Marathons, Body Image and Health


Over the last few days, I have done a lot of soul-searching regarding body image, health, and strength. This self discovery was prompted by the lovely spring weather in NYC and the beginning of my marathon training.

I have never run a marathon before, but anyone who knows me knows that I am an extremely active person and a workout junky. I love to be active, and feel alive and healthy when I routinely work out. I love to challenge my body and test it’s limits. I am also the kind of person who needs to exercise and sweat my emotional and mental stress out, so exercise is vital to my health and happiness.

We all have different motivations to exercise. Besides my day-to-day well-being, I am dedicated to staying active and athletic now and through my entire adulthood. The more active we are as young adults, the more active we will be as senior citizens – assuming the young adult remains active throughout the decades. I want to physically be able to run, walk, dance, travel and get around with ease now as well as when I am 75 years old. While I am alive, I want to LIVE!

While I will be sure to make time to hike, backpack and run often this year, a marathon will be a huge challenge for me. Not only does a marathon test the physical strength of the runner, but its a huge mental challenge to complete a 26.2 mile race. I have always wanted to run a marathon, and there is no time like the present – so I am going to do it in 2010. I will take my first big step towards the marathon when I run my first race, the Philly Broad Street Run, which is a ten mile race, in May.

I have to be honest and admit that besides feeling great and prolonging my youth, I also work out to stay in shape. I would be lying if I said that it wasn’t important to me to look the best I can. While all women, regardless of their job, feel the heat from the media to be thin, when your career and employment are on the line its a completely different story. The pressure and competition is unreal. I will openly admit that while at college I became so obsessed with my weight that I would take diet pills and work out seven days a week. Let me also just say that I ate and drank a lot in college too, and was never anorexic or starved myself. However, I was an obsessive exerciser and took my fitness to an extreme.

Genetically, my extended family on all sides are of healthy weight. Without working out at all, and eating whatever the hell I want, I would probably be a size 4-6. Due to my diet and exercise I currently range between a size 2-4. The smallest I have ever been is a 2. Now, if you don’t know me personally, let me clue you in to how much I love food. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE FOOD!!!!! All kinds of food. I also love to cook and bake. My attitude about food is this: I try to focus on healthy/power foods so that my body gets the nutrients it needs. I would rather run 10 miles a day and eat whatever the hell I want then to deny myself ice cream or burgers. It might sound crazy to those of you who hate exercise, but I’d prefer to be an exercise machine and an eater then a calorie counter.

While reading this blog, I might sound like a confident woman. I am, sometimes. But as I mentioned in an earlier blog that was prompted by the death of Brittany Murphy, I struggle a lot mentally while on set with pin thin people all the time. I question my body, but also my worth as a human being – which is silly and sad.

But over the last few days, as I have gone through some physical soul-searching, I have rewired my outlook on my personal struggles. I am going to focus on my marathon training, eating power foods, and being in the best physical shape for my body type. I am not going to obsess, compare, or let the skeletal figures on set bother me. After all, I am probably happier and healthier than anyone starving themselves and damaging their bodies.

Here’s to a year of great races, strength and health!

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~ by Elizabeth on March 8, 2010.

One Response to “Marathons, Body Image and Health”

  1. We live in a society that is constantly picked apart for being too thin, too fat, too outgoing, too shy, whatever. It is great to see that your outlet is exercise. It’s very frustrating to see women obsess over their bodies and then turn to surgery as their answer. So what if the girl next to you is thinner than you, because she is looking at you thinking ‘man, I wish I was a little curvier like that girl.’ Stay true to yourself. Feel free to check out my blog — infatuatedwithimperfection.wordpress.com — as I discuss how women get wrapped up in changing who they are.

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