Alyssa Tyler copy editor
For many of us, working out has been a way to lose weight, to be skinnier, to take up less space. Throughout the 90s the idea of “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” plagued our mothers, aunts, and grandmothers. Making them think, women specifically, are best off thin, tiny, and realistically, unhealthy. I also must point out before continuing, I know countless of men have dealt with body dysmorphia and eating disorders, however, I do not know their struggles. As a woman, I can relate to women’s issues, and therefore will speak from that point of view.
As time has gone on, and social media has grown, more and more people have been able to see the rise of CrossFit, Olympic lifting, powerlifting, and bodybuilding. Arguably, none of these sports give women the ‘skinny’ and ‘lean’ look. What this does give them, however, is confidence.
I have always been ‘thin’ with a naturally fast metabolism I have never had to worry about dieting or ‘working to stay skinny.’ I have worked out in a sport and team setting since I was 14 years old. I have been lifting (squat, bench, deadlift, and cleans) since I was 15. I joined the powerlifting team when I was 16, and that was my first time dealing with a scale. I competed in the 114-weight class, which meant that by my junior year, I was cutting weight each week. Mainly focusing on losing water weight, fasting before weigh-ins, among other techniques used by other athletes in wrestling and powerlifting. But for the first time, I was worried about my weight. My weight was more than just a number, it was something I thought that defined me and my happiness.
Moving past high school and coming into college, I fell out of love with working out. I thought of it as something I had to do instead of something I got to do. I suddenly lost motivation to leave my room, go to class, or really do anything that required moving. I lost all confidence in my body and in myself. I was also terrified of looking at the scale and seeing if I had gained the ‘freshman 15.’ I was terrified of gaining weight, because my low weight is what I thought defined me.
Finally, I forced myself to join a new gym in Pittsburg. Slowly but surely, I fell back in love with working out. But as I went through the motions of toning up, working through weights, setting personal records, my weight was something that went to the back of my mind. Instead of focusing on what the scale said, I focused on what I saw in the mirror.
Since January, I’ve been working out times a week, having a consistent split and workout regime. I love my gym and the progress I’ve been seeing. However, my curiosity peaked, and I happened to step on the scale to just see how I was doing. I weighed in at the heaviest I have ever been in my life. And ironically, at that weight, I’ve never been happier or more content with my body. I finally figured out that your weight does not define you, having visible abs does not equal core strength, and being ‘tiny and lean’ does not equal being healthy. Since I was finally at a healthy weight, personal records are easier to hit, working out is something I look forward to everyday, and I hope that others can find the distinction between working out for your weight, isn’t the same as working out for your happiness.