“You wouldn’t understand. You’re naturally skinny”
My most dreaded (and then lol’d about later) comment I ever receive.
People who don’t know me, don’t know where I’ve been, who I’ve been and what I’ve accomplished just assume.
They see the girl in her lulu tights walking into the gym with her big old under amour bag and lunch bag over her shoulder, a cup of coffee in her hand and a notebook full of workouts to go along with it.
What they don’t see is the 200+ pound girl who struggled through her first 5k run and 2000m erg tests to make her high school rowing team. The girl who for months would come home and order pizza and cheesy bread and finish that off with a bag of chips and some icecream. The girl who never wanted anything more than to be in single digit clothing sizes so she could blend in and get away from the taunting.
My ten year high school reunion should have been this summer (yes, I’m getting old) and looking back, if someone would have asked me what I’d be doing in ten years the last thing I would have ever said would be stepping on stage in a bikini. That was never me. In the last half of grade 12 I dieted down from 215lbs to about 130-135 to make lightweight classification at nationals. No, it was NOT done in a healthy way and think anyone at that age should not be left to “diet” on their own, but it is what it is and I did it. But even still, ending high school as an average weight, size 8-ish wearing girl I never dreamed I’d be where I am now.
Who I am today was not an overnight thing. There were tears, hard days, a lot of very very small victories and even more hard work. When I started working out I didn’t love it, I “hated” veggies, butter was my middle name. I found things I loved, first in rowing, then weight training and competing. I slowly changed my eating habits and learned about proper portion sizes (which is NOT the entire box of instant potatoes as I once seemed to think… blech) and learned what worked for my body.
Even now, this is my everyday lifestyle but it’s still not natural or easy to me. I still have to kick my lazy butt off the couch to get to the gym some days we all know my love for cookies baked into other cookies is a little excessive… but over time it’s gotten easier to manage. I’ve gotten better at having 2 cookies instead of 2 dozen and all that wonderful stuff.
But even still, there is nothing “natural” about be being the size or shape I am. If I was to give up this lifestyle maybe with moderate eating habits I’d manage to maintain for a little bit but it wouldn’t last long and I’d be back to my old habits and gaining weight faster than you can imagine.
It’s not natural, it’s a lifestyle I have created and chosen for myself. It’s working my ass off every damn day, it’s sticking to my meal plans and cheating “wisely” in the offseason. Every time I hear that this is “just who I’ve always been” it makes me feel like all this work has been for nothing, like I busted my ass for years and people think it was easy when every single day is still a struggle.
Part of me thinks that when I step on stage in November that people will see me for what I am then and there…. as they should… but that if I don’t do as well as I’m hoping, things don’t turn out the way I planned that it will all just be in vain. The hard work, the sacrifice, the dedication will all be nothing and all that will be left standing on stage is the girl who just didn’t try hard enough, who was “naturally thin” and didn’t put in enough time in the gym.
Deep down I know that it’s not what anyone else thinks that matters, I don’t do this for a silly trophy or anyone else but me. I know how hard I’ve worked, the struggles I’ve overcome… but at the end of the day…. Yeah….