Monday, June 4, 2012

I am a woman, and I lift heavy weights.

I am still a very heavy girl - in fact, I've recently learned that my body fat percentage has actually INCREASED over the past 7 months (a whole OTHER issue to deal with) - but lifting weights has made a dramatic change in my life, for the better.

Before I started CrossFit, I had the same worries every woman does. I don't want to bulk up. I just want to be skinny. I don't want to be a body builder.

Here is some news for you - femininity is not synonymous with frailty.

Just because I am female, it does not mean that I need to be a tiny, fragile little bird.

I recently read a great post over on Everyday Paleo, which is actually what inspires this one, that listed several reasons the author lifts weights.

So today, I thought I'd share mine.
  1. I can save my family. Yes, this is the exact same item she listed first, and it's important to me too. I don't have children - but I have a husband, 3 dogs, and a cat. I used to have a Great Dane. Towards the end of her life, her health was failing, and several times she would fall and have a hard time getting up. I became terrified that if she fell when Tyler was away, I would have no way to get her to a veterinarian - she was 105 lbs. That fear was always in the back of my mind, until she left us. Now, I look at my ailing old German Shepherd. He is 13 years old and 75 lbs. His hips are not holding up well, and he sometimes falls down. I know he'll let us know when the time is right, or if he becomes injured - but I know now without a doubt that I could pick him up and put in the car and take him to the vet. My two smaller dogs and the cat are obviously no problem, but then there is Tyler. You never know when life will throw something at you - let's say there is a fire, and he falls unconscious. I know I could at the very least, drag him out of danger. This gives me comfort, confidence, and pride.
  2. I am confident in myself. I lack the ability to confront people and I am horrible in crowds. I have panic attacks in group events and I'm bipolar. I used to hide in clothes, and in my hair and always hang out in the back of the room. My gym clothes lately have gotten a bit smaller - no more baggy t-shirts and sweats (honestly, what I was I thinking? That crap was hot!) but instead fitted capris and tank tops. Even my regular wardrobe has changed - I find myself in cute summery dresses most days now, instead of hiding in jeans and t-shirts. I've also become a lot more brave - and let me share with you last night's adventure.

    Last night, I had gone to bed. I don't know about all of you, but I rather enjoy sleeping in the nude. So I'm alone, just me and the dogs. It's dark, I'm naked. I'm just about to drift off to sleep - and suddenly, I hear a crash in the living room. I sat up immediately and my heart was pounding - and I heard what sounded like stomping around. I got up, grabbed my German Shepherd by the collar, and cautiously approached my living room. When we peeked around the corner, we saw a figure. About my height and weight, standing there in the living room, wearing all black. My dog, Thunder, became instantly frenzied - barking and growling and lunging at it. I did what apparently came natural - I reached for the first object that could serve as a weapon within range (which was a folded up TV tray) and I whacked the figure with everything I could, and it hit the floor hard. My dog was standing over it growling, and then I flicked on the light. Instantly my dog calmed down and walked over to me tail wagging. I stood there victorious over my fallen enemy - my dress form.

    Earlier in the day, I had been working on taking in a dress. (Taking IN. You hear that? TAKING IN) I had wheeled the form into the living room as I was watching TV while pinning, and when I got tired, I decided to leave it - fully clothed in my black gown, in the living room. You would think the headless, armless nature of it would have been more obvious, but when you are scared, you just act. The noises I heard? My cat had knocked down the baby gate that keeps the dogs out of my craft room. The thumping was her knocking things off my desk.

    I realize I was in absolutely no danger whatsoever, but keep in mind, a year ago I would have hid in my room crying and not able to process anything. I perceived that I was in danger, and I acted on it. That speaks volumes for my confidence levels - I am more than capable of taking care of myself.
  3. I enjoy working out. For the first time in my life, I really enjoy (dare I say, love?) going to my CrossFit box. While I am still not the biggest fan of running or burpees, if we have a day of weightlifting I will always be there. I am always pushing myself for a new max, and striving to get the little 'RX' next to my name. My deadlift is up to 225 lbs now - and I am damn proud of it.
  4. I seek out other physical challenges. I have hated sports my whole life. Really. I admit I still don't like them... but I find myself seeking out obstacle courses. Finding ways to challenge myself. You already know that my first challenge was the Savage Race, and I also completed the Tampa Mud Run. I am going for Savage Race round two this fall, Run For Your Lives in November, then Tough Mudder and The Color Run in December. I used to see these and declare the people who took part in them to be insane.
  5. Sex life. Okay, yes, my husband has been gone for the better part of the past year - but I DID get to see him a few times in that period. I've never been a huge fan of sex - and I realize it was caused largely in part by my extremely negative body-image (oh god he'll see me naked! Better turn off the lights and get under the covers and get dressed again right after!), and my low energy level. (No, I'll just lay here. You do all the work.) I've noticed over the past year my sex drive has soared. Which is very unfortunate, considering I've been alone the better part of the past 10 months. Without giving too many details... trust me when I say this - from a fat girl. Sex is better when you have the energy to really have it.
There are a lot of other benefits to lifting weights for women, like increasing bone density, reducing your risk of injury and arthritis, and helping to improve your attitude and dealing with depression. I wanted to share my personal reasons for doing it. I will keep doing it, I will always do it. If I'm always big and I lose weight slower than a turtle and a snail racing, so be it. But I will keep lifting, because I am Wonder Woman.

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