How I Transitioned from Under Eating to GAINING Weight and Muscle
If I could JUST lose the weight...
I had this fantasy pre-weight loss that once I achieved my goal weight, my life would be all rainbows and butterflies.
If I could just change this one thing, everything would be great. Turns out, that wasn’t the case.
Not only was my personal life still messy and complicated, but I still wasn’t happy in my body.
Part of this was mindset. I didn’t love myself and therefore I wasn’t going to love my body no matter what it looked like. The other part was that I had become a little skinny-fat. You probably know the term- I could fit a tiny dress size, but I still looked soft and flabby.
To address my discontent, I decided I could stand to lose a little more weight after reaching my initial goal. After that, I was hesitant and even scared to bring my calories up to a maintenance level and therefore continued (albeit slowly) to lose weight.
At my lowest, I weighed about 112lbs. When I see pictures of myself from that time, I cringe. I looked gaunt and stringy, and worst of all:
I felt sure I was one piece of cake away from "fat."
What about muscle?
In 2016 I met Rob. My mom calls him Captain America. 6’2” with a muscley frame that he’s been building in the gym for like, ever. He’s a strong dude, inside and out. Rob gave me the push I needed to not only quit losing weight, but gain some weight back and add resistance training to my fitness routine.
I found women like Jesse Hilgenberg, Katie Corio, and Lauren Findley - gorgeous ladies with curves of muscle. Strong, but not manly, and most definitely not fat. The message they delivered was clear- you get there by eating a little more to build muscle and you stimulate muscle growth via weight training.
I’m not ashamed to admit that adding calories was scary! I’d worked so hard to lose weight and the mere possibility of ending back at square-one terrified me. In hindsight, I can see that this fear was irrational, but it was also very normal. It’s a huge mindset shift! However, change IS uncomfortable, right?
Heavier, STRONGER, Happier
Today I sit at 137lbs. That’s 25lbs (GASP) that I’ve very intentionally put on over two years. And guess what? I’m more confident in my body than I’ve EVER been. I eat foods I love and I actually enjoy my workout routine.
Those two years have been a tough road of repairing my relationship both with food and my body. FYI, still not perfect, but I continue to strive for balance. I can now track my food without using it as a reward/punishment system. I've gotten (mostly) comfortable with seeing the number on the scale go up. I respect my body so much more since seeing what it's capable of in the gym.
Although I consider my weight loss to be a huge success and turning point in my life, if I could do it over, I would have done things slightly differently. Hindsight is 20/20. I’ll get into some of the details of this in future posts, but for now, suffice it to say that gaining muscle has been key to improving my body composition, outlook, and overall confidence.
I’m still adding more muscle to my body. I currently eat at a slight caloric surplus. I follow a 4 day/week lifting schedule and run ~4miles 2 days/week. I also like the challenge of an occasional bootcamp, yoga, or barre class.