Conquering Your Insecurities Through Fitness
Background: I first started my fitness journey to feel good in summer shorts without fearing insecurities. I knew at the time I wasn't in my best shape. I just wanted to feel normal and not second guess my outfits. It wasn't like my high school years where my weight balanced itself and I never worried too much. Now a days, I really needed to be careful and keep in check, especially after the weight I gained during my pregnancy. Most importantly, I loved the feeling fitness and eating healthy gave me. I wanted to jump right back in to the "fit life". I really ENJOY exercise, believe it or not--When someone tells me that they hate exercise, I literally stare at them like a deer in headlights. I just cannot wrap my brain around the fact that some people hate moving their body. I have always been athletic, I grew up with two brothers and we always played sports. I was used to athletic activities from a young age. Also, it helped to have a personal trainer brother that inspires me. My fitness knowledge all started when I took weights class in high school. As I had mentioned, I was always athletic and strong, so I wanted to find my place. At the time, my parents didn't allow me to join sports because they wouldn't have time to commit, with their busy job schedule, but when I took weights class, I discovered how much I loved/hated training weights. I thought the sore feeling I got was super awesome, and I knew it represented my hard work. I knew I didn't have to be the smartest, quirkiest person in the room, I just had to be the hardest worker. I loved the feeling of pushing my body to what felt like extremes. It mesmerized me. I knew that this relationship I had with the gym would continue beyond this high school "weights class". Oh yeah, and I was actually good at working out. It helped me feel like I achieved something amazing everyday, and not a lot of things make you feel that way.
Diet: In the last couple of years, I started busting my butt at the gym and eating better. I did not count calories. I just made sure I ate healthy. I didn't want to deprive myself so I made sure to eat a lot of vegetables, meat and complex carbs, with the occasional sweet or salty snack. For me to have gotten this far, I truly believe in the "everything in moderation" method. If I needed a sweet, I ate one. But I would make sure that I would eat way healthier the next few days to make up for it. I knew my body felt best at around 2,000 calories give or take. That's 2,000 calories of unprocessed B.S.. I believe in eating until you are moderately full, so I definitely don't starve myself. I always use this system I came up with to track what I eat. I literally review my meals in my head visually before I eat them and if I know I hadn't eaten much vegetables early in the morning, I made sure to pack them on for lunch or dinner. I aim for at least 7 servings of veggies a day, and lean meat for every meal. I believe in balanced nutrition. If you are focusing on nutritional needs rather than calories, your body will thank you. Oh and don't get me started with people that starve themselves, or only have a fist full of this, that, BS. My meals are balanced and plentiful. If you refer to the food pyramid, if you are cutting your portions to small extremes, you are neglecting your nutritional needs. According to the food pyramid, you need a lot of vegetables, a good amount of fruit, a good amount of meats and complex healthy grains. So if you don't eat grains, you're missing out on potential healthy nutrition. Carbs are brain food, and if you cut carbs completely, your brain will go nuts. And just because somebody is ultra skinny, doesn't make them even remotely healthy or in good shape. You can be skinny and have no muscle mass at all, and we know plenty of women have that. The goal here is to be strong and healthy, not "weak" and "malnourished". If you want a beautiful butt, strong legs, strong arms and a more curvier, fit look, weight lifting is the answer. Muscles need healthy fats, healthy carbs, and proteins. If you aren't eating enough, you will look like a stick because your body can't supply you with fat or muscles.
Exercise: I started training muscle groups at least 3 days a week. I would record in my calendar the things I trained that day. I would say out of all the women I know in my present life, I'm the hardest worker. I know there are lots of harder workers out there, but out of my friends and acquaintances, I'm the only girl I know that lifts heavier, and pushes my body to extremes. Actually, I do know a couple of girls that train just as hard or even way harder, but in general. I have transformed my body so much, but it's been a long road. I definitely feel the difference in my butt, thighs, stomach, arms, everything. I have some fat (which is healthy), but I have definitely built up a lot more muscle. I feel like I look best in the tightest form fitting clothes, because you could really see my muscle curves and physique. When I wear a tight dress, I know my butt looks good. It's a satisfying feeling knowing that I have achieved a lot of results through hard work and that also makes me feel as confident internally/respect myself.
Benefits: I feel like I'm the minority when it comes to fitness, many people don't make time or don't see the value in weight training, but there's a ton of value in it. First, it's good for your bones, your heart, and your blood. I went to the doctors recently for a physical and the nurse literally asked me what I do so special to have optimum health--He was so impressed with my numbers. I told him I work very hard at the gym and eat right. Honestly, lifting weights will improve your look and health. Weight training with proper diet will extenuate your curves and give you the firmness you're looking for. No amount of surgery can replace hard work. I laugh whenever I see dumb commercials about surgery because you can control your body 90%. You can't change your structure but you can definitely improve your appearance the healthy way.
Takeaway: At this point, I still have insecurities creeping into my mind from time to time, but in general, I look in the mirror naked and am super proud. Proud because I have conquered my biggest insecurity, SHORTS. Shorts are still not my most favorite, but I'm definitely confident enough to wear them and jump high in the air 100 times without fearing fat is jiggling. My thighs are curvy, firm and muscular. In fact, I think they are sexier than ever. I feel like my butt pops in tight dresses, and my flat stomach really extenuates my upper and lower half muscle curves. I have some defined abs, shoulders, quads and want to continue seeing more muscle. Most importantly, I want to continue feeling my best, that's what fitness does for me. That's what fitness is about, feeling your best, inside and out; therapy. Unfortunately, half or more of women are super insecure in clothing. I used to be there, even though I was never really overweight, but I wanted to make the change to feel my absolute best and strongest. Why hide? Taking the serious steps toward a healthy lifestyle was the best change I've ever made.
Key Points to Starting a Fitness Journey:
1) Create a schedule for yourself and write down the days you train.
2) Don't skip a week! You wouldn't skip a week of class, so why would you decide to skip the gym. If you skip out, you will delay your results.
3) Always keep fitness in the back of your mind. Make it super fun, create a challenge, get stronger and push yourself.
4) Never starve yourself. Eat whole healthy foods. Study the food pyramid, research nutrition, and every time you're preparing a meal, think to yourself, "Did I have enough protein or veggies today?"
5) Don't be afraid of weights. Weights don't make women bulky, bad nutrition or steroids do. Weight training gives you a great balanced shape that most find attractive.
6) Don't beat yourself up for failing. Everyone does, just start over and do better. Start over 100 times if you have to until you finally learn.
7) Fitness is a huge process, it isn't a "destination", it's a lifestyle. Just like showering and cutting your hair, your body takes constant work and maintenance. If you aren't enjoying the process, you're doing it wrong.