Woah. Three Very different words… each getting a little more harsh as you read.
They are much more related than you first think. This post won’t come close to hitting home for some people. I wanted to touch on it for the few that it will truly resonate with.
I think the hard thing to do is not cross lines when you’re a very passionate person. I love moving and exercising. However, there was a time of my life that I stepped on a scale next to my friend and I was heavier… by a lot. I was young enough to not really understand that I just had more muscle. I was not overweight at all. She was more frail and not as athletic. I felt shocked to say the least. I didn’t realize I was kind of “fat”.
I started running and running and running. I became obsessed with wanting to feel skinny. I purposefully packed lunches way too small and left the lunch room never feeling full. When this happened I felt like I won. I was doing better and on my way to not being so… large. I became extremely skinny. Tiny in fact. I worked out a ton and believed I was fit and in shape. Looking back now is almost a laughing matter because I looked horrible. My definition of fitness now is completely different.. To be fit is not only being cardiovascular fit but being strong and having muscular endurance. To be fit is to be able to perform movements athletically and efficiently. Strength, endurance, coordination, balance, etc. My obsession became more like a disorder. I was constantly trying to “burn more calories” then increase my fitness (although that played a role with soccer involved).
I tore my ACL for the first time, at the beginning nothing changed until I realized how cool muscles are (probably because almost all of the muscle in my leg disappeared). I started learning and watching videos of bad ass fit chicks. I started wanting to change and to be more like that. I decided I wanted BIG muscular legs. I became a gym rat. I LOVED lifting and cardio. I wanted bigger muscles and to be fit. I still wanted to be “skinny” or have a flat stomach but I ate. I ate so much. I ate when I was hungry and then some because I felt like my body needed it and I wanted to feed my muscles.. I did not purposefully restrict calories. Three years after my first tear (and two more ACL surgeries) and after a ton of hard work/habit building, I looked completely different. No real growth happens over night. I also didn’t even train like that to “get bigger”. It simply became my passion. Exercise is what I started turning to for alone time. I worked out when I was sad to escape reality and make me feel better. I also worked out when I was happy and ready to get shit done. I loved it.
These pictures are from the beginning of my journey (right before/beginning of high school)
Then I hit the end of high school and the summer before college. I was running a very very high amount due to training for college soccer fitness tests however I was still very healthy and lifted weights all of the time and probably ate more than you. I can’t lie, being crippled so much helped lead me into the gym rat life and I am thankful for that.
Moving/exercising became a lifestyle. I enjoyed it and looked forward to it every day. I still always had a slight issue with wanting to be skinny (what girls don’t?) which still affects me today but nothing like before. I honestly started enjoying the gym/working out more than soccer.
My legs grew thats forsure. All of my muscles did, especially when I found crossfit. I got really into Crossfit when I stopped playing soccer after my first year of college. I was doing two-a-days in college, doing competitions, progressing fast and training hard. I had a blast at first.. Then after about two years I started stressing over training. I was getting mad at myself if I couldn’t do one thing perfect. I was very competitive and fit as hell. I also started to have less fun and care less. I burned out. My love and passion for CrossFit fizzled out after less than 2 years of it (because of the way I was doing it). I started to hate how I felt like I wasn’t working on my weaknesses enough. Hated how the one thing I loved became a thing of stress instead of my escape like usual. I was always hard on myself in whatever I did, especially in soccer. CrossFit became the same way. I was too obsessed… I got anxiety when I thought about certain movements and how I sucked at them. Stupid I know. Because really not one soul actually cares.
Pictures from Crossfit.
So I kind of just stopped. Stopped caring about those things. Stopped over training. Stopped being so damn hard on myself. Stopped getting mad at myself if I didn’t practice muscle ups that week or snatches. The reality is I didn’t really want to. Probably because I am not good at them, sure. But really the deeper thought is I didn’t CARE to be good at them or I would have been because thats how I am. SO WHY STRESS. I discovered yoga, meditation, and reading which I did consistently for almost 3 months. Then I got back into the normal gym rat ways and really enjoyed it. Then I started just running more. Not for a certain time or distance. I just ran and enjoyed it.
Now I do whatever the hell I feel like doing. I run a lot, I see a lot of sunrises and sunsets, I go to CrossFit classes, I go to regular gyms and get my solo lift sessions in, and I makeup random workouts in my small apartment gym to do at 5:00am. I don’t really label myself as anything other than someone who likes to workout and be outside and It feels good.
The one thing that has held true and well is my lifestyle/habits. Throughout it all, every change in modality and where I lived and who I hung out with… I still never craved sweets since I kicked them when I was young(er) about 7 years ago or more. However, I ALWAYS craved a good sweat every single day. That is my release and my habit. The major change is now I don’t worry so much if I can’t workout that day. If trying to figure out how to get a workout in causes me stress because I have other things going on and am busy… then I simply don’t workout. This used to drive me crazy and make me feel like I was being lazy, not working on things I should, or getting fat. Now, I enjoy being relieved of the stress from both sides (mostly.. still a work in progress).
My mindset still isn’t perfect. I still complain of feeling bloated or fat often, ask my boyfriend about it. The difference is now I really am not too skinny that is forsure. I wake up some mornings and love having muscles and feeling fit. MY shoulders and arms are above average in size, my legs are strong, my torso/core is thick and strong.
Some days the clothes just don’t fit right and I don’t have enough “curves” or i say I have a spongebob body…somedays I just hate how I look. Thats the reality.
The point is: Lifestyle/habits will ALWAYS come out on top against a diet or program. Start learning how to love it. Love how you feel after working out and eating better. I HATE counting what I eat.Don’t force it. I honestly think its ridiculous and obsessive. This may offend you if you do. In my opinion which doesn’t matter… counting only matters in certain “sports”. The right habits and lifestyle will do the counting for you and not make you feel stressed or tortured (also will save you so much time).
Thats me. My name is Lauren. I am still and always will be a work in progress.
I am lovin livin.