Saturday, June 19, 2010
I've always thought of myself as someone with a healthy outlook on life and, for the most part, I am. However, over the last couple of weeks I realised that my attitude had become a little skewed.
When I started my Spark journey a couple of months ago, I'd just lost a few pounds but was still another few over my 'happy weight' (the weight I never had to try to be at until I turned 30!). When I set up my account I set a goal of getting down to 112 pounds - my happy weight is 117 - but I thought, well, I'll lose a bit extra, so I've got some pounds to play with.
Since I joined, I've been eating better and exercising far more than I have in years. As a knock on effect, I've found myself sleeping better, with more energy and with an almost undentable positive outlook on life.
With my newfound sense of wellbeing, I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised that a couple of things have happened recently that have caused me to re-evaluate my goals:
1. One evening I was sitting in front of my computer catching up on celebrity gossip (I know, I know, total trash but hey, I'm a girl with very few other vices!). I found myself looking at pictures of Cheryl Cole. Cheryl is an undeniably beautiful woman with a figure I suppose, subconsciously, I've aspired to. Suddenly, it really was as though a light switched on in my head - the woman is too thin - I DO NOT WANT TO LOOK LIKE THAT! I contrasted these pictures with some of Katy Perry, a very slender woman, no doubt but one with muscles and curves who looks like she could fight off a cold or dance all night. Hmmm....interesting, I thought.
2. A few days later I was putting on my training shoes to go to the gym. As I tied my lace my leg tensed and I noticed that I had....a calf muscle!!! I've only been flabby (whether big or small) for as long as I can remember so this was big news to me - and I was so happy with it!
I had never thought of myself as one of those women who's scared of muscle but, I started to realise, that's exactly the way I had been. I'd wanted the 'lollipop' look, impossibly skinny with no discernible muscle tone - what was I thinking?!
3. With my new opinions on muscle, I went along to try a Body Pump class. This class is on a Friday morning, so very quiet. In fact, there were only three other people in attendance. The first was a young woman I've seen a lot in the gym, she joined about 18 months ago. I remember seeing her and admiring her commitment. She was heavy and out of shape; she'd come in, set the treadmill on a slight incline and walk - red in the face and sweaty - she never gave up. I started missing the gym so went I went back a few months ago, I was shocked by the change in her - she looked like an athlete and was working out as hard and fast as one ! I remember thinking to myself that she must have worked out and dieted sooo hard. It had never occurred to me that weight training might have played a part in this. I got talking to her and, to my surprise, she told me that she credited a large part of her 50 pound weight loss (and keeping it off) to pumping iron! When I got a close up look at her I realised, yes she's tiny but she is all (extremely feminine) lean muscle.
The other two people were a lovely, retired couple who helped me set up my barbell and explained the format of the class. When we got started, I was not surprised that athlete-girl could lift far heavier weights than me but I was surprised that the older couple were too....as was the instructor (fair enough, you might think, but I should add that she is seven months pregnant!!). I had to stick with the warm-up weights for the entire class - I'm a weakling!!! But am I embarrassed? Nope, not really, just glad I've found out and hugely inspired to stay a healthy size and get strong, rather than skinny!
I'm now at my happy weight and, thanks to the mental strength Spark has given me, I don't want to go below it. Instead I'm starting on a new phase of my journey, focusing on eating right and getting strong. I never in a million years want to look masculine or like a bodybuilder, but I sure don't want to look like a lollipop either!
Thanks for reading, hope you're having a wonderful weekend,