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A lot of women spend their lives wanting to be and thinking about being thin. They look at the scale and judge their progress, sometimes even their worth, by what the scale says. As a teen I was naturally very thin, some might have even described me as scrawny. On more than one occasion I was accused of being anorexic. I wasn’t. I ate footlong subs almost daily and was never full. But as I entered my twenties I started to get more concerned with maintaining my figure. At the time, I just wanted to stay thin. It wouldn’t be until I turned 29 that I decided I wanted to be strong.
Becoming strong isn’t as straightforward as lift progressively heavier weight. The more you lift the more fuel your body demands. To put on muscle sometimes you put on fat as your body requires more calories. Women especially can have a tendency to put on body fat as they put on muscle because of the delicate hormonal balance which nudges us toward having higher fat reserves. So at the outset of your fitness journey, you need to decide what your goals are. Are you interested in getting stronger or are you interested in getting thinner?
If you choose getting stronger be aware that you may put on body fat and be okay with it. Judge your progress not by what the scale says but by what your body can do. Judge your progress by how heavy your deadlift is, how heavy a sled you can push, and how much weight you can throw overhead. After you’ve reached some of your strength goals reassess your overall goals.
And don’t feel bad, many athletes who are incredibly capable have gone through the same thing. It’s just a matter of adjusting your routine once you reached your strength goals. I’ve discussed this before but depending on your body type you may have to add more cardio, or just more variability, once you have decided to work on losing body fat.
For me, it has meant doing an aerobic activity at least three times a week and strength training twice a week. At first, I did miss lifting because I enjoy it so much but I’ve noticed that my lifts are actually still improving, while I’m losing body fat. Only two weeks in and I already notice a big difference. I find ways to burn at least 500 calories every day. Either with traditional exercise or through just moving around all day long.
Anyway, I’m feeling good so far. I dropped soda and started holding myself more accountable. It’s been hard to write anything the last couple of months. I suppose I was going through a grieving process but I think I’m coming out the other side. I don’t think I would have been able to get through the summer if I had been strong, to begin with. So don’t underestimate the power of being strong ladies. Lift heavy things, eat good food, and conquer the world.