So today was a ‘weigh in day’ with #Coach Rimmer. Note:- even personal trainers get on the scales every now and again. The big difference for me perhaps is the lack of any real target to hit in this area, and the lack of any real anxiety when I stepped off!
In fact I was actually super happy. Working off my current weight and knowing what I now weigh has really hit home about how much PROGRESS I have made in so many ways in physical and mental strength.
To be honest when he asked me how much I weighed and I replied I have no idea (I don’t own a set of scales any more)….it left me thinking about how much my life and body has changed from my ‘twenties’, a ’40 kilo dieter with a scale obsessed mentality’ to my thirties, which now holds a mindset of ‘embracing weight gain’ for what it is. In my case. A GAIN in muscular strength and size.
Its been almost three years of now ‘not consciously monitoring my food intake, not tracking, weighing, measuring AND most importantly not precluding ANY foods from my diet.
This balance thing, as I have found, is easy. Its enjoyable and for the amounts that I currently eat I am amazed that I have not gained more weight than I have.
This is not to say I eat pizza, and live of cadburys all day long. So -yes I probably have a better placed ‘mentality’ towards food and my nutritional needs than many, but I can honestly say that I eat ‘whatever I want’, ‘whenever I want it’. This includes a burger with full trimmings, an easter egg or a roast dinner with extra carbs., BUT It also includes a huge amount of veggies, lean meats and healthful fats (remember my whatever I want may not be the same as others....)
It includes having total freedom around what I choose to put into my mouth. This in itself is hugely liberating. It allows me reassurance that I don’t have to ‘eat a certain way’ for the rest of my life to avoid getting fat.
So where has this come from? Surely all women are meant to be on a diet? In fact surely as a personal trainer I am supposed to not eat ‘wheat, gluten, dairy, carbs, you name it….anything that may prove to be bad for my health’?
Gaining a kilo and feeling pretty dam happy about it for most women is an unknown.
We have been bred, socialised and ‘fed’ (through media outlets) a ‘diet (ahem) of ‘be less: weigh less: eat less: fit into smaller things, and go for the smaller dress size mentality (even if it means we squeeze into it and it feels uncomfortable.
We lose weight?- we usually get told how well we look.
(In fact in my experience this is usually followed by questions about ‘how did we do it’?)
Putting on muscle however is very rarely seen as something that anyone (other than maybe Coach Rimmer) will compliment you on.
Being female in a world of provocative and (lets face it filtered) social media selfies is tough and the diet world is stronger than most women will ever allow themselves to be, physically. No matter what, a gain in weight for most females is uncomfortable + this is why many choose not to (in my experience) pick up heavy weights (through fear of becoming big and bulky).
Well even with my kilo weight gain - I can tell you I am still pretty dam small (despite me thinking I look like Arnie in the gym sometimes…… )
So how can we embrace a more positive approach to weight gain?
Some simple tips that can help you appreciate those GAINZ for what they really are:-
-Eat to fuel the body. Eat to Perform.
Now I cant emphasise enough the importance of fuelling your own body for your own individual needs. The biggest reason why 2 people dieting can have completely different results (on the same plan) is that they have completely different fuel requirements. I train heavily and with intensity meaning I can get away with eating ALOT more than someone the same size as me who exercises less. Think about this when you plan your nutrition. If you move a lot you can eat more. If you move less. Eat less. Thinking about food as a basic maths equation will help take away the stigma or complications of faddy diets.
-Check your body composition. Take photos.
When I look at images from 3 years ago my body has made clear muscular changes. My body fat is less. My body appears leaner. My muscle mass is more visible. This is super important to get your head around. If you have lost fat but gained muscle the scales may not show this in their feedback. Photos will. A body fat scan or reading will. Look for alternative markers aside from the scales. They are only one tool- so use them with some degree of caution.
-Check strength and athletic progress.
Are you stronger, fitter and faster? If you answer yes, then rest assured that your body is progressing. Maybe this progression can be seen in a different way than ‘conventional methods’ would wish for you to write home about. But if you are training, exercising and improving, this is a huge PLUS for you in terms of health progression.
-Find an inner confidence elsewhere.
Ultimately the ‘weigh less’ debate comes down to an issue of confidence. People attach appearance, abs, the size of their body, to confidence due to an element of dissatisfaction or unhappiness linking with how they perceive they should look (or will get complimented). This impacts on how they view themselves and their security, and how they handle situations in life. Finding confidence by way of other means (than the scales) takes you out of this narrow (but perhaps understandable given our society), viewpoint and places less emphasis on weight and more on what you can achieve.
The weights I would squat, deadlift or pull up with 3 years ago (when I weighed 1 kilo less) are now weights that I train for reps and sets with. Now this may not mean a lot if you aren't a weightlifting fan. But let me tell you with no uncertainty, there is not one woman alive on this planet, who having gained physical strength, won’t also grow in confidence. I can absolutely guarantee it.
Being a more capable human being, creeps through into your mindset for life. Knowing you can achieve something that you couldn't do before is what GAINZ for me is truly about.
Find the ‘thing’ that helps you grow inside. For me this is through hitting the gym with a kettlebell or a barbell…..Even it means being 1 kilo heavier.
If you would like some help in growing your confidence and increasing your physical strength GET IN TOUCH- Jill : firstname.lastname@example.org