Oh boy. Strap yourselves in for some vanity, because I’ve been working on this shit (my body) for nearly seven, eight years now.
Before I start, though, the relevant backstory about my weight, my body, and my food/gym habits (which, content warning for probably excessive exercise/food talk, and brief mention of disordered eating, so skip down to the bold if you don’t want to read all that)
I was overweight in middle school. Probably borderline obese, but definitely overweight. This stayed until about junior year of high school when I started running cross country. It was the thinnest I had ever been, and to be honest I’m not sure I’m as thin now as I was then, but I’m so much happier now.
And then college. And the weight gain. Again. I went to the (very fancy) gym off and on during undergrad, mostly doing group exercise classes or hanging out with a friend. In grad school, fed up with how I felt (like shit), I started being more serious about working out, doing intramurals, and calorie counted/tracked for the first time.
The last one was helpful in that it showed me where a lot of empty calories were coming from, but it also sparked disordered eating. (Not that it sparks disordered eating for everyone, but my own mental health was already primed for it–thanks OCD!). I ended up going to a counselor who specialized in eating disorders, and I’m in a much better place with food now (way fewer food rules, I don’t chastise myself if I eat “bad” foods, or too late at night, etc) I don’t calorie count now, but do focus on a minimally processed, only-drink-water-or-tea diet. (To be fair, soda tastes nasty and always kind of has to me. And while I use to drink alcohol more regularly, technically I shouldn’t with my thyroid meds, so giving that up was two-fold good for me) (I will go to town on a good sour beer, though, sooooooo not a complete teetotaler). And I try to only consume desserts I’ve baked myself (but I still eat dessert pretty much every damn day).
Anyway! So after grad school, I was within walking distance from a gym, so I continued doing group exercise classes. Eventually, though, I started just straight up lifting. And oh. My. God. It has been one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself.
I’m way more confident now, because I know I can lift heavy shit up and put it back down. I’m more focused on what I can do, versus what I look like.
Granted, the aesthetic changes have been nice–in total I’ve lost 40 pounds, since grad school, and maintained that weight loss for the past two. And now it’s just a lifestyle.
What bit (or bits) of your body do you like (or at the very least, don’t feel too negatively inclined toward)? Why do you feel that way?
I love the way my shoulders, back and traps look. Shoulders are the new cleavage, and all that.
I’m still working on my back, albeit more indirectly (UNASSISTED PULL UP, I AM COMING FOR YOU!), but I’m damn pleased with the way I look. (Also I should clearly be ashamed of that underwear choice, but clearance!)
As to why: because I know the hard work I put in to look like that. Consistent gym days. Constant improvement and pushing myself.
What bits of you have others (friends, partners, etc.) told you they liked? Did they tell you why they liked them?
I get a lot of compliments on my hair. It’s curly, and in the past few months I’ve changed up my hair routine to actually let those curls down instead of always being up in a braid. (Such editing skillz on this day two hair photo)
I can’t remember any body-specific compliments, but I have been catcalled because of my legs a lot
How do you feel when someone compliments your body, particularly a bit that you yourself are less keen on?
“Thanks! I think so, too!”
However, there aren’t many parts of my body I’m less keen on these days, so it’s easier to accept compliments.