These Hips Lie: A Lesson in Perception

i have no idea what i look like.


it all started when i was looking into some studies on body perception.  according to some research compiled by the  u.s. center for national health statistics, about 50% of women who are not overweight think they are.

that’s A LOT.  that’s half!  half the population of women who look in the mirror everyday and see something completely different than their actual reflection.

it seemed a bit absurd to me so i decided to do a little test.

i look at myself everyday.  i’m a personal trainer, so you would hope i’m pretty familiar with the body.  i have my flaws, but i know i’m not overweight.  i should be able to roughly sketch out my body shape, right?

so i put up some paper and got to work.

for about five minutes i just stood there.


it was kind of pathetic actually.

i had no idea where to start.  what size is my head?  i have no idea what size my head is.  how long are my arms?  i know my hips don’t lie, but where exactly do they lie????

eventually, i got going . . . .


i finished with a flourish, and put my marker down.  i stood back and looked at my masterpiece.  it didn’t look quite right.  to be honest, it looked like the outline of an oompa-loompa.  but i am no ar-teest, and i was sure it was more accurate than not.

i enlisted my husband in tracing the actual me in red, so i could compare.  this is what we came up with.


suffice it to say, i have NO FREAKING CLUE.

with the areas that i tend to be most sensitive about – waist, hips, thighs – i lavished on the extra inches with a heavy hand.  but even with the areas i appreciate, like my arms, i was surprised to see that glaring red line a substantial distance away from my original sketch.  apparently, i should be playing for green bay with those shoulders.

i sat on the foam interlocking floor, a bit stunned, and took it in.  i took me in.

i kind of wanted to cry.

how could i be so skewed in my perception?

am i that hard on myself?  am i so cruel that i’ve created this false image in my mind that i project whenever i look in the mirror?

am i that insecure?

i found it so difficult to accept these ugly truths about myself that i accused my husband of ‘cheating’ when he traced me.

i don’t have some profound wisdom to wrap this up with.  to be honest, i’m still asking myself the hard questions.

but i will tell you one thing:  more women need to do this.

so if you’ve got a minute today, throw some paper up on the wall.

do you really see yourself as you are?  or have you, like me, created a false image?  a lie that you hold over yourself.  that you abuse yourself with.

there is freedom in confronting these lies.  there is a breaking of chains.  a casting down of strongholds.

so give me a call when you’re sitting on your floor, feeling a bit stunned.


i’ll bring over some cupcakes.

2 thoughts on “These Hips Lie: A Lesson in Perception

  1. So I just happened to stumble across this today while taking a homework break. I did this years ago in. It didn’t end good because honestly I did not know who I was or my worth or anything. I must say though you have inspired me to concider trying this again seeing as I’m in a much better place now. You’re amazing! Thanks!

    • thanks so much for sharing sarah! i totally understand needing to be in the right place to do it – i was shocked out how incredibly hard it was. if you choose to go ahead with it, let me know how it turns out. i so appreciate you reading. you seem quite amazing yourself!

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