It’s been awhile, I know. Life. Anyway, because the Internet never forgets, Facebook decided to remind me of my chunky days. Before this “memory” I felt like I looked basically the same. However, you see the progress. Let’s discuss.
I have always said that I have reverse body dysmorphia. By reverse I mean, no matter what my weight is, I think I look the same. My clothes have a tendency to disagree. Haters, I know. Like most other Americans, I eat my feelings. After I finished law school in 2012 I was unemployed for about 7 months. I had nothing but time. Time to think. Time to think about my feelings; then eat them. By the time I got a job in 2013, my weight had ballooned to nearly 190lbs and a size 14/16. At 5’4, 190lbs is fat. Don’t get me wrong; I was still cute. I was cute but also fat. I used my first paycheck to join Weight Watchers. My goal was to get back to my “normal” weight which was somewhere around 165lbs and a size 12.
Due to my OCD, I was able to obsessively track my food using the app and website. I never attended a meeting. Why would I do that? I didn’t need to talk about being fat. I just needed to not be fat. I digress. I dropped nearly 20lbs in about 3 months, losing another 10lbs in the subsequent 2-3 months. Not only did I get back to my original size 12, I got down to a size 10. For some context, on the first day of 9th grade the jeans I wore were a size 16. By sophomore year I was a size 12 and I stayed a size 12 from then until I got my law degree. Once I got to a size 10, I stayed somewhat on track and got down to a size 8. I literally have never been a single digit size in my adult life, or maybe in my entire life. I’m pretty sure I was born plus size. Throughout my entire “journey” and especially after I posted the side-by-side picture I had several people ask me how I did it. So, keep reading for my tips.
Before I share my tips, let me say, I realize that I am writing from a position privilege. I have had 2 jobs that subsidized health club memberships. I had the money to pay the remaining balances. Since I’m unmarried and childless, I have the ability to workout before or after work and on the weekends. I’m able bodied and relatively healthy. I live in a major city that has an infinite number of fitness options and ability to reach them easily. I have devices and the ability to connect to the Internet. I could go on but you’ve got it. My privilege has been checked. Following are a few tips that I’ve learned all my fitness journey.
- Set a goal. Having a goal will keep you motivated. Start simple. Maybe it’s a certain weight or dress size. Once you hit that goal, set another one (DJ Khaled’s voice). Being that I’ve hit my size goals, now I’m working on toning. Lord willing, I’ll be traveling to some warm places next year and I plan on wearing a bikini (and looking good.)
- Track your progress. You can use an app or an old school pen and notepad to see how you are doing. Seeing progress will keep you motivated. With Weight Watchers you weigh in weekly and the app tracks your progress. My Fitness Pal and the Fit Bit have similar trackers. I loved the Weight Watchers app because it would send me push notifications that had made me feel enough pressure to be motivated.
- Find your wave and be honest. Find what you love. Warning: it may not be easy at first. When I first joined New York Health & Racquet Club I took nearly every class. I tried, step, kick boxing, Fluidity barre, sculpting, “body burn,” cardio, etc. I took pilates on a friend’s recommendation. I also tried to just workout on my own by hitting a few of the machines and using weights. That was an epic fail. I came to love pilates, barre and fitness classes in general. Part of finding your wave is also learning what time of day is best for you. I’m an after work or weekend morning kinda girl. Maybe you prefer 6AM Crossfit or lunchtime yoga. In the words of Drake, be you.
- Don’t be self-conscious. When I first contemplated joining a gym I was very nervous that it would just be a bunch super fit people and me. That’s only partially true. I quickly learned that most skinny people are just skinny. They’re not necessarily fit. A lot of times they can’t lift heavy weights and have no flexibility. That’s another reason why I love barre because you can’t tell who is going to be good by looking at them. I’ve frequently thought to myself, “girl, you may be skinny but wait till I bust this split.”
- Invest. Join the nicest gym or studio you can afford. Amenities make everything better; trust me. Also, get the best workout apparel you can afford. Good workout apparel serves two purposes. First, the best workout clothes will keep you comfortable. As comfortable as you can be in a fitness class. Moisture wicking material and maximum support sports bras are better than old college tees and the soft bralettes sold at Old Navy. The second purpose of proper attire is that it will make you feel less self-conscious. Think in group vs. out group. (Can you tell I concentrated in sociology?) If you’re in a high-end studio, everyone will have on proper workout gear and you being dressed like you’re throwing out the trash will be a huge red flag that you don’t belong. Belong.
- Commit. Treat working out like an obligation not an option. Just like you wouldn’t miss dinner with a friend or grocery shopping for no reason, don’t miss a workout. Once you make it part of your routine it will become part of your life and it will stop being a struggle.
What are some of your favorite workout tips? Comment below and let me know!