On Sunday, a stranger woman in the locker room at my gym said she wished she were as skinny as I am. Many moons ago, I would have fawned over this comment. Skinny!! I spent most of my adolescence obsessing over having a *~*skinny*~* ballet body; that obsession persisted even after I “retired” from dancing.
Gaining weight is a struggle physically and mentally, especially for a female. When the scale jumps, I often experience a cognitive dissonance between the ideals of my adolescent, skinny-obsessed mentality and the knowledge I’ve acquired from training. I’m not “getting fat.” I’m building muscle and getting stronger. I know this, but sometimes it’s hard to accept the truth when you’ve thought a certain way about your body for so long.
These photos are from the day after my first bikini competition, a week after a surgery I had to correct my breathing, and this past Sunday. I have been very slow to grow since coming out of prep, and that surgery left me incredibly puny which was kind of a setback. It has taken a couple months to get up to a normal BMI for my height even with adding food and reducing cardio.
Some of this is my fault. When I’m given untracked meals, I restrict myself for the entire day because I don’t want to go over my numbers. But like, that’s kind of the point of the untracked meals (as well as giving my mind a mental break from counting macros).
There are a couple of irrational fears associated with this restriction:
1. If I’m not hitting my numbers perfectly, I will lose control and binge.
2. Any weight that I gain from an untracked meal will be all fat and not muscle.
I KNOW it’s stupid, but I’m a control freak and these are the anxieties that plague my mind when really I should just be happy to go off the chart every once in a while.
The first step in dismissing these irrational ideas is to at least acknowledge that I have them. Then I can work to battle these ideas with not only knowledge, but also a little bit of apathy.
Because really, who cares if I am not gaining weight at the rate which keeps me the most lean at all times? Nobodyyyy! Nobody even looks at my body on a regular basis except me and my coach (#singleAF)!
Back to the skinny thing though–
The stranger’s words rung in my ears with a strange sadness. I stumbled over my reply.
I knew she was just trying to compliment me, so I felt like saying thanks was the polite thing to do.
But after months and months of training to build a strong, muscular physique, the word “skinny” just doesn’t sound like a compliment to me anymore.
I didn’t like that word being used describe my body! I don’t want to look “skinny” anymore. I want to look muscular. I want a body that can lift heavy things. I want a butt that my Cuban family would be proud to claim as its progeny. To have these things, I need to make gains!
These desires are also helpful in combating my negative thoughts. I know that eating more and lifting weights is not going to make me fat or “bulky.” In fact, you can see how difficult it has been since my competition to gain weight!
My transformation goals are more than physical. My coach and I are continuing to work on building muscle by adding more calories every week and tapering down activity. We are also continuing to work on being more flexible in my approach to eating.
These transformations will be much harder to achieve if I’m blocking myself mentally. So most importantly, I am working toward transforming my negative thoughts about my body.