Let’s be honest: I wasn’t made to be skinny. Ever since I was a baby I’ve always been on the chubby side. Scratch that: as a baby I was fat. Very fat. So fat that I didn’t fit into the disposable diapers of the 1980s. I quickly lost my baby fat when I started walking, but as I got older I would find out that I have a tendency to easily gain weight. In fact, gaining weight is a lot easier for me than losing it. I look at models in magazines and other skinny girls and sometimes I envy them, but at the same time I also pity them. There are days where I love my curves, but there’s also days when I don’t. Here’s what I do to stay sane.
When I was 12, I had to see a school doctor. The first thing I was told during that meeting was that I would have to watch what I eat as I would have a tendency to easily gain weight. According to her, it was part of my gene pool. 16 years later, I know she was right. During my student days I quickly put on weight. By the end of it I nearly weighed 70 kilos (or 140 pounds) and wore a size 42 (UK size 14, US size 12). Way too much for someone measuring 1.56 (or 5″1). I got sick and lost all of it and more in less than 2 months. I started gaining weight the minute I started working out again and that whole episode left me wanting to never be that big ever again. Not because I strive to be a size 0, but because I want to feel good about myself. And I feel best when I weigh less and can fit into a size 38 – 40 (depends on the store and fit of the clothes).
The first thing I try to do is to not let myself go crazy when I gain weight or when certain clothes may not fit. I lost quite some weight almost a year ago. That’s when I first dabbled around with cutting down (processed) carbs due to constant stomachaches. One additional benefit, apart from no more cramps, was that I lost weight. Slowly but surely, I got myself down to what I wore when I was 16. For the first time in more than 10 years and what was best: I didn’t gain any of it back until I started slacking. Because slacking I did.
In June, July and August, sticking to my low carb routine became tough. For about 4 weeks I had at least two dinners, birthday parties or other social occasions to go to per week and then I went on vacation for 2.5 weeks, quickly followed by a music festival. And then it becomes tough to always leave the bread alone, or to not eat a bowl of pasta. To make matters worse, my lack of a steady schedule and no dance classes for 2 months meant that I didn’t work out enough. But when I came back from vacation I decided: screw it. There’s nothing I can do about it right now. I’ll start up my low carb & steady workout schedule once I’m back into the swing of things come September.
Sure I could have decided to start straight away, but I like enjoying myself. I’m not willing to torture myself just to fit into a pair of pants or to look a certain way. That’s a choice I made and I find that I enjoy myself more when I’m not constantly thinking about what to eat or how many times I’ve been to gym. It was vacation after all. To compare: over summer I ate carbs pretty much every day and in 2 months I only worked out 4 times. Before my vacation and right now, I only eat carbs once or twice a week and work out 4 hours per week, with the potential of making it 5. I know that keeping up that schedule is doable, without too much effort and in about 2 months I will be back to my pre-summer fit body without any cramps.
Another rule of thumb I use is my wardrobe. That’s right. I use my clothes to see where I’m at. That and the image in the mirror (which I have to admit I like better some days than others). I haven’t believed in scales and weight ever since I lost weight from being sick, became the skinniest I had been in years, and stayed that way even though the scales went up and up as I gained muscle through regular workouts. The number on the scale is complete nonsense. Before summer I weighed in at 67 kilos, but I am nowhere near fitting into a size 42 like I was a few years ago.
Muscle simply weighs more than fat. Since I am now fitter than I have ever been I weigh a bit more, but without the added centimeters. And this will most likely continue as I have taken up weightlifting for the first time in my life. Again, not to become a bodybuilder, but to gain some upper body strength to alleviate my chronically tense shoulders. In the process I hope that it will help me get a bit more toned, but that would just be an added bonus.
I find that losing weight or getting toned works best for me when I make something other than that my main goal. I become less fixated on my waistline/ body image and am happy with whatever progress I make. Of course I got frustrated when I found that my black skinny jeans were quite tight last August, but now, only 3 weeks into my routine, I’ve put them on again and I can already tell they are a bit looser on me. I’m not quite there yet, but I can definitely tell the difference and I take satisfaction from that and it makes me want to continue doing what I’m doing.
So be satisfied with the progress you make even though it’s little. The steps you take have to be small. Losing too much weight in one go is simply not good for you and will only make you gain more when you do. And be happy with yourself no matter what. You have to love yourself first before you can make a change. At least that’s what works for me. Thinking: I have to lose weight because I have to be skinny, has only made me put on weight, not lose it. When I switched to: I want to be fit because it makes me feel good to work out, and: I want to eat differently because I don’t want anymore cramps, life became so much easier.
And I know I can do this and stick to this because it’s how I like it. With no work outs over summer I felt tired more quickly, my asthma played up more often and I had less energy. With eating carbs, came the return of stomachaches and cramps. I know that I simply feel better without the bread, pasta, rice and potatoes and 3 weekly work outs. The fact that my waistline will shrink as a result is just an added bonus. With that said: I will never be a skinny girl wearing a size 0 and rock hard abs. For one, I wasn’t made to be that way. Secondly, I would have to sacrifice too much to get there. And that, to me, is simply not worth it. There’s more to life and a person than what size clothes you wear or what the scales are saying.