Looking Good vs. Being Fit

Gors Ventre Wilderness Backpacking

Struggling up this steep cut through the cliff was painful for my lungs. Gros Ventre Wilderness, Wyoming. Photo: Dave Szmyd

For pretty much all of my adult life, being in (or getting in) shape was all about how I looked and felt in clothes. Sure I wanted to be healthy and yes I wanted to be able to do the outdoor hobbies I enjoyed. But when push came to shove, it was mainly about how I felt I looked and how I imagined others felt I looked.

I wanted to fit into small-sized clothing so I could buy cute stuff. I wanted to wear tank tops and show off my arms with confidence. I wanted to wear a thong without feeling like the underwear was framing two flabby orbs of chunky mush. I wanted to look good in a bikini and flaunt it on the beach. I wanted to be excited about being in a photo and look back on that photo feeling like, "Yeah....I got it!"

And, perhaps more importantly, I wanted others to also think I looked skinny and fit and "good". In a word, I wanted to be "hot".