I’m usually extremely hard on myself at the gym – to the point where it is borderline counterproductive. When I first started lifting as my main workout lover October/November 2011 I had no gym membership. I was staying over my boyfriend’s apartment frequently so used the weights in his building’s gym. As I was pretty weak, the limited selection of dumbbells was enough for me. I wanted to get stronger so badly, and read up on so many different exercises for each muscle group that I could do with dumbbells. And I did them all during every workout, over and over again.
So so wrong.
A few months ago, after lifting consistently for around 8 months, I struggled with balancing and recognizing my own successes and gains and comparing them to stories of people whom I’d read about on the internet, via various forums. The already gorgeous woman who transformed into an actual fitness model in a matter of weeks. Girls my size who posted before and after pictures of their toned, bikini or underwear-clad bodies on transformation forums, claiming it only took a few months. Then there was me – I’d been lifting what I thought was the right way, compound lifts, as heavy as I could, deloading and working on perfecting my form, eating tons of protein and my idea of healthy. Where were my results? Where were my 1.5x bodyweight lifts and defined muscles?
Part of me knew that I wasn’t following a strict meal plan, you know, the chicken, brown rice, broccoli deal, and that definitely contributed to my results. I love food. I’m a foodie. There was no way I’d give up stuffing my face with deliciousness and go to eating bland repetitive meals. I would just work out that much harder (too bad things don’t work that way).
I was upset at seeing no changes in the mirror, and no changes at the gym. And then I saw these pictures from my senior year of college, just a few years ago.
Now in no way am I saying I looked fat or terrible (I was like a size 2 at the time) – It’s just an eye opener for me to see the proportions of my body so different. I worked out sporadically, but I also drank way too much and ate fast and fried food nearly all the time. My style was also “OMG the shorter, tighter, and shinier the better!”. With time (or age), I realize clothes that actually fit, and fit perfectly (instead of way too tight) can actually be more flattering. I still love short and tight (Sorry shiny, you are NOT my friend), but no longer buy things that are 98% spandex and two sizes too small.
I thought I was rocking the shit out of this dress. In reality it’s way too tight, as you can see my gigantic belly button clear through the satin. It did not help that the event included a large, multi-course meal and copious amounts of booze. I was sucking it in with all I had too. My limbs were skinny but I was sometimes self conscious that I had no waist or that my midsection kind of looked the same thickness whether you were facing my front or my side. I wish I could go back in time and tell little me that this outfit was not flattering!
So I tried on that same banging bandage dress.
It took comparing myself in the same dress to realize that my lifestyle change HAS led to visible physical changes too. I tried it on during an ordinary day, in which I had no workouts, and ate 3 meals and a variety of snacks all day. I know it’s a terrible iPhone picture without flash in vastly different lighting, but even my silhouette is improved. P.S. the unevenness past my hips is because its a bandage dress and not smooth. I don’t even have a camera let alone the ability to photoshop. The dress is no longer straining across my belly button and actually fits!! I have a vague idea of my weight (only for hitting bodyweight on lifts), and it hasn’t changed too much in the past 5-6 years. Everyone knows weight isn’t a good indication of health blah de fucking blah so I won’t get into that.
But I have a waist!! Someone even commented when I was out shopping (for running belts…in a 50’s housewife dress) that I had a tiny waist. Who me?? Never thought I’d hear that compliment!