So I'm not a huge fan of "serious" posts, but after thinking about it for the last couple of days, I think this one needs to happen-- if for no other reason than to just get my thoughts out and hopefully be able to look back at this post one day and see how far I've come. [Sidenote: before reading this please know I didn't write this post to hear complements about myself, in fact I don't want that. Because then that means you've missed the point!]
Here's the thing: I have a goal in mind. I know what I want my body to look like one day, that day that I get to a point of maintenance. (Not to say one day I'm going to be the champion of the world who reaches her ultimate physique goal and is then stuck goal-less for the rest of her life. But, I do think a day will come where I'm just happy with where I am and I won't need to lean out, or gain muscle, at least for a little while.) And I also know that it's going to take me a while to get there. Not only is it going to take a while, it's going to take hard work, sacrifice, and dedication, all of which I'm completely okay with. The part that's got me not feeling myself right now is that in order to reach my goals, I have to let go of feeling and looking a certain way, at least for a little while.
It's pretty simple, in order to put on muscle (especially on a small person like me) I have to bust my butt in the gym, lift heavy,eliminate cardio and eat eat eat. In the muscle building process it's extremely hard for me to maintain the leanness I have in the summer or around photo shoots because I'm eating at a surplus in order to gain muscle. So, for the past couple of years I have gone through "phases" where I will try to build muscle over the winter months and then switch into fat burning mode as spring starts to roll around. It's a great plan that has been working, but it's during those winter months (NOW) that I find myself struggling.
I'm uncomfortable. Any time I gain, it's in my core and since I have a short torso to begin with it makes it 10x worse. I don't like that my obliques don't pop. I don't like that I don't have the vertical line down my abs. I hate that I can grab back fat. It kills me. Knowing what being lean feels like is almost a curse because I want to feel that way all the time, but I know realistically that isn't possible. Such a mind game.
Now to be honest, I think I've only put on about 5-7 pounds, some of which is muscle, all my clothes still fit, and chances are people that see me every day don't notice much of a difference, but that doesn't mean I don't feel it. I know what I'm doing, I know why I'm doing it, and I keep reminding myself of the process every time I get down on myself-- but I'd be lying if I said I didn't have days that I just want to say F it, and go do some cardio!
This process makes me realize that there is so much more to 'health' than just eating right and working out. To be truly healthy, you have to have a healthy mind too. I love that I'm gaining muscle, I'm getting stronger, and nurturing my metabolism and the temporary side effects that come with that are just that: Temporary. Now I just need my mind to accept that and be okay with it :)
This process also makes me realize there are a lot of life processes outside of fitness that can make you feel this way... the feeling of being a little uncomfortable for a period of time in order to reach a goal. I'm actually in the middle of this in another aspect of my life, but that's a different post!
With the holiday season upon us, I'm going to try my best to count my blessings and be happy with my body- a little extra fluff and all. I'm going to be thankful that I even have the opportunity to go through this process-- that I have the knowledge, commitment, and strength to do it. That I have access to the healthy foods that fuel my body and mind and make it possible for me to reach my goals. And for the support that I have and people constantly lifting me up. I know it will all work out in the end and I just need to enjoy the ride through the ups and the downs, because in the end the ups and downs is what makes achieving the goal that much more fulfilling.
I have a feeling I'm not the only one that may feel this way, whether it relates to fitness or not, so I hope this post can help those of you that may be second guessing yourself and just know you're not in it alone!