Saturday, July 09, 2016

Before it all hits the ground...

I've been working out consistently for six months now.  I'm usually a half-hearted "2 months on, 4 months off" type of worker-outer, but I didn't like the way I looked or felt so I decided to pull it together and do my best to KEEP it together this time.  My diet still needs some clean-up, but it's far better than it was.  High blood pressure and diabetes run rampant in my family, and the fact that I want no part of either disease keeps me from going too far off-track.  I haven't really talked about it to many people about changes that I've been making b/c I wasn't sure if I'd just falter again.  I'm still not sure, but I take it day by day.

I don't like cardio, and I DO enjoy weight training, so when I started off I did as little cardio as I could get away with.  After seeing myself just bulk up all over, I knew that the jig was up and instead of being childish about it, I had to get my cardio in like a grown-assed woman.  I started weight training twice a week and cardio 3-4 times a week, and my body started to change: my gut started to recede, a two-pack appeared, and I started to see more muscle definition in my arms and legs.  Honestly, I don't know if the shifts are visible when I'm clothed, but since I see myself naked daily, I know they're there.

Recently, though, I stepped on the scale and realized that I've gained 17 lbs. since I started working out.  There are clothes that I CAN wear again now that I don't have to strategically drape things over my gut, but my pants are too tight in the thighs, my dress shirts gape, some of my underwear is fitting in a questionable (and uncomfortable) way, my jackets are too tight in the shoulders, and my bras are strangling my ribcage.  Yesterday I had a headache.  When I took off my too-tight bra, my headache disappeared within minutes.

I pulled my trainer-friend aside and explained the situation.  I really just needed a sounding board and expert feedback.  "What the heck is going on?  Am I going to have to buy a new wardrobe??  How do I deal with this?" After taking a look at me and assessing my situation, she agreed that I was getting leaner, and told me to stay off of the scale altogether.  Then she basically said that if my size bothers me, then I can always try light weights at high reps, but some people just bulk faster and have denser muscles than others.

It was in that moment that I realized that I'm not bothered at all.  I've been carrying this image in my head of what "fit" would look like for me... and that mental image is a picture of me from 20 years ago, but with a little more muscle.  I wasn't particularly "fit" then, I was just young and didn't have enough fat to cover up whatever muscle tone I was blessed to have naturally (b/c I certainly wasn't about that work-out life).

My body is in a different stage of life now, and while I'm not trying to keep a bunch of excess fat hanging around, I'm not trying to be skinny either.  I understand that this runs counter to a culture that tells us that "thin is always in" and in my head I replace the assumption that "fit=slim" with "fit=fit."  If I give my body what it needs in order to do what I ask it to do, it will show me what my kind of fit looks like now.

In the meantime - I've picked up a few larger clothing items to hold me over until I can see where I'll land.

(Written on July 4 - published today b/c I just had to change clothes twice.)

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