Recently, I’ve noticed an exponential growth in blogs by average – and even below average sized females – desperate to lose weight for cosmetic purposes.
I always encourage family and friends to work out and eat healthy, so they can look better, and in turn, feel better about themselves. But I caution everyone who believes that numbers on a scale are good indicators of fitness.
Let me tell you a little about my personal fitness journey to help you understand why.
I was born with a heart defect, which created a whole host of other heart conditions throughout my 26 years, even after it closed. In spite of this, I remained active for most of my life.
Until recently, I paid no interest to the gym or running marathons, but I found other ways to stay fit. I spent kindergarten and primary (elementary) school with the boys – climbing trees, riding bikes, hiking in uncharted territory, skating, and just generally getting dirty.
Then, in high school, my P.E. teacher asked me to join the track team, and I became a high jumper. He said I had “very powerful legs” and should put them to work.
I continued to work them after high school by doing a lot of walking, taking up running, and making frequent trips to the beach. After graduating college, I also threw snorkeling, paddle boarding, and swimming into the mix.
I didn’t need a gym. My life gave me plenty of exercise.
But then, in early 2014, because of financial goals I had set, I stopped going out as much and basically stayed home to work on my novel instead. It didn’t help that I had a sedentary full-time job in finance, where the only exercise was a walk to the restroom, the cafeteria, or the bus.
I went from about 135 pounds (I’m 5’9) to 160 in 5 months. I had never been that size in my entire life, and though I’m one of those “lucky” Caribbean women who simply got a more hour-glass shaped figure from the weight gain, I didn’t like the sexual harassment it earned me from random men on the streets.
So, I decided to do something about it.
I started off running (5-7 km runs), but after getting robbed early one Saturday morning, I moved my fitness ambitions to the gym. In less time than it had taken me to stack on all those pounds, I was smaller than I had been even in college, and yet, I weighed 145 pounds.
Back in college, 145 pounds would have made me one ‘fat’ lady. There was no way I could have even dreamed of fitting into my clothes. But this time, those extra pounds were muscle and the only clothes I had to change was a few pair of skinny jeans that my calves could no longer fit into.
What I Learned
My original goal was to slim down and obtain that sleek, slim figure, but during my fitness journey, I realised that that wasn’t for me. All the cardio in the world only helped me stack on more muscle, because I’m genetically an athletic and curvy female. That’s the body I have and I learned to embrace it – and my 145 pounds.
The real problem a lot of females have is a refusal to accept our bodies for what it is. You can create a rockin’ version of any body type you have – but you cannot sculpt your body with exercise, to become something it was never meant to be.
Just as our genetics determine our height, our hair type and our eye colour, our genetics also determine what “blessings” our body type can give us, even at its best.
I trust the measurement of my fitness goals to the inches of my waist and the size of my clothes, not numbers on a scale. Numbers on the scale will deceive you. As will watching calories and practically starving yourself to look like a model, when you could like a toned gymnast.
What this Should Teach You
Always remember that fitness is not a number on a scale. Fitness is not the amount of calories you consume. Fitness isn’t dieting for three weeks to fit into a dress for a party, or starving yourself and then binge-eating. Fitness is not a fad.
Fitness is a lifestyle.
It’s something you live every day. It doesn’t need to be stringent and limiting. It doesn’t need to imprison you in your own body, and put lion leashes on your appetite. In fact, fitness can free you.
Below are some candid pictures of my ongoing journey. I hope it encourages someone to become better versions of themselves and to understand why numbers on a scale don’t matter.
Best of luck on your fitness journey!
Curious to see what my fitness regime looks like? Check out 10 Ways to Prep your Body for Swimsuit Season on College Mate.