I’ve had a weird relationship with my body for as long as I can remember. I had a different body type than my parents (both of whom are petite people and never had to worry about their weight).
I can’t remember a time where I was not aware of my body size, shape, and weight. The doctor said I had baby fat and would grow out of it, my dance teachers said I needed to watch my figure, and my mother tried her best along the way to support me but my issues were so foreign to her sometimes she couldn’t (especially in the days before Google and parenting forums).
If you’ve been following me, you may be familiar with my weight loss story and journey. But the one aspect I’ve always struggled with despite my progress? Loving my body and the skin I’m in. I’d go through phases of self love but they would quickly be swallowed up by negative self image, comparing myself to others, and feelings of self doubt. The body dysmorphia beast would rear her ugly head again and again. I was growing more and more susceptible to her. The last year was spent fighting not to let her win and drag me back down to the depths of emotional eating and negative self talk, and calling myself fat every time I looked in a mirror. Every day was a battle. I hit some new lows and I hit a few highs. My weight yo-yoed and I gained and lost the same 10lbs over a year. But one thing remained consistent: my drive and desire to fight for myself.
What was done before to lose and maintain my weight wasn’t working. I couldn’t stick to it. It made me frustrated, which led to my unhappiness, my uncomfortableness in my own skin (and jeans), and to emotional eating and indulging in “healthy” treats, like a spoonful of peanut butter or a gluten free brownie, or justifying the office cupcake. All those little cheats led to what had caused it in the first place: the slow-creep weight gain. And so the vicious cycle continued.
I surrounded myself with healthy people. Friends in the fitness industry, coworkers with the same struggle. Always asking and thinking how do I get out of this rut? When does this cycle end? Scared to death of seeing the scale hit 200. Crying over it all.
At one point I was able to think more logically and see through the fog I was in and assessed what had made me successful in the past. I knew I needed a more mindful eye over my food choices and intake, but I didn’t have the knowledge or self restraint to do it myself. I needed a human-being to help hold me accountable, to answer my questions, to coach me through the hard times. I recognized I’d had the most success when working with a female coach in the past, and so I wanted to work with one again. A friend referred me to her former coach and I reached out. After a conversation, I knew she’d be perfect to work with but I hesitated. Money. It always comes down to money and with a wedding in my future, I had a hard time justifying the cost.
A week or so later, I found a way to sign up with her. I realized nothing would change with my current situation if I didn’t force it and no number of shopping trips to Nordstrom or chocolate chip cookies would solve it either. So I signed up and we were off to the races.
At the same time, something else in my life was taking place. In addition to my nutrition I wasn’t happy with my workouts either. While I was always regular with my workouts, I was continually frustrated with the results or possibly lack thereof. I was working out at least 6 days a week, sometimes more than one workout a day. It was an escape from the food and a release from the stress and unhappiness in my life. I was tired of the same classes but then a class was added at my gym that changed everything: weight lifting.
I was immediately hooked. I did everything in my power to make the two classes offered per week and I wanted more. So much more. A few months after I started the lifting classes, I transitioned all of my workouts to weight lifting and started training with some pretty cool people. The first month of weight lifting left me bruised and sore and pondering my sanity. But I loved it: the challenge both mentally and physically, the reward of moving weights.
It all started to click for me. Of course, there are hard days when I work through my own challenges, but it clicked and I started seeing both mental and physical changes. The negative self talk wasn’t there. That voice telling me I looked fat was getting quieter and quieter. I felt my body composition change with my growing muscles. Close friends and family would comment on it, but the thing that really hit it home for me was when someone who hasn’t seen me in a month said: You look strong.
I look strong. I feel strong. I am strong.
Outfit c/o Brooks Running