I started this post as one piece, but the more I wrote the more I realized that it was too long, so I am going to break down into smaller pieces and post the others later on this week.
WeightI 've always been extremely skinny, as in “so skinny that people would ask my mother in hushed tones if I had an eating disorder.” However, I was very healthy and my doctor never worried about my weight. The only time he ever raised an eye-brow was right before I moved to Missouri for college and I had dropped from 105pounds down to barely 95pounds. He said it was just stress but as long as I put the weight back on, once things mellowed out, then I was fine. He was right, of course, once I settled into college life I put the weight back on, and then some. Forget the Freshman 15, try the Freshman 25. I got up to almost 120, which for some people isn't a bad weight, but for it was for me. Especially since it was fat. Not muscle, fat.
I am extremely short and tiny featured, so I am not made to have a lot of extra hanging around. Even just 5pounds shows up on me and stands out like a duck on a peacock farm. Part of this gain was to due to the school's food. I didn't know it at the time but 98% of the food comes from cans and packages, nothing was fresh and being up north made even most of the fruit taste bad. I had never counted calories or paid attention to how much of this or that I was eating, when I had cooked or my mom did, I knew that the food was healthy for me. Nothing was fried, butter was hardly used, low on oils and fat, while high on veggies. Sure, every once in a while something would be "bad" for us, but it was so rare that it didn't matter. Mom, when you read this, THANK YOU! Now, it wasn't only the fault of the school, it was bad choices on my part. Coke was something I never drank at home, maybe once every couple of months when we'd go out to eat or at a friends party, never even weekly. So oh boy! Imagine me when I saw I could have this treat whenever I wanted, in an endless supply! At first I only drank one a day...then I was drinking it with every meal that I ate at the cafeteria. I had no idea how bad it was for my weight, I knew the sugar was bad but I never dreamed it would show its affects so quickly. So throw in bad, processed, high food that I wasn't use to, endless supply of coke, late nights, little sleep, and then tons of stress, and you get a tiny girl who is suddenly not so tiny and super stressed and always tired.
So after a semester of putting on weight and dealing with a whole new life of living on my own, I was wore out, I was sick and tired of being stressed and feeling gross. So I did something new and scary, I went to the schools gym for the first time. I walked into really fast to scan my ID card and then quickly walked to the very last treadmill that was up against the wall and NOT visible from the giant windows that overlooked the basketball court. I quickly fell in love with running. It was so relaxing and fun, plus the weight started coming off again! Then, that April, I decided to try out for college cheer-leading. I didn't make it, but just barely. I couldn't dance cheer style, I could do all the stunting and was very out going but my dancing was really not near the quality it should have been. But I still tried and did pretty well! Something I would have never dreamed of doing . So, I kept running and really stretching a lot, becoming really flexible again. I was looking great and feeling even better.
Falling down againFast forward to the summer, I needed a place to stay for the summer since the dorms were so expensive to stay in. So I got a job at a summer camp. It was great, I loved all my co-workers, I loved the work, and I loved the kids. But I put on weight again. I was stressed from not being able to see my boyfriend or really even talk to him, since I wasn't allowed to use my cell phone except on my one hour break a day and it was usually when he was sleeping or if I had a day break, it was during his work hours. I was still struggling with issues from my past that made me really insecure at times and needed something to hold on to. So a new job and new people, were great, except for the fact I lost the constant support of the one person that I really needed. So, again, stress and food everywhere. When you have 30 little kids, all wanting to make you s'mores, you can't eat all of them but you are expected to eat a lot of them; every week of summer! Then, the house that the staff stayed in during breaks and the weekends, was always full of food. Junk food, constantly. I was so tired after all the stuff I did with my kids and working, that on my break I'd just grab the nearest "comfort" food and pig out while laying on a couch. Each and every time I'd feel guilty and try to justify that I was getting a good work out constantly with the kids.
Running and WeightsSo, after the summer I had put on a half the weight that I had lost the previous semester. Then, at the beginning of the semester I was recruited to join the track and cross-country team. I was so excited! I loved it! I was able to run as much as I wanted and then some. I threw up every day of my first week of practice, but I loved it. Sadly, due to my job and not being offered a scholarship since I hadn't done official tryouts or ran in highschool, I had to drop it after one semester. I talked to my "coach", not my running coach but the one who over sees the whole gym, about doing strength training and he started me lifting weights. The first week was easy...the next three of my "pre-training training" was not so easy. I was so sore and could barely sit down let alone stand up, causing much laughter at work when I nearly feel down trying to stand up from a break! I' learned so much about my own strengths though, I had never done a "real" push up before; I didn't even know I could do one. During that first day I had to do almost 30! My self confidence soared with every work out. At first I was really really uncomfortable working out with my little tiny weights around all those big guys with their weights that almost weighted as much as I did and in some cases more than me! Brian noticed this and quickly nipped that in the bud. He let me work out in his corner where his desk was for the first week but gave me the best advice "Sydney, you cannot let those boys scare you. You are an athlete just like them. Throw your weight around and act like you belong here and they will respect you. Just be confident and relax". I did and now I am so comfortable in the gym that sometimes I just hang out there before and after my workouts. I can joke with the guys, ask questions if I don't understand a certain workout, and even share equipment with them. I've even gotten in "bike races" with a volleyball player. I won of course! ( I think he might have let me though...but we don't know that for certain!)
I use to be scared to lift weights, I just KNEW that I would turn into an Amazon woman and look gross and manly! While I can throw around some pretty heavy weights, you couldn't tell by looking at me. After 6 months of this you can just now start to see light definition on my arms. As in so light that my coach called it a shadow. Now when I am actually lifting the weights you can see a good amount of tone and muscle but nothing scary or gross! I actually like having a little definition and the boyfriend certainly isn't complaining about the new look!
Have you struggled with your weight in the past (or Currently)? Do you have a favorite work out? When you first starting going to the gym did the more fit people scare you?
Coming next: Cross-training and Yoga!