Confidence when you aren’t skinny

The last time I went hiking near my Northern California home, I wore my standard workout crops and tee with a thin, moisture-wicking outer layer. There was a lot more canopy coverage from the trees than I had anticipated, and I was freezing.

So when I got dressed for our hike on December 29 (aka winter), I decked out in warm layers: running tights, a soft and thin long sleeve from a past race, and a Patagonia fleece vest, all underneath a neoprene baseball cap. I was feeling pretty smug when we got to a similar sight: a trailhead totally shrouded in branches. I even remember saying to my husband Tim, “I think that once we get moving and I warm up a bit, I’m going to be at the perfect temperature.” (I probably also said something obnoxious like “I really nailed this one,” but I’m too embarrassed to commit to that memory.)

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By now you’ve likely realized that I did not, in fact, nail that outfit. After about half a mile maximum, we found ourselves traversing the sunny side of the top of a mountain with absolutely no hope of shade. I was wearing all black and pouring out wine sweats (having just returned from wine tourism in Argentina) and that damn fleece vest had no sleeves to tie around my waist. The views were dynamite but WHO COULD CARE because I just wanted to hide behind a tree and pay Tim to fan me.

And then I realized: My tights are kind of high-waisted. I’ve got a sports bra on. The only thing I lack is the self-confidence to bare any form of midsection. And since I was basically under a direct solar spotlight with no respite, I took it off. I tied my long-sleeve around my waist (high up, but whatever, there was veritable bare torso on display) and I was able to dangle that formidably-warm fleece vest from my tied up shirt. I was IMMEDIATELY A THOUSAND TIMES BETTER.

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By some miracle, we didn’t pass anyone on the trail for at least 30 minutes. By the time we did, I wasn’t even thinking about my appearance. I think I was in the middle of an intense word game that we play to pass time on hikes. And I survived that hike without reaching Survivor-level dehydration.

I’ll probably never have a body type like the women who I normally see working out in bras and tights. But maybe the bras-n-tights pendulum will swing to just anyone who wants to rock the look. Or, maybe, it’ll just happen to ladies like me who experience weather too strong for a longsleeve and vest and gets the cool rush of subsequent confidence. Whatever the reason, if you want to bare your torso on a hike — or in an exercise class, or just because — DO IT! Except maybe not at your office job because, y’know. We’re not that progressive as a society, and that’s not really high up my list of things to fight for. ūüėČ

What self-acceptance milestones have you experienced?

You’re so much better than you think you are

You’re in an interview, and the person behind the desk asks you, “What are your weaknesses?” That good ol’ cliche weakness-but-not answer: “I’m a perfectionist.”

I’m here to tell you that perfectionism is a REAL and SERIOUS weakness. Being a perfectionist means that you are NEVER satisfied with your own work, even if it meets all criteria demanded. There’s always something more to be done. Perfectionism¬†delays launch dates. Perfectionism causes other work to not be done. Perfectionism causes anxiety and panic. Perfectionism is a SERIOUS weakness.

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I am a recovering perfectionist. I have always leaned into an all-or-nothing approach to my life and my hobbies. This was great in some ways: I have discovered my natural talents and obsessively pored over them to make myself better; I graduated valedictorian from high school (never mind the size of my graduating class); I did well for myself in my career at a very early age. It also caused me to feel suffocated in the middle of a restaurant before I was even 21 years old — that¬†was my first panic attack.

I have run two races in the past week: the Tinker Bell Half Marathon (at Disneyland!) and the Bay Area booze classic, Bay to Breakers. You may recall that exactly 7 weeks ago, I ran the Rock’n’Roll San Francisco half marathon. I haven’t run this many races since I was in high school cross country.

Last weekend before the Tinker Bell half, I was 90% sure I would not run. I was running on only a little sleep, and I had run a total of four times in the preceding six¬†weeks, along with two SoulCycle sessions, which I count as hill repeats. That makes an average of one “run” per week. I started to feel so burdened by this race, and I swore that I would take¬†a break from running. And yet, I woke up at 3:45am the morning of the Tinker Bell half, drank coffee, ate a piece of cold pizza (remember, I was #dgaf about this race) and I ended up running THE ENTIRE THING. To me, this was a huge freakin’ deal. It also made me realize: I was discounting myself.

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Perfectionism and impossibly high standards cause anxiety. Undeniable fact for me. The moment I realized that I was going to make it through 13.1 miles without stopping or getting injured, I was energized beyond the endorphins: I experienced a breakthrough. If you’re someone who doubts yourself or feels stuck going uphill, do something HARD and do it at all. Do like Woody Allen said and realize that showing up is [percentage variable depending on source] of the equation.

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Our cool dude friend Aaron cheered us on mid-race, just after Hayes Hill. #BayToBreakers

I signed up for Bay to Breakers 12k a couple days before the race took place, which is when I realized I wasn’t even sore from the half marathon. Next on my list: next week’s Color Run in San Jose, where I’m going to run faster than my longer-distance pace. Also: I’m kinda just going for everything in my life as if it’s good enough. Need to send a card to someone? No need for an epic ode. Whatever you write is good enough. Want to get fit? Working out a couple times a week at your own pace is good enough. Somehow, “good enough” became “bad and lazy,” and that’s so wrong. Perfect is the enemy of done. Don’t let some unwritten standards come between you and a task/goal/idea to be executed. Insert some joke here about Nike and JUST DO IT!