Dear Diary: N(ED) and going topless.

Lately I have been trying to think of risks to take that make ED super uncomfortable and in return make me feel more confident. Today’s risk was a fail but I wanted to share anyways.

If you have ever taken a group fitness class, you already know that people come in all shapes and sizes and come in little to barely there clothing…especially at hot yoga.

I arrive early to stretch and as I am stretching I admire two women who are just wearing leggings and a sports bra. Totally normal of course to see women in booty shorts and tiny sports bras at hot yoga, but I for one am always covered up. So I think to myself, “I am going to take my shirt off”. If you have taken hot yoga before, you know it is hot. You also know that you will be confronted with positions that make your stomach hang over your pants. I think it is the perfect opportunity to make ED feel super awkward and for me to be a little less hot.

(Now, the only other time I have ever worked out with other people and had my shirt off was when I was at a cycling class a few months ago. I only took my shirt off when the lights went out and as soon as the last ride was over, I immediately put it back on before the lights went up (and I was in the very back row). As you can tell, taking my shirt off is not a routine thing for me. I recalled this moment when I was at yoga which initiated this risk taking adventure. Having to do it with lights on and mirrors everywhere was going to be a challenge.)

Back to my yoga class…

5 minutes have passed. I am getting up the nerve to take off my shirt and then a dude walks in and decides to sit right in front of me… therefore the person that he can see the most besides himself in the mirror is ME! Ugh. So I try some self-talk and tell myself, “He has a total dad-bod, everything is fine. If he can be shirtless, so can you! DO IT!”… aaand of course I hesitate too long and the instructor comes in and starts class. For the first few rounds of vinyasa all I can think about is taking my damn shirt off. I really want to f**k with ED today and I badly want to take the risk that I had set out to do from the moment I got there. So the next time we come down on our mats to do boat pose, I start to pull up my shirt… and then realize that my top is too stuck to my skin and I am worried my sports bra may come off with the shirt. So I give up. Could I have tried harder and got it off? Probably. But I didn’t want anyone to notice me doing it!

Even though my risk taking adventure did not come to fruition, I at least tried, more so mentally than literally. However, my “fail” was not the result of not ripping off the band-aid fast enough. It was not the dude in front of me; it was not that my shirt was too sticky; it was not the lighting or the mirrors. It was my internal dialogue from the get-go: “These women are thinner than me”, “The fat over my pants will be embarrassing”, “I am not fit enough”, “You’ll look better covered up”. Even though I put forth effort, it was these initial thoughts that stalled the process.

I have not given up on going topless in yoga class. What I have learned though is that I need to work on my internal dialogue (and rewire my distorted body image) before I embark on another topless adventure. Instead of noticing how my love handles love to appear in chair pose with a twist, I will focus on how strong my glutes feel and how powerful my legs are. Also, when I admired the women who did have their shirts off, I was not admiring their bodies. I was admiring their confidence and their boldness, qualities that I strive for daily. I know my continual self-work will eventually pay off. Next time, I have a feeling that I will be able to rip off the band-aid, I mean shirt, without hesitation.