The stuff that holds you back - and moving on

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    The stuff that holds you back - and moving on

    I notice myself sometimes caught in self-sabotaging beliefs - things like, "eating so healthy is kind of obnoxious, enough already" or "your body doesn't need to be any thinner/stronger/better looking (etc) thin it is or else people will think you're full of yourself."

    It's interesting how pervasive these are, no matter how many years I've been working out. Some of the more obvious ones have arisen and been, I think, mostly allowed to float away. But there are so many layers to these beliefs. New versions surprise me all the time.

    I was visiting my dad and stepmom, he's in his 70's and quite ill, she's in her late 60's. They had a PT visiting them at home for my dad's care. My stepmom had hired this young man as a personal trainer, to help her lose weight and while I was there (and she had, on previous days, congratulated me for looking more fit) told him, in front of me, that she wanted only to be thinner, NOT to get muscley. I tried to encourage her to be unafraid of becoming strong or having muscles, but she wouldn't hear of it.

    I can also remember in middle school choosing to stop doing sit-ups because my waist was getting larger.

    I think as cis-women especially, we're often raised with the belief that our bodies would be better thin but weak than larger and stronger. It's hard to shake that. I'm lucky that my best workout buddy really likes big arms on women, because guess what, apparently my genetics are such that my arms are going to bulk up and its great being told how awesome that is. Getting past being ok-with-that towards actually loving how a stronger me looks and feels is huge for me, to allow myself to actually continue to progress.

    I'm curious what self-beliefs you wrestle with and how you notice when you're moving past them.

    Know how you feel. As a teen I was a tall, lanky thing with swimmer's shoulders. Once I stopped growing up (at 6ft, so 'tall for a woman' anyway) the rest of my body wanted to catch up with those shoulders and my build is not one for the much loved 'willowy' look. It took me a while but I decided as my body won't get a slim build without shaving off some bone I might as well make it useful and go for well built and strong rather than just 'big'

    I now aim for Amazon Warrior goals


      I can honestly say I have never seen a woman that doesn't abuse steroids and thought she's way to muscular.
      Infact i'd say it applies to both men and women, without the use of steroids it's nearly impossible to reach disgusting level, I quite like muscular women anyway.

      Belief effect us all, in martial arts i was lead to believe hooks were better for me because o had shorter arms for my height i ended up neglecting my jab and straoght punches and yeah a tradesman with only half his tools is only half as good.


        I remember when I was 6 I won a prize at a party for doing a "Russian dance" (apologies to all Russians) where you basically squat down and do a kind of "can-can" with your legs - and I could do it longer than any of the other kids. When I told my dance teacher instead of congratulating me for being strong she said I shouldn't do that or I'd get thick thighs! And I also remember working out in a local gym in my 20s and constantly being told by the gym instructors (who's opinions I hadn't asked) that I should be lifting light weights at high volume instead of heavier weights (I was hardly powerlifting - just dumbells and machines at 8-12 reps). This stuff is absolutely pervasive!

        The best thing about the work I do now (I'm a gardener and also do some community work) is the occasions when I work with primary school kids and they see me lifting heavy stuff, wheelbarrowing and shovelling, handling heavy tools, getting muddy, etc - and I have had kids obviously confused that I am a woman and do these things.

        As proud as I am about my strength, and as much as I think that being fat was a way of feeling "safe" and so being strong and bigger will feel "safer" than being skinny for me (as well as a hell of a lot more achievable), I do still have moments when I wonder if my shoulders or legs look "too masculine". And I also have all the self-sabotaging stuff you are talking about people thinking I'm full of myself for changing my body so much, and also that I'll never reach my goals so why try.

        Amazon Warrior goals FTW though!


          Yes, y’all, I’ve spent an entire 55+ years thinking (and reinforced) that my thin body was as it should be.
          When I gained weight last year with muscle and training to hike the PCT, and then could not “slim down” afterwards, I had to accept a new reality. As a mature woman, I had gained 15 pounds of mass. I had to look critically at myself, and accept the new me, and learn to adjust to a new clothing size. (Gasp!) I solicited reinforcement from my husband that my new Rubinesque figure was MORE appealing than my lifelong thinner one.
          Then, I determined that I could be even stronger than I had been on the Trail, and could turn that extra mass into full-on muscle. No more wimpiness.
          I now had a reason to eat, and eat well and right. Before, I just ate because of stress or anxiety, and necessity. NOW, I eat to sustain my muscles, and be able to power the body that MOVES stuff!!
          I was always told I was too thin by mostly older women. I was never told that by men, (like my father), however, which I believe led to my wanting to remain thin. Now, when I talk about gaining the weight and keeping it and being comfortable with it, I actually DO get positive reinforcement, which is awesome.
          Rock on, Women with Muscles to MOVE!! On to the BATTLEGROUND!!!