Every woman knows how she's supposed to look. She knows this, because she's been conditioned. She's been fed the image of perfection from the time she's a little girl. Disney Princesses, Barbie dolls, teen magazines, TV, movies...they all tell us what we're supposed to be.
Her. We're supposed to be her. Tall, willowy, with legs that don't touch. Heidi Klum is 5'9" and around 135#. That's pretty thin. I've been 5'10" and 136 so I know whereof I speak. Of course for me, with these child bearing hips, I still didn't achieve the ideal. I didn't last long at 136, nor should I have. It was not cute.
The last few years there's been a strange dichotomy in the cultural message. We're still bombarded with the Heidi Klum's of the world. Still tall, still walking about on stilt legs that don't know each other. These days she's joined by a different type of ideal. The "body positive" movement that declares STRONG IS THE NEW SKINNY and glorifies women with more muscular figures. Most of my exposure to this is through CrossFit (it was a cult I joined for a while, I'm in recovery). Instead of tall and willowy with divorced thighs we are presented with...
Behold the Dottirs
Ok, so basically the same girl, but with really defined abs and shoulders. Some of society looks at these Nordic Goddesses and thinks "ew, manly", but the remainder is basically salivating over them 24/7. They're all 5'7" and around 150#. So yeah...heavier. But still pretty tall and thin, you dig? I'd lay money that they all wear size small shorts on their perfectly chiseled asses. Me? I'm still 5'10" and more like 164# at the mo. I'm sporting a size L on my squashy backside. These ladies are impressive physical specimens. Strong certainly. Still skinny.
My bad. We're calling it "lean" these days.
Whatever you call it, they're outliers. Heidi Klum? Outlier. All the Dottirs? They're outliers, too. Beautiful, beautiful outliers. I'm never going to be like the outliers. And that's okay.
I did CrossFit for a little over 5 years. I've also done some weightlifting, and lately some powerlifting and strongman type stuff. I spent my twenties trying to achieve that long-limbed gazelle like physique. Mostly by starving myself and running a lot. Never quite made it. When I started doing CrossFit, that morphed into the quest for jacked arms, visible abs, and a squat booty. I got stronger, but I never achieved that ideal CF body. I've been lighter, I've been heavier, but my body shape has remained essentially unchanged. Eh, I've got a little more upper body muscle, my ass is a little higher, but nothing has really changed that much. That breeds it's own sort of body dysmorphia. At this point in my life I'm trying to figure out what I like, and worry less about what others prefer. I'm the one that has to navigate life in this meat suit, after all.
In previous installments, I outlined cutting weight and then attempting to normalize my eating and just try to maintain. I've had sporadic success. I popped up above 75kg and felt fat AF, then cut back down to 71kg for a meet in August (that's 156# for you real Americans) and felt like I might blow away in a stiff breeze. I had a great meet incidentally, setting three meet PRs including a lifetime deadlift PR.
270# ish. I should've gone for more.
After cutting, my macros were creeped up to see where I settle out. Right now I'm hovering around 74kg give or take. I'm eating 165g of protein a day. I read back some older blogs wherein I bemoaned getting 135g of protein a day. Yeah...
As a result of all this protein consumption, I've been getting thicker.
That thigh is a FULL INCH thicker than it was in April.
The other one is, too...I'm not just squatting with one leg.
This is a far cry from what I used to strive for. I still have a pretty substantial layer of insulation...I mean that shit still jiggles, you dig? But I'm 41 and I think the days of firm thighs are behind me. My clothes still fit, even though I'm up a couple of kilos, and I'm beginning to embrace this new normal.
Kinda Fit, Kinda Fat and kinda okay with it.
I'm really trying to appreciate my body more. Working in a hospital casts all the things that could be going wrong into sharp relief. I see people my age and younger with serious medical issues every day. The older I get, the more I realize how lucky I really am. Aside from some shitty varicose veins (that's a work in progress, insurance is fun), I don't have any health issues. I'm rarely if ever injured. My body doesn't hold me back from anything, and I know that's rare. I've made some pretty serious strides from a strength standpoint this past year, and from an aesthetic standpoint, too. All I had to do was quit CrossFitting it seems.
It's weirdly hard to let go of self criticism, because it is what's familiar. The constant monitoring of my weight, measurements, and intake has had an unanticipated effect. I've become more analytical about by body...but less critical. Do I still flip out a little when the scale goes haywire? Oh...hell yeah I do. You don't spend your teens and early twenties getting mooed at without some neuroses sticking around.
Me when I get above 75kg
That said, I'm much better at looking at my data and realizing...yeah, I ate a shitload of salt yesterday so of course I'm up today. I am better at identifying what I need to do to "fix" things when I start to slip. I'm less ragey about measuring my food. I hate meal prepping less. I don't LIKE it, but I hate it less. I can look at myself in the mirror and feel good about what I see. Except my hair. My hair is shit.
I might be going bald. It's fine.
Historically, I've not been terribly confident in my ability at a strength athlete. That's changed quite a bit this past year, and the past two months especially. I've started approaching the barbell with more excitement and less trepidation. I'm starting to believe I will squat 100kg and more. When I approach a deadlift, I know that shit is coming off the floor. I feel better about my bench (even though it remains impoverished), and I know staying consistent will pay off in the long run. I'm even kind of enjoying My Fitness Pal these days. Mostly because every time I up my macros it seems vaguely horrified. I can feel it trying to subtly convince me that 1200cal/day is where it's at, with it's little red messages reminding me to "step on the scale and update your weight" and "your goal is to eat less than 190g carbs/day".
So basically I hate-track in MFP. Fucking MFP.
For the record, I'm sitting at 190c/85f/165p as of this week.
Incidentally, you'd have to swallow a half a cup of semen
to get the protein available in one egg white.
The next few months should be pretty dull. I might compete Oly...or not. Might do a local Strongman...or not. Might jump into a last minute PL comp to see if I can pull 300# before the end of the year...or not. Hopefully get my fuckin' veins fixed. Just focusing on getting stronger for now. Little by little, day by day.
October kind of snuck up on me. It's 30 day yoga challenge time at Jenstar once again. I made it to day one and have plans for day 2 this evening. I'm working on doing the splits. With luck I won't break a hip. Swole and flexy, or some shit.
The dog is a huge help, as you see.
I've never done the splits in my life. Anybody wanna bet I never will?
Here's your take home message for today. Love yourself. You might as well.
The Rock would approve.