Yes, I had the ever so coveted thigh gap. The end of my senior year of high school and transitioning into my first two years of college, I was skinny. There was no other way to put it. I was skinny because I walked at least 5 miles a day, ran an additional 2, avoided “fatty foods” at all costs, and had a lot of anxiety about school, my boyfriend, jobs, life, etc.
It took a lot of effort to stay skinny. A lot of denying myself foods I loved, and a ton of exercise that I hated. Running on treadmills and using the dreaded elliptical. My anxiety over test days or during certain struggles in my relationship sometimes made it impossible to eat a full meal, and so I remained a pretty thin girl until my senior year of college.
In my last year of school, I was finally feeling completely secure in my relationship and my future, and I decided I wanted to start focusing on my body and building muscle tone. Having only been in basketball and cross country one year each, muscle tone was something I had never really had. I began research and discovered that “low fat” wasn’t the way to go about eating, and picking up weights would do just as much if not more for me than excessive cardio.
So in November of my senior year at 21 years old, I meandered over to the weightlifting section of the rec center filled with Frat bros and picked up a set of 10lb dumbbells. It was love at first lift.
For just over a year, I used Pinterest and the internet to find personal workouts to build muscle. I used machines, dumbbells and squat racks at my University Rec Center and then later, Planet Fitness. But in January of this year, I was growing frustrated with my lack of results. I had seen an initial change in my body, but then had stayed pretty sedimentary. Considering I’d moved in with my now husband and was cooking full meals instead of just grazing, as well as treating ourselves to desserts and nights out more than ever before, I knew I had to do something or I would neither be skinny nor muscular…
So I joined Crossfit.
It’s been 6 months, and I am in love. It’s completely addicting and the most positive, uplifting (literally) environment. The coaches are fun/supportive/helpful and my fellow cross-fitters are so kind and encouraging of everyone.
I was curious about my physical results, since the only thing I really pay attention to anymore is PR’s and if I can squat, clean, snatch, or press more than I could the week or month before.
The left picture is me the summer before I picked up a set of dumbbells. I’m skinny. Really skinny. It’s cute, I guess. But I couldn’t squat more than 100lbs or run more than 2 miles.
On the right is me about two weeks ago. I squatted 173 lbs at my one rep max day a month ago and I can run 6.2 miles without taking a single break. I have abs, and arms, and I can only get a “thigh gap” (seriously, what is up with girls and this thigh thing) if I purposefully keep my feet far enough apart.
The girl on the left weighs about 118 lbs, the girl on the right about 130 lbs. I can hear the gasps. Yes I gained 12 lbs in two years and I don’t feel the least bit guilty about it. It’s been such a fun journey. Secretly? I love sending a giant Eff You to society. Society tells girls we have to be skinny. We have to look like the tiny actresses and models on TV and in magazines. We have to strive to be thin, sexual objects.
The best part about being the girl on the right? I can eat all the things I spent years making myself feel guilty about. No, not every day. 80% of the time I make myself eat the greens, the fruits, the solid protein (which can all be really delicious if cooked well!), and then the other 20% of the time I let myself eat the dark chocolate peanut butter, the pancakes with pure maple syrup, the doughnut here or there, and the gelato at our favorite ice cream shop.
There’s nothing wrong with being skinny, whether it’s because you can’t help it or whether you choose to focus solely on cardio exercises, but being the girl on the left just didn’t work for me anymore. I was sick of denying myself so many foods I loved and punishing myself if I didn’t work out every day. I love my new curves, and if we’re being honest, I’m totally ready for the zombie apocalypse or the Hunger Games now. Fit people are way harder to kill.
The ONLY thing I’d change about the girl I was two years ago to the girl I am now? The tan. I would give just about anything for that tan to come back. Alaska problems. The rest I’ll leave just the way it is.
I mean I definitely couldn’t do a handstand before Crossfit without these abs….
Instead of seeing flaws in photos or videos of myself, Crossfit and strength training has taught me to notice the things my body is capable of. I have never felt as good looking into a mirror as I do today.
“Once we begin to celebrate what our body does rather than obsessing on how it looks, we start to appreciate our body as an instrument rather than an ornament.”
– Ashley Turner