Monday, November 14, 2011

Keeping it real

Now that I'm back to Planet Reality, it's time to get back to my main topic here. Uh.... what was that again...? Hehe. Kidding.

I shopped for new swimwear before we went away, and boy, was that a horrifying experience. Why do shops insist on painting changing room walls stark white and installing massed banks of ugly fluoro lights? Even swimwear models would be hard-pressed to look good under those conditions. Add in pasty-white skin, and some extra weight that I swear was not invited, and you can imagine how much fun  my shopping trip was...

Once we reached Pattaya, Bike Boy and I fronted up to the hotel's rooftop pool for a swim.  There was no way I was allowing a bit of negative body image crap to get in the way of the cool water, the jacuzzi jets, or my favourite thing in the world: the swim-up bar. I can't say I felt fabulous about my body, but that was NOT STOPPING ME from acting like a normal, sane person and going for a swim on my holiday.

The minute we stepped out onto the pool deck, I was reminded that Europeans on holiday don't seem to give a hoot what they look like. In fact, at all the hotels we stayed at, middle-aged and elderly British, German, Danish, French men and women just let it all hang out. There were bodies of all shapes and sizes spread out on sun lounges or sitting on the edge of the pool, with rolls of fat hanging over the sides of their bathing suits (or dimpled thighs, back fat, man boobs, saggy arms...) and it was obvious that they just didn't care.

If everyone was self-conscious about their bodies, resort pools would be very, very quiet...

So I stopped obsessing about my "holiday hair", my lack of fabulous resort wear, and my fatter-than-I'd-like arse and got on with enjoying myself.

Then Liz wrote a post last week that really struck a chord with me, all about perception versus reality in the online health and fitness world. You definitely should go have a read of it, but this was one of the points that stood out to me:

With the advent of Twitter and Facebook, there seem to be so many perfect photos of fitness models, figure athletes and weight loss success stories floating round, it’s sometimes hard to get a grip on the fact that most of us look awful at 5am and when we’ve just punched out two RPM classes in a very steamy studio!
Hear, hear! How often do you look in the mirror first thing and pull an unhappy face before quickly turning away, because you don't like what you see? 

As for fitness bloggers and what we see of them online.... We all want to look our best, and there's nothing wrong with that. But sometimes it seems that the blogosphere is filled with perfect people - if you go by the photos many people post on their blogs, Facebook page and so on, they're permanently super-fit, lean and strong, and always looking gorgeous, with never a hair out of place.

I read some of these posts and see the accompanying photos, then look down at my slightly grubby, wrinkled clothes that I wore to do the gardening or housework, and wonder how come they're always so well dressed? Why do they never have a bad hair day, or a disgusting pimple on the side of their nose? And there's never a muffin-top, double chin or flabby arm in sight. I begin to feel a bit inferior, a bit of a failure..... And then I remind myself that most of us are highly selective about the images of ourselves that we post online. They probably take hundreds of photos and ditch most of them to get all those "perfect" ones. So I laugh and shrug and get on with what I'm doing.

Of course, there's the possibility that maybe one or two of them really are perfect. In which case, I'm glad I don't know them in person, because I'm sure they'd be extremely boring.

Anyway, I've taken a leaf out of Liz's book and decided to post a "real" photo of myself. This is the real me on holidays - no makeup, limp pool hair, and note that I'm not striking a flattering, slightly sideways pose:

The real me, no airbrushing or retouching.

I could have erased the hated red spot above my left eyebrow, given myself a golden glow and added a softening filter. I could also have given myself an instant 25% weight loss... Seriously, I just discovered that you can do that with one click in some of the photo editing programs. But nope, this is all me, just as I am in real life.

I wonder if anyone else is game to post a "real" photo? Come on, let's see the real you.



Liz@LastChanceTraining said...

You're a gorgeous superstar! Here's to keeping it real!

Kek said...


It's definitely back to reality today! Monday morning, gym, work... *sigh* Im about to face the peak-hour traffic. Oh joy.

Debstar said...

Funny,just yesterday I was wondering why Target always set up their dressing rooms with those fluro lights. Seeing all my wobbly bits in their mirrors is enough to send me screaming from the dressing rooms without trying anything on.

And nope, you're not getting a photo out of me.

Sara said...

Yeah, I'm into real too. It's my blog, I'll embarrass myself if I want to! One thing that annoys me is the ones that like to emphasise how OVER their obsessions they are (and I have to be careful here because I know there are some that really are, and those girls are awesome), but then, perhaps in an email or on a forum you see the real them. For example, the ones that are judgemental of calorie counting and yet.. they actually do it themselves. I guess the thing that bugs me is those that give an impression of 'oh, this is so eeeeeasy for me now, just be like me and it will be soooo eeeasy for you too', when actually it's not easy for them, they just need an angle for their blog. Rant over, I've got an exam to pass now. X Good to have you back.

Sara said...

OH, and NEVER SHOP FOR SWIMWEAR WITHOUT A FAKE TAN ON. It's in 'the rules of shopping'. Haven't you read that?

Kek said...

Deb, Target is one of the worst offenders. Sometimes I wonder if they actually want to sell any clothes.

Sara, why did I not think of fake tanning before shopping? D'oh!

Unknown said...

The first thing I thought when I saw your photo was 'nice shoulders'

God I hate shopping for swimwear. Hellloooo cellulite!

Kathryn said...

Agreed on Target! It's the worst. I guess it means the clothes look better after you buy them (if you buy them).

Kek said...

Michelle, I did make sure I was sitting up straight.. round shoulders aren't a good look on anyone. ;)

Kathryn, I don't generally try anything on at Target. Their changing rooms scare me so much, I just buy stuff off the rack and if I don't like it, return it. I'm the queen of exchanges.

Charlotte Orr said...

Great post Kek! And I like that photo of you. Don't have anything recent of me to share though.

Sara said...

LOVE the real you! xoxo

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