For My Women:
I would like to share with all of you something really personal; my journey to loving and (finally) accepting my body. This isn’t exactly an easy post and as I begin to write I’m not sure how long or short it’ll be. If you know me I’m sure you wouldn’t think that I’ve struggled with body image through my adult years. In fact, if you saw me in person you’d probably think I have no reason to have any issues at all. But the outside does not always display the inside truth; my truth.
Growing up I was the smallest thing around. I wore a size 2 and weighed about 100 lbs. I flaunted everything. I wore belly shirts, short shorts and ate anything I wanted. I remember constantly weighing myself. Never more than 100 lbs. I remember thinking, if I could just get to 110 it’d be perfect. Not sure why I wanted to weigh more. Maybe to match my friends? Maybe to fill out a little bit? It never happened.
College days came around and I finally hit over 100 lbs. Two things I believe contributed to this: 1) the “freshman 15” and 2) Oral Contraceptives. 120 lbs wasn’t so bad…right? I continued throughout college around the same weight. Not really gaining or losing. Eating whatever I wanted. Never exercising. Surely this is sustainable…?
My first job – an American restaurant. Pasta, butter sauce, fries (my favorite), and the bread rolls were a food group all by itself! A pound here, a pound there, not too shabby. But people…people are cruel. I remember having a picture posted of me on Facebook. A family friend who’s known me since I was about 10 years old sent me a message “are you pregnant??” bitch! Has etiquette not taught us to never ask that question unless you already know that the woman is in fact pregnant? She wasn’t the only one, aunts constantly making “thick” comments. Family can be the worst critics. I was told by another family friend that it looked like I “lost weight since leaving your boyfriend” [at the time]. Apparently relationship weight means your happy.
So, to the gym I went. Got a trainer. Changed my diet. Researched the hell out of various workouts to avoid boredom, plateauing and burning out. It worked. I could tell differences between my energy levels and I could physically see the weight loss. Then I’d stop going for a week, or two. Then start back. Sound familiar? At that point I wasn’t going to the gym for myself, but for all of those people who commented on my weight.
During my research I kept hearing how weightlifting and strength training were better for results; even for women. There’s no way I was weightlifting! I didn’t want to look buff and overly-chiseled. I came across an article that explained how it was almost impossible for the average woman to achieve that look without intense training and sometimes supplements. Hmmm…might as well try it! After all, I had stopped seeing results that I wanted. I turned to Pinterest and YouTube for tips, tricks and quick strength workouts. I was already starting to feel better about myself and I might have even found comfort in weightlifting.
One day, I met a guy. Who just so happened to be a “gym rat”. No, not that annoying gym rat that kisses their biceps in the mirror. But one who was knowledgeable enough to educate me more on weightlifting. We began to lift together. One day a week, twice, four… My love for weights (and maybe him too) grew.
I started to realize a few things. People often project on others what they feel about themselves. And some, are just plain mean and tacky. My weight gain was never a bad thing – it was natural, inevitable. Of course I was 100 lbs at 18, but 100 lbs at 31 is probably not the healthiest for my body type.
Call it my older age and more mature self, but my truth is that I am 100% in deep love and admiration of my body; raw & pure. It’s not perfect by societal standards, but it’s absolutely (imperfectly) perfect…to me.