About Me

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Delta, British Columbia, Canada
I took very early retirement from teaching in '06 and did some traveling in Europe and the UK before settling down to do some private tutoring. As a voracious reader, I have many books waiting in line for me to read. Tell me I shouldn't read something, and I will. I'm a happy, optimistic person and I love to travel and through that believe that life can be a continuous learning experience. I'm looking forward to traveling more some day. I enjoy walking, cycling, water aerobics & and sports like tennis, volleyball, and fastpitch/baseball. I'm just getting into photography as a hobby and I'm enjoying learning all the bits and bobs of my digital camera. My family is everything to me and I'm delighted to be the mother of two girls and the Gramma of a boy and a girl. I may be a Gramma, but I'm at heart just a girl who wants to have fun.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

BODY IMAGE

Everyone has a body image or a way in which they see their own body. It could be poor or good, depending on one’s perceptions. Poor body image translates to "I’m ugly" or "I’m too fat," whereas good body image translates to "I’m attractive" or "I’m a good person."

Body image doesn’t necessarily equate to objective measures of attractiveness or subjective opinions of others. For example, someone might see me as attractive but I might have a poor body image. I might see someone whom I consider extremely unattractive but they might have a good body image.

As I was going through the family photo albums in preparation for my Dad’s recent celebration of life, I found many photos of myself as a child, teenager, and young adult. Most of my life I didn’t give my body or face much thought but as I got older, I thought of myself as too fat and just average looking. Now, looking at these photos, I can’t imagine where those images came from. I look at myself at age 19 and think "Wow, I was really slim and I had great legs!" At age 22, in a photo where I was caught off guard, I see a hip and pretty young woman with beautiful long dark hair and dressed in the latest styles.

So, why then did I imagine myself to be plain and fat? Well, truth be told, I did gain weight a couple of times in my life. First, after my back surgery in ’86, we moved to Ottawa where we didn’t know anyone. It took about a year to completely heal but in the lonely meantime, I hibernated at home while the kids were at school and hubby was at work. Over time, the weight came on. Dear hubby never said one word about my weight gain – ever! And it did come off, finally. The second time I gained weight was after my husband died. Food became my comfort as I avoided people and any activities where I thought everyone would be staring at me and thinking "poor Leslie." For me depression, anxiety, and emotional stress were the root causes of my poor body image.

I found that I needed to develop a positive body image and a healthy mental attitude towards myself as a woman. I had to accept that I’d gained weight and for health reasons I needed to get it off. I didn’t like my teeth, so I got them fixed.

I must remind myself that I am attractive to some and not so attractive to others. I should only care about how someone sees my heart and soul. I surround myself with people who influence my body image with positive comments.

If only we could see ourselves as others see us. It could be a great motivator to either help us improve our character or relieve us of our insecurities.

16 comments:

Josie said...

Well, no wonder you have so many men courting you when you were young...! You were gorgeous, Leslie...! Well you still are. I could see right away that was you in the photos.

Ah, yes, body image. It changes on any particular day, doesn't it?

*sigh*

HeiressChild said...

good post leslie. i've always been small/petite. i became curvacious as i grew into a young adult, and men literally swooned. i probably was more of a sex object back then. i never weighed 100 lbs until i was pregnant with my son. i gained 68 lbs with my daughter and have had a weight struggle ever since, but i love myself. i've had a couple of injuries which have slowed me down physically, but i'm back to exercising again. i want people to like me for my heart and not my body. i see me as beautiful because i know i'm healthy and mentally and emotionally fit.

HeiressChild said...

in answer to your question on my blog, i grew up in an episcopal church, but i attend a non-denominational church now.

jmb said...

The curse of women, low self esteem about their body image. For me it never was a weight problem until my fifties but there was always something wrong with me. My ankles were thick, my bosom too small, too many freckles, the list goes on.
Men never care about this. Bald, fat they still think they are great.

But it's always what's inside that really counts in the long run.

jmb said...

Oh Leslie I forgot to say that Lady Mac had an interview with Diana Gabaldon for 15 minutes at the conference. She read her sample pages and asked lots of questions and was very encouraging.
She loved the conference and came all the way from Morocco especially for it so that must have cost a bundle.

Susie said...

Beautiful pictures of you. This is a great post on body image. It can be affected by so many things..
Thanks for your thoughts and prayers for my Grandpa.
((hugs))

Ruth D~ said...

Such interesting thoughts. I so identify. I think back to things I thought were flaws, yet like you, when I see old pictures I wonder what I was complaining about. Even when I was at my peak, and we all had one, I complained. If I'd known then that that was my peak, I'd have been dancing naked on the hill top--metaphorically. Now . . . it's about time I accept myself. I do not want to go into old age atill whining about nonsense.

PS~ You were/are beautiful.

geewits said...

I've done that. Now that I'm older I look at old pictures that I remember not liking and think, "What was I thinking?" Unfortunately, I've just started to notice that my face is aging in a very familiar and awful way. It's some sort of North Carolina thing but a lot of women there start to look like bulldogs and I feel like I'm starting to look like a bulldog. I'm trying to figure out what to do about it, but for now I'm using something that always makes a face look better. A happy, earnest smile.

JR's Thumbprints said...

"If only we could see ourselves as others see us."

This wishful statement is so true a majority of the time. But I'd rather not know how my students perceive me -- especially the stereotypical Big Bubba in cellblock 8.

And yes, you were (are) attractice. Nice stylish photos.

leslie said...

geewits keep on smiling cuz a smile is an instant facelift.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Great post and you look lovely in the pics. I suppose we are all unconfident when we are young. Now I think I'm the way I am and if peopel don't like it, that's up to them!

HeiressChild said...

But I'd rather not know how my students perceive me -- especially the stereotypical Big Bubba in cellblock 8.

JR, you are so funny.

leslie said...

Hi welshcakes that's exactly how I feel now, too. I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam says Popeye the sailor man. :D

Smalltown RN said...

Let me tell you...those are gorgeous photos of you...and yes you certainly did look hip and yup darn tootin you had and I bit still do have nice legs....yes body images...what's up with that....I have always had a negative body image....I think I compared myself constantly to my older sisters....in my eyes they were always skinnier, prettier, nice hair....yup I just thought I never measured up...and now here I am at 46....still struggling with my body image....I know my hubby loves my both inside and out...why can't I.....I long for the day to just be content with how my body looks....

Liz said...

I feel better about myself now at 55 than I ever have in my life before. I can't deny I want to look good and I've discovered the secret of dressing to suit my body (Thanks to watching the television programme - What Not to Wear!) If I feel that I look good I have mroe confidence and that is reflected in how I act and so on. But there are still days when I hate everythig about me!

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