For the past few years, I’ve been working my ass off at building my mental strength after falling to pieces. My academic strength to learn my future career.
In the beginning of the pandemic, I went HARD on working out. I bought a Peloton, I did a virtual run club with friends, etc. etc. And then I froze my eggs in June. (WTF is time any more? That feels now like it was years ago.) I couldn’t work out for a month, which was both frustrating and kind of nice all at once after going hard for years. Y’all, do you know how much time you get back when you don’t work out?!
I gained weight after my mom got sick, then some after she died, and I haven’t lost it. Nor have I really tried. My mental health has been more important, frankly.
I know better, yet I still jump on the scale sometimes, and am generally disappointed by the number. There’s a comment from a friend on an old post that stands out in my mind, though: “there’s women who would kill to be your size.”
If I weren’t comparing myself to others or past me, I’d really be mostly OK with my body and how it looks right now. (Yet, I’d be lying if as I was sitting here thinking of writing about what this body withstood…if my mind didn’t drift off to the Theodora that ran half-marathons like they were nothing.) Something my therapist said a few weeks ago applies to…a lot. “How would you feel about [x], Theodora, if you weren’t comparing yourself to someone else or your past self?”
Putting all of that aside! After being cleared to work out again, I decided I wanted to start strength training again. Even though I have my NASM personal training certification and know how to put together strength workouts…I find them boring and have a hard time finishing them by myself. Including/especially following some kind of streaming workout. Oh you want me to do another circuit? Nah, I’m good. (I fully understand the purpose of circuit training, but.)
My friend Liz is one of the smartest trainers I know. I met her at Uplift (RIP), and it actually turns out we’re both from Franklin Lakes, in weird small-world coincidences. She has a million and a half certs, but maybe more importantly, she is constantly reading and looking for the latest information on fitness and nutrition. She is very anti-fad and shiny thing. So when I started thinking about strength training, I knew I wanted to try working with her and would trust working with her over video when she can’t correct my form in person. Turns out she has some excellent rates right now—much less than an IRL trainer would be.
We’ve been working out together for about a month right now, and I don’t know if my body’s changed much from strength training once a week, but I feel better about it. Things feel a little tighter, and I’m noticing my muscles, not my fat.
There’s something Grace wrote last year that has stuck with me: when we say “flattering,” so often what’s underlying is: “that makes you look thin.”
A few weeks ago, my friend’s husband rented a boat for her birthday. It probably would have been one of the highlights of my summer even if there weren’t a pandemic, but after doing nothing for months, going on a yacht that cruised past my apartment, up to Malibu and back, was an utter delight. I asked my friend to take a picture of me, and when she gave me back my phone I did. not. like. this picture. It’s not “flattering” as in I think it makes me look bigger than I actually am.
But it also shows that I am happy as a clam to be on a boat with friends in this amazing place I’m lucky enough to call home now. Am I cozy and happy? Yes and yes.
In short: I’m trying to stop wasting time judging my body, and also strength training feels really good and empowering right now. (Bonus: it may also help with depressive symptoms!)