For as long as I could remember I’ve cared about my body. As a young child I was thicker and curvy. I wasn’t aware of it until men started sexualizing my body. My own Mom said once that she wished she could lock me and my sister up and never let us out because we were going to be “fine” and men were going to be after us. We were 7 and 5. Thanks to moving a lot as a child I remember ages by what house or apartment we lived in at the time. As an adult a lot of shit just sounds hella creepy and problematic.
At the end of what was considered elementary (6th grade) I started playing volleyball. I was eleven. My body changed from thick and curvy to thin and muscular. This was how I liked myself. I stayed active through junior high and high school running track, playing tennis, and volleyball. My dad was most active in my life at this time. He, himself was an athlete (blog for another day).
There was no Serena for me to look up to when I started to get “too muscular” I tried to change the way that I ate. I felt like I looked “manly” and it wasn’t what men wanted. I still wanted to be a girl. I was that teen that went to one of those high schools where beauty standards and trends were a thing. If you’ve ever played sports then you know you HAVE TO EAT. I wasn’t eating in an effort to trim down and soften my body. Don’t feed the muscles and they won’t grow. That was my ignorant thinking. All I did was develop an eating disorder and made myself sick during some games. How I was MVP is beyond me. This lasted until I was out of high school.
Sports went away but I was still determined to “stay in shape” which for me just meant never making it to double digit jeans. I still had no idea how to do this the healthy way. I ate whatever I wanted and would do Saturday morning runs at a park up the street from where I lived. So, here is a visual. I’m 5’4”. I was probably 90lbs soaking wet in elementary. I went to middle school at 111 and made it to 125 in high school. I graduated at 135. I stayed at that weight until I was 26, where I finally knocked on about 145. If I'd known better, I would have realized that I wasn't genetically made up to be "fat."
Life started to happen and love, heartbreak, depression, drinking, smoking, and work took over. I smoked black and milds and cigarettes from 18-24. I drank heavily until I was 30. I continued to drink after 31 but I was no longer going through bottles like they were water. I stopped doing any types of activities and that 145 went to 155. I was married by this time and my partner did not like working out. My life consisted of eating pizza and wings as often as I pleased and a snack was a whole pack of dinner rolls with butter.
My best friend came to visit me and we went shopping. I tried on so many shirts, dresses, and jeans and all I felt was gross. I didn’t buy anything that day. This still was not enough to get me back into fitness. I wasn’t happy in my life so the motivation couldn’t find me. I was at my heaviest. I’m sure I went home and ate that day. My body has never had a grey area. I'm either rail thin or fat is stored where it’s the most unflattering: my waist and back.
*insert drama here*
I got out of my marriage and the journey of getting back to me began. It was not a pretty one. I talk A LOT of shit about my ex but she took my verbal abuse when I found my way back to a gym. Those first workouts made me feel like all I wanted to do was pass out, puke, and cry. We learned we couldn’t work out together (yet) but she supported me in my lane until I could level up to be the beast I used to be. I've had two shoulder injuries and she pushed me through the pain. She'd even assist me w/ pullups because I'll never be able to do them on my own again. I'm going to keep trying though. I don't accept defeat. She’d walk past me and fist bump me, make a face of approval when I picked up heavy weight, and peek at my form or correct it so that my workouts weren’t counterproductive or in vain. Squats= “Ass to grass” as she so pleasantly put it. I’m forever grateful. Now I intimidate men in the gym and it is HILARIOUS. My little ass walks in and picks up a fifty pound dumbbell and they grab a 70 even though they can't lift it. Do you, bro. LOL
Further Kudos goes to Danielle Doss (Facebook) for the best meal plan ever. And WALFITNESS on IG for the free and random advice and encouragement.
Working out keeps me disciplined and consistent. When you look good to you, you feel good TO YOU. People on the outside thought I looked fine, but I didn’t feel fine and when I looked in a mirror I was displeased because I knew who I could be. You have to do what works for your own self-esteem. It’s never easy to admit you hate certain things about yourself, but you’re human.
You always have the power to change it if you have the will to.
When you’re ready. Here is what I learned:
Lots of veggies
NO FRIED FOOD
Pasta (light carbs)
Snacks (when you feel hungry between meals)
Blue corn chips
NO PAIN. NO GAIN.