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Weight Gain, Body Positivity, & Confidence

Hi guys! Today’s post is inspired by this recent photo that I shared. I got a lot of questions about how I gained the weight over the years, but also how I was able to shift my mindset away from one being focused on the scale and (clothes) sizes to focusing instead on how I feel overall.

I figured I’d start by giving a brief overview of how my diet has changed over the years to how I’m eating now, the workouts I’ve done, and then a few tips for shifting your mindset. I will say though, that these three older blog posts linked below go into a ton of detail on the topic of weight gain, and mindset, and I even have a Q&A on the topics that y’all sent it. So definitely check those out!

FROM 117 TO 136 LBS: WEIGHT GAIN TRANSFORMATION
HOW TO GAIN WEIGHT + BUILD LEAN MUSCLE
WHY I FORCED MYSELF TO BECOME LESS GYM & BODY OBSESSED

Alright, here is a current update 🙂

So let’s chat about diet first. For those of y’all that have been following for a long time, you know that about 4 years ago I started counting macros pretty religiously (lots of free tip sheets on how to get started counting if you’re interested here). I was eating healthy (intuitively) for about a year prior and had starting working out doing BBG and had seen some great progress. But then I just hit a wall and kind of plateaued which is what got me initially interested in counting macros. I continued to count for several years and saw really good physical results. I also felt much more balanced and free mentally because I wasn’t constantly worried about if what I was eating was “healthy.” My diet when counting macros was much more balanced.

When we got back from Italy last summer though, I definitely had a shift in how I wanted to approach food (you can read all about that here). But basically, I loved being in Italy and not being worried about everything I was eating, weighing my food etc. I felt like a weight had been lifted, and coming home I didn’t want to be so focused on what I was eating. Again, macros had given me a sense of freedom and even though I got really quick at counting, it would still take up space having to think of my next meal, weighing my food, etc. I just wanted a break from that. I continued to have that approach to eating though the end of the 2019. Some people have asked if I noticed a difference when I stopped counting. If I had to guess (and I say guess because I never took official progress photos or anything like that), I would say that the changes were slight. I definitely wasn’t eating a much protein so that wasn’t necessarily helping with muscle gain, but at the same time I had days where I probably wasn’t eating as many calories as I was with macros. So I feel like more or less, things kind of balanced out. Sorry, I know that answer is pretty vague but that is what my experience was. Nothing crazy happened one way or another after I stopped for those 6 months. I share more about my transition from macros to intuitive eating here.

Starting this January, I did a challenge where I counted macros strictly for 4 weeks. It was just something I wanted to do as a “reset” after the holidays. Come February, I still liked having some of that structure so I continued to count loosely, which is what I’ve been doing for the past couple months. Basically, 4-5 days out of the week I will loosely track my macros, and the other days I just eat intuitively/don’t stress about it. So what does loosely mean? I will use my scale about 1-2x a day, but overall I eyeball portions sizes and the main thing is I hit my protein on those days. I personally feel like that is what has helped me continue to put on a little more muscle like in the “after” photo above. Again, are there big differences between last year and right now? No. But I do know that small changes add up over time, so I figured (especially while we are home during quarantine) I am going to continue to make an effort to at least hit my protein goal the majority of the time.

In general though, especially on the days that I’m not counting, I am not strict. For example, earlier this week I had a bagel for breakfast, 2 cookies later and then had 2-3 glasses of wine at night with dinner. I really don’t stress about it! Overall, I’ve learned that what matters is consistency over time. There have been plenty of times in the past year(s), where I’ve only worked out 2x a week, vacations I’ve gone on where I just indulge, when I’ve had several glasses of wine at night (let’s be honest that happens pretty often haha), haven’t counted my macros, etc. THAT’S OKAY! What matters is that you just put in continual effort over the course of time. This isn’t an all or nothing thing. Each week you just do what you can even if that means only 2 workouts, 3 days of eating “healthy” etc. All those small efforts add up over time, so don’t discount them! Remember, it’s about living a healthy lifestyle (I type this as I pour my second glass of Rosé LOL).

For workouts, I have lifted weights consistently for the past several years. I did @paosfitworld’s guide for 3 years (her first guide is great for beginners to weight lifting and her second guide will kick your ass), and since January I’ve been doing @madeline_moves workouts on her app. Overall, weight lifting was a huge contributor of what changed my body.

I know I talked about mindset a lot in my other posts, but I’ll just say that everyone still struggles with body confidence in some way or another. Yes, it can get easier other the years 100%, but I don’t know if it ever truly goes away. However, I would say that 90% of the time I have a body positive mindset and feel confident. But that’s only because I’ve worked really hard to get there (and you can too!). For starters, I stopped focusing on clothing size and more of how I looked/felt in the clothes. Similar to what I shared in this IG post, I stopped trying to fit into size smalls when it came to swimsuits. Yes, I was a size small a couple years ago but I’m not anymore and that’s okay! For so long though I kept dressing for my “old” body and I just ended up feeling horrible. Once I focused less on the size and just what fit, I felt so much more confident (I said goodbye to the stuffed sausage feeling LOL). Another thing that has helped me is not comparing myself to others. There is always going to be someone who “looks better” to you, but something I do is when I look in the mirror I just ask myself if I am currently happy with how I look? If the answer is yes that it’s done. I don’t think “but how do I look compared to her?” Also, I don’t “evaluate” my body often. I think that when you are constantly assessing (or should I say scrutinizing) yourself, you’re always going to find something that you want to change. I basically just stopped putting my time and energy into that. So next time you go to the mirror to “assess” how you look, just don’t do it! I know that may sound silly, but try it. Next time you have the urge to, just don’t! Eventually you’ll train yourself to “assess” yourself less often. I personally don’t think it’s healthy to be constantly assessing progress. I’ve been there before and it didn’t bring about anything positive. You can still have physical goals that you want to work towards (there isn’t anything wrong with that), but don’t let your world start to revolve around it. Again, just speaking from my experience and how I was able to shift from one mindset to another.

One last thing that I will leave you with. Think of the people you admire, respect, or love. Do you respect any of them because they have abs, or an amazing body? You may admire their dedication they put into getting there but you don’t love them because of what their physical body looks like. When I think of all the people who I look up to, it’s because of their heart, their mind, or what they’ve accomplished–it’s who there are on the inside as a person. So yes, it’s important to feel confident in your own skin and there are definitely tools that can help you get there. But at the end of the day, the people who have truly impact you–it has nothing to do with how they look. Just something to think about 🙂

Let me know if you have any questions on any of this! Happy to chat more in the comments! xxC

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