. It’s hard to keep that in perspective!

  12. I could not post that type of photo of myself.

    I probably have what most would consider an average weight, but my body (to me, at least) is oddly misshaped. I have miniature wrists, calves and ankles but the rest of my is all stomach and hips, and it kills me whenever I see it in photos. What always gets me the most is when I look at pictures of College Me, at a time when I thought I was so fat and disgusting, and I am about 50 pounds skinnier than I am now. I don’t even look healthy-skinny, and it’s very jarring to me to see that.

    I really like this post because it you mention a lot of things that I feel when I think about my own body. I think about how my thighs are too chunky, not that these are legs that have been getting ready for half-marathons. I think about how extra weight is keeping me a slow runner, not that I’ve been gaining strength and (a little bit of) endurance.

    Thanks for the heads up that it’s not always to negatives that need to be looked at. I forget that sometimes.

    (And I cannot even imagine crow pose. Yowz.)

    1. Isn’t that crazy? I look back at pictures of myself sometimes from when I thought I was “so fat” and it’s just laughable. I think if we can all start to focus on what our bodies can do rather than what they look like, we’ll all be happier.

  13. I love the idea of this movement. I love how people are saying things about how their legs have carried them through races or their stomaches have held babies. I definitely think it’s important to focus on those things instead of how our bodies LOOK.

  14. Thanks so much for writing this. I literally hit the publish button and ran away from my computer so I couldn’t erase it without people seeing it. So many awful things go through my head on a daily basis about my body, but for whatever reason, the exposed movement gives me a second to pause those thoughts for a second and be thankful for the body.

    I was reading this post going, “girl, you’re crazy. Your body is AMAZING! You accomplish so much with it!” It’s so interesting to look at people who you think have it all together to realize we all have the same struggles. Just as it blows my mind that people I think look amazing think I’M being brave for sharing. I keep waiting for people to say horrible things about my body, but it’s yet to happen. We’re our own worst critics.

    1. I am so glad you posted that entry. I know you have inspired so many people – myself included! It is funny how many people have self-image issues that you wouldn’t necessarily expect to, but I guess it just goes to show that we are our own worst critics. I’m so glad you have gotten such positive feedback. You deserve it!!

  15. I think you’re wonderful. I love reading your blog. You’re so strong to share your life with the world. Don’t feel guilty if you don’t want to share your naked body too. I wouldn’t do it either, but I am proud of my body. Not in a vain way – because I’m no beauty queen, and never was. I’m just amazed at its accomplishments this last year. At 56 I will be an Ironman in a few weeks. It’s been a long year with many injuries and setbacks. But I’m still pushing forward. I lost 30 lbs, developed rock-hard abs, lost the flab jiggling between my legs and found many new friends along the way. I’d like to have a few tasteful naked pictures of this body while it looks toned, but they’d be just for me, not for the world to see. BTW, the marathon in this event will be my very first.

    1. Wow! I am in awe of YOU! I cannot even imagine doing an Ironman right now. Sometimes I think I would like to one day, but that amount of training is incredible. I would be proud of myself too! Congratulations!

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