The other day I took a bunch of pics that were meant to be my "before" pictures as I had gotten up to 174 and decided to get serious about counting calories again and losing weight. I religiously counted calories every day for a a couple of weeks and I....gained a pound! I tried to find a picture that reflected the true disgustingness of my situation and couldn't seem to find one. Everything was a lot smaller, firmer, less crinkled than I was seeing it. I've got some less flattering ones that show my belly but, in light of my decision of how I choose to approach my body from here on out (outlined below), I've decided to go with the more discreet ones.
This last Saturday I started my morning in one of my favorite ways, a super intense workout with my boyfriend. I began my workout with a grueling HIIT session on the elliptical for 35 minutes until I felt like I would vomit. We showered and changed there and I walked out of the gym feeling self-conscious in my jean shorts that were way more snug than this time last year. My boyfriend scanned me up and down and said "are those shorts new?" I hung my head and said "no, they just look different because they were baggy last year." He asked, "are you thicker than last year?" I looked at him surprised. How could he not see how horribly repulsive I had become?! I said, "Um, yeah, definitely." He said, in complete sincerity, "Babe, I have to tell you, I like you thicker."
Now, let me stop here and say this: I won't lie, having my hard bodied, unbelievably fit and attractive boyfriend, literally the sexiest guy I've ever laid eyes on in real life, validate my current body and tell me it's my effort and drive that's more sexy than anything, did have an impact on the shift in my thinking that took place in the hours following the aforementioned conversation. However, it was merely a catalyst to the change that has since taken place in my mind.
I started to think, "Why am I trying to lose weight?" The answers I came up with were less than healthy and noble. Here's the entire list:
-I feel that, as a personal trainer, I should be hard-bodied and perfect for current and future clients to take me seriously.
-I have cute clothes that I can't fit into.
-My stomach isn't flat.
-I have cellulite
-I used to weigh 145 pounds....
That's the whole list!!!
When I really thought about my reasons I realized that they were a little absurd. So I created a new list of reasons why I have, for the first time in almost 30 years, decided to simply try to maintain my weight instead.
-First and foremost, I'm naturally a thick girl! At 5'7 1/2 with a lot of muscle mass, 175 pounds is so unbelievably easy to maintain!! I'm not constantly hungry and I'm full of energy. At 145 I was constantly starving and exhausted and COLD!! I was constantly cold!
-175 pounds seems to be my sticking point. Coincidentally, it is the weight I settled in at when I was 18 and became physically active for the first time. It's also the weight I almost attempted to settle into when I was originally losing down from 275 but felt like I needed to keep losing for various reasons. I will add that, when I was 175 pounds coming down, it looked way different because I hadn't really started strength training yet so my actual body fat was a lot higher than it is now with the added muscle mass.
-I am absolutely SICK AND TIRED of not just being content with who I am! I have never ever considered myself worthy of just being where I am. I just want to, for once in my life, not consider myself "not there yet."
-On a more shallow note, I HAVE BOOBS!!! And A BUTT!!! I have a nice shape now. Because of all the weight I lost, I had some excess skin at 145 pounds. At 175, with the extra fat and muscle, everything is firmer. And, yes, I have boobs again. And, I have to say, I actually really like the way I look right now.
Okay, so here's my new goal. First and foremost, to love myself!! ? And then, to add more muscle mass but not to move the scales in one direction or the other. Anyone who knows much about this will understand that this is a little bit of a tricky statement because I actually AM aiming to reduce my body fat with this goal. However, there is something psychological about saying "I am, in this moment, perfect," that is unbelievably liberating. I feel loved. By me. And here's the absolute crazy part!!! As soon as I made the decision to stay where I am, my urge to cheat with a bunch of unhealthy food went away! That's not to say I won't be enjoying my wings and beer anymore but it no longer feels like some kind of self-abusing compulsion.
So I have new advice for others who seem to be struggling with self-love and can't even figure out how to lose when they are constantly fearful that they are going to gain....
Stop!!! Stand still for a moment and love yourself exactly where you are.
I am not saying that I want to stay at 175 forever. I may someday resume my efforts to see a (slightly) smaller number on the scales. But that moment is not now. Now my effort is to be the absolute healthiest person, physically AND mentally that I can be so I've liberated myself from the weight game for a while.
Here's the best part. I was sharing my decision with a client today and here is what she said in a nutshell. "Tammi, you look amazing already. And what drew me to you in the first place is that you are a 'real' person. Someone I can relate to instead of some hard-bodied fitness model that I would just feel uncomfortable around." And when I really think about it I know that's how all my clients feel. They feel loved by me, because they are. They feel inspired by my own humanity and my own struggles. I am done trying to fit a mold. I am done staring at my cellulite before I walk outside to enjoy a beautiful summer day. I'm done fearing the scales. Oh, and I'm officially a size 10 for quite a while anyway so I guess I'm getting rid of all my size 6's if anyone is interested.