I'm sick of worrying about how much I weigh. I'm not special here; most people (men and women) get caught up in what they think is important or attractive. We think that our partners will desire us more if we weigh less, that our lives will be better if we were smaller or that we'd feel more self confident. At my ripe age of 33, I think I'm finally coming to terms with my body and self image and I wanted to share some lessons I've learned (Plus a few I am working on).
I started lifting for the first time when I started crossfit. At first, it was terribly intimidating. Just the thought of dropping things or screwing up in front of people gave me terrible anxiety. The first few months of starting weight lifting can be rough if you're at a gym with lots of skilled athletes that lift way more than you. The thing to remember is that they all have been through exactly what you've been through. More times than not, I've found other skilled athletes are supportive and get just as excited to see you make that heavy lift you struggled with. They want to share your records!
When I quit crossfit (money reasons mostly), the thing I missed was the lifting. Olympic and power lifting gave me a chance to have my brain shut down. I had to hyper-focus. All my energy was pinpointed on breathing and lifting. For someone like me, a type A, INTJ, who's in my head all the time, it was a great relief to be able to escape that temporarily. Some people meditate, I need to lift heavy things and put them back down. It's an active meditative process.
So, now I'm 33 and just starting back up again with lifting after about a 2 year hiatus. The same exhilaration is there, but this time I have a better grasp of why I need it. I've struggled with body image my whole life and frankly, I still do. There are days where I feel completely inadequate, un-sexy, and just plain grossed out by myself. I have a wonderful partner who is trying to teach me to think through these emotions and break this cycle using logic. I now know that weightlifting gives me strength both physically and mentally. I can keep my chin up easier when I know that I can conquer a 240 pound deadlift. The stressful things in life seem to drop down a few notches and become manageable. Being able to lift and not focus on being skinny, being pretty, or being anything but stronger, makes it one of the most remarkable changes in my life.
I know there are many different body types and styles of exercise. Lifting may not be for you, but if you've ever needed something to uplift you and make you feel powerful, you should consider it. The physical gains are excellent for long term health and sanity, but the mental gains are just as important.
As I age over the years, I now have a tool that I can rely on to keep me active, motivated, and happy. I hope this little blog post can encourage a few ladies to go out and try something new. Start small and know that you will make gains. You will get stronger. As you do, you will encounter all these new mental strategies that you will need to lift and to take on life.
Now, go pick up some heavy things and put them down (safely). ;p
In love and kettlebells,
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