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The F Word

Fat. I don’t like the word, i don’t allow my clients to use that word. It’s super negative and yeah, I get why people use it, but if my clients are in the gym working out with me, working on getting healthier, there’s no reason to ever use the F word. There is no magic number on your bathroom scale that tells you You Are Fat. That’s a made up number in your head that you create to make your day awesome or completely deflate your self worth, mood and your entire day, which will then be spent hating yourself.

I’m a girl. Almost by nature I’ve been through a lot with body image, weight, and exercise both negative & positive. Once in a while I’d like to share my experiences not only to help anyone out there with body image issues, but so I can finally put some demons to rest. With all that said, I would like to share the time in my life where I gained weight and how I started losing.

I started gaining weight after high school when i moved out on my own and got a job while going to school part time. Working a full time job and going to school was stressful, and working late = eating late. I was lazy, stopped working out altogether and eating BAD foods…oreos, mac n’ cheese, pizza, pasta and my love for ranch/blue cheese and any cheese sauce was out of control. It literally makes me sick to think of all the crap i put into my poor body.

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I’ve been asked before if I was ever “fat.” The answer is no, however, I was overweight and unhealthy for my body, height and frame. The picture above might not look that bad, but i was 30 lbs heavier than i am now, a full bra cup size larger and 6 dress sizes larger. Like I said, I wasn’t 100 lbs overweight or anything, but 30 lbs of pure excess weight is a lot when you’re not doing any type of exercise (and I gained it quickly in about 6 months).

The problem was I knew I was eating bad, eating late, and not exercising. The turning point (cause you know everyone has that A-ha! moment) was when I tried to button my “fat jeans” and they barely made the button hole. I turned to my then boyfriend and asked, “Have I gained weight?” to which he replied, “I mean, you’ve gained weight since we started dating.” <— yep, we broke up very shortly after that.

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I decided to do something about it. I went to the apartment complex’s gym, which was small but really nice. I walked on the treadmill for 30 minutes.  I tried doing this whenever i had free time or caught myself watching mindless hours of tv. I did a few exercise dvds and even started jogging on the treadmill when I had the energy for it. Those few days a week made a huge difference and the weight started coming off slowly but surely. It’s not the moment I started becoming a “runner” but it was when I discovered how working out and sweating can be  therapeutic and actually help balance my hectic life.

Since 2006 I’ve been working out consistently, 2-6x per week and the most fun I’ve had is watching my body change and seeing the difference of weight to muscle. Muscle really shapes your body.

This was taken in 2008, I was about 15 lbs less than the pictures above. I was running then, but no strength training.

2008

This was from 2010, I lost another 10 lbs over those 2 years. Again, mostly running, little strength training. I did start to incorporate a yoga class 1x per week.

2010

And here’s one from when I ran the 2011 Chicago Marathon. I was in full on running mode, no strength training and I lost another 6 lbs. This was at my lightest weight, but I don’t look great. Thin sure, but no muscle tone or strength.

2011

In 2011, I made a commitment to begin strength training. The marathon crushed me and I believe it was directly related to not strength training. Plus I saw these pics and was confused as to how i was at my lowest weight ever, yet i didn’t look that great.. Skinny fat, as they say.

Since then I found a good balance of strength & cardio and have gained 7 lbs of muscle mass in the last year. Here are a few things I changed to help with my body.

1) I stopped weighing myself daily.  No one knows your weight but you and you should keep it that way. Don’t define yourself by your weight. If your clothes start getting tight, take the time to re-evaluate your eating habits and workout schedule. Or take pictures of your body and re-take them every 8-10 weeks and look at the physical changes.

2) I paid attention to Body Fat Percentage instead of my weight. Even though I gained 7 lbs of muscle, I’ve lost 8-10% body fat, which lead to a leaner, fitter, SMALLER body. You should be able to do Body Fat testing at a local gym or doctor’s office.

3) I hired a personal trainer. I hired a trainer because I had no idea how to strength train. If you don’t know what you’re doing ask for help! Get a friend or family member involved with your goals.

I guess what I want to say, is if you’re just starting out with running, working out or trying to eat better, put your efforts into those things and less effort into beating yourself up over how much you weigh. It takes a while for change, but if you’re doing the workouts and eating better, slowly you will become a better version of you.

How about you guys? Do you weigh yourself?

How do you make sure you’re staying on track?