Fitness update time!
I recently weighed in at 169.4 lbs which makes my total weight loss just over 130 lbs. Depending on the different people I see in a given day, I am almost certainly talking about how and what I am doing to get these results. (Even the cashier at my Mac’s corner store said something!) Once they find out exactly how much I have lost, their next question is “When are you going to stop?” “Someday” tends to be my response. Because, as I explain to them, fitness and health for me will be a constant factor in my life. It is never going away and I don’t want it to. It isn’t just a diet or exercise plan I am doing for a little while. No. This is a LIFESTYLE and I plan to live it, every single day, for the rest of my life.
I try to sway their line of questions towards my goals instead of the number on the scale. While that number is important goal to a degree, it is not all I want to accomplish. And I am trusting that my new, healthy body will help me dictate a “stopping point”. So if we actually get this far into the conversation, I bring up one of these said goals for this year. Building lean muscle. Again, depending on who it is I am talking to, I get a mixed reaction. A reaction similar to how most people responded when I said I would hit the 100 lb weight loss mark by last Christmas. They smile at me in the way you do when a small child is telling you that they are going to be an astronaut or a world famous elephant trainer when they grow up….“That’s nice dear, good luck with that.” They feel it is an impossible goal. But if at this point, the fact that I lost 130 lbs naturally isn’t somehow an indicator of my tenacity and will power then I guess they will likely always be a skeptic of things they probably could never dream of doing themselves.
The other response I sometimes get is, “You want muscle? By lifting weights? Aren’t you afraid of getting too bulky?” To me that’s like saying you wouldn’t want to drive a car fast because you don’t want to be Mario Andretti. I’m not setting out to lift weights like a body builder, so no, getting bulky isn’t a concern of mine. I want tight, defined muscles and mark my words – I will have them.
Everyone’s standard of beauty is different. My intention is not to convince you that a strong, lean looking woman is attractive. That’s your call. But to me, it is such a picture of health, beauty and focused dedication. It has taken me a long time to realize I am capable of living that life. Since I was a little girl I tended to look up to and admire that sort of physique. My childhood hero was She-Ra Princess of Power!
Now She -Ra is the sort of idol young girls should have. For those who don’t know, she’s the 80’s equivalent to Wonder Woman. She=Ra is the twin sister to the well known He-Man. I thought she was magnificent. (I still do!!) She was tough, stunning, wielded a sword, had serious muscles to fight the evil Hordak and his minions AND rode a figgin unicorn for crying out loud! I wanted to be her.
Besides fictional heroes, there are other women who I admire for their incredible physical achievements. A recent one is Kacy Catanzaro. I watched her compete on the tv show American Ninja Warrior and become the first woman to climb the “warp wall” and move onto the secondary stage of the competition. This show is no joke. You have to have incredible strength and agility to compete and every one of the people who try out are such amazing athletes.
Watching this show is beyond inspiring for me. But Kaci is a step above the others in my mind. She is a gymnast first and foremost and extremely tiny – at only 4 feet 11 inches.
At face value, you might not expect much from her. But boy would she prove you wrong.
It’s women like She Ra and Kaci who should be looked up to and admired. Not the Kim Kardashians of the world.
In my quest for continued fitness I have run across others who share similar goals. Goals they would like to accomplish but some of them feel it may be an uphill battle. They have taken the initial steps in their own journey. Things like beginning a specific eating plan or deciding to join a gym. They’ve told me that they are a bit nervous to take those next steps in fear that they will be judged as beginners who don’t know what they are doing. A weight room in a gym, for instance, can be very intimidating for a woman. I recall when I first started training for my 5k at the start of this year. I actually googled “how to run” because I didn’t want to look like an amateur on the track compared to any other runners who might cross my path. I was afraid they’d be thinking “What is this girl trying to prove? She shouldn’t be out here.” Doing a bit of homework on the subject did help my confidence, but what helped my confidence even more was putting myself though that initial, awkward and uncomfortable feeling of starting to run. Once I got all the way around the small track and I wasn’t fully out of breath, I had the confidence to circle around it again. By my third lap, you could have pointed right at me and laughed out loud. I had such high self esteem that I would have run past you smiling ear to ear.
Change is supposed to be uncomfortable to start. That means you are doing something you wouldn’t normally. It doesn’t hurt to ask questions and do a little bit of research before if you think it might help. Like looking up the names of weight machines before you go to the gym and just working on one muscle group the day you go. Slowly familiarize yourself with the gym and the staff – you could even ask them to give you a tour of the weight room. Every single person who begins a fitness journey HAS to start somewhere. There was a point where we were all beginners and a bit anxious about what we were doing. Remember that that feeling is temporary. The pride you will feel after completing that uncomfortable task will far outweigh any of the stares or remarks you think you will get. (Most of the people in a gym are pretty focused on themselves anyways and really could care less about you!)
We all have the ability to reach outside our comfort zone. Start small, build confidence. If you want change then that’s exactly what you have to do – change.