I just completed my first month on a bodybuilding program. There were times I was tempted to give up, like when I was on vacation in Florida surrounded by delicious food or after my poor old dog passed away and I was craving the comfort of carbs like crazy. I’ve learned a ton and even been able to eat some treats that fit into my plan while staying on track. I’ve walked a gazillion steps and lifted heavy weights.
The biggest changes, though…haven’t been physical.
Sure, I’ve lost weight and busted through that plateau that I was stuck on. I’m only 20lbs from my goal weight now. The funny thing is…that number or even the size clothes I’m wearing has started to matter less and less to me. I’m still motivated to stay on my plan and keep counting calories and macros and lifting, but it has become much more about how I feel on the days I’m not as careful and how great I feel when I am. It’s become more about chasing after goals that have nothing to do with how much I weigh or how I look but about discovering what I can do with this 40-something year old body.
Exercise and eating right have just become one of the things that I do rather than something I’m always conscious about and striving towards. I get up and I either walk or do my workout then walk. I food prep, but it’s pretty simple now. I eat for fuel rather than entertainment. I exercise when I’m stressed or upset rather than grab pasta or chocolate. I move because it feels good to move and it feels icky to stay put. I am content at the size I am even as I work towards my goal weight.
I treat my body like I love myself rather than punishing it either with overeating, eating food that doesn’t make me feel good, or refusing to take it out and move it around.
Even when I was a runner, running was kind of something I inflicted on my body to force it to be the way I wanted it to be. It seems odd that bodybuilding would actually feel gentler, but it does. It feels like me caring for myself rather than beating myself up to fit a certain mold.
It’s no longer about what size I am or how clothes hang on my body or even about numbers that indicate a better chance of good health. It’s more about being kind to this body that has gotten me this far and giving it what it needs to be strong and healthy because I deserve to feel good.
And that change in itself feels good.