I was feeling a little apprehensive to make this post, but I’ve had a few conversations with friends about this shared experience. I talked to one recently who told me that my transparency with my own self-image could actually help many people. So here goes:
I am a certified personal trainer, group exercise instructor, self-proclaimed nutrition and fitness freak. I teach multiple workout classes a week and usually track my meals and stick to my macros to the T. But I’m not perfect, and guess what happened to me during quarantine? Yup. I gained weight. How much, I’m not sure; I try not to weigh myself because I get a little obsessive over the number. Enough that I noticed a difference in how I looked and how my clothes fit. And honestly, I’ve been re-adjusting to how my body looks for the past year. See, I spent all of last spring and summer preparing to compete in my first fitness show. I didn’t get to – I tore my calf muscle at ten days out and was on crutches the day of the show. I knew going into show prep that that physique wasn’t sustainable, but it was still tough watching my body fat percentage slowly creep back up. I was still pretty okay with it, and then the quarantine pounds started creeping up.
And it only makes sense. I was at home, surrounded by snacks. Trying to prevent sinking into a quarantine funk by eating takeout and watching movies with my husband. Doing at-home workouts that never quite stacked up to what I’m used to doing at the gym. So while I tried to maintain some semblance of my normal lifestyle, things were different. And they were allowed to be. The world is different. Life is different.
I won’t lie and say I brushed it off immediately. I was sad. I panicked. I beat myself up and felt guilty for “failing.” I told myself I should have tried harder or done more to keep the weight off. And often, those negative thoughts still linger. But I’m in a pretty good headspace these days, and I can look at things with a bit more rational perspective. And just like I’m telling you now, I tell myself all the time. These are the truths I must remember when I begin to feel the all too familiar body guilt and shame.
We are in a global pandemic and I am healthy. My family is healthy. Millions are not.
Our lives were completely turned upside down. My daily routine was upended and I was forced to adjust to a new normal.
I was faced with a situation that in the past would have crippled me with depression. It didn’t. In fact, I was actually pretty upbeat. Snacking helped. Junk food dates with James helped, too.
My favorite way to exercise was cancelled. I had to make do with a less-preferred way. I did my best, I guess. It’s okay if I didn’t. I didn’t want to.
All of this added up to a few pounds of what I’m affectionately calling my quarantine cushion. Now, my life isn’t necessarily going back to normal, but some things are back the way I like them. I’m teaching my cycle classes again, four days a week now! I’m going back to work next week. I’m regaining control of my routine. The weight is going away slowly but surely. But it came nonetheless, and That’s. Okay. It’s okay for me, and it’s okay for you too. Lose it if you want. Keep it if you want. But please don’t hate yourself for it. It’s the ebb and flow of life, it’s adulthood, it’s womanhood. We lose weight, we gain weight. It has no bearing on our worth or value as a person. I am still smart, loyal, loving, talented, passionate. I am all of that and more, with about ten more pounds to love.