I stopped weighing myself about four years ago because of the head games a number can play with your mind. I burned the scale in our burn ring in our garden area and felt guilty as I did so. I felt guilty about burning a scale! How can an object like that hold so much power? Burning that scale was cathartic. My worth is not based on how much I weigh - it never was and intellectually I knew that - but society's judgement is still hard to live with. I also went gluten-free that same year which set me back on the path of eating real food, which led me to research on paleolithic eating, which got my health to a place where I feel better now than I have felt for 40 years, maybe even my entire life. Strength training was the capstone piece that pulled it all together.
Two years ago, my neighbor, whom I have known for 24 years, told me one day that she was lifting weights and that I should join her. What, really? I only knew men who had lifted weights and was only aware of professional women body builders who did not really look like I wanted to look. Nothing wrong with how they look, but it wasn't for me. The last regular gym I belonged to discouraged women from using free weights and directed us to the machines and light dumbbells. "No grunting or dropping weights allowed please." I was skeptical of my friend's request, but could see the improvement in her confidence as well as her body. The location was about 1.5 miles from my house, so I had no excuse there. It took me a year to finally get up the nerve to contact Mike. I dragged my daughter along for backup and I've been going regularly (2-3 days per week for 1 hour sessions) ever since. There are a lot of reasons why. Mike is an awesome olympic weightlifting coach and trainer. He also writes a weightlifting blog with references to Shakespeare, has an equally awesome family, likes a variety of music and good food, and can carry on a conversation about most subjects. The women of the gym are also amazing. Mike said once we were a community and that is an apt description. We do our weightlifting and conditioning but we talk about our day, our families, our disappointments, and our celebrations because that is what women do. We are quiet when we need to be. We bitch about turkish get-ups, pulling the sled, and jumping rope, and we encourage each other good-naturedly with a nod, a "Yes," or perhaps a consoling roll of the eyes. We help each other put weights on and off the bar. We encourage the new person as much as the heavy lifter. It is a community.
|If you've driven up I83 in Pennsylvania, you've seen this guy.|
I've always been a fairly confident person, but I feel much more confident now. I like the muscles that are now defined. I like the greater flexibility and strength. I like that I can lift a pretty darn good bit of weight. I'll finish up with some PR numbers for the past year. I started keeping track last August but I started with an empty 15 kg bar.
Back squat - 80 kg
Front squat - 60 kg
Snatch - 30 kg (my most difficult form challenge)
Clean - 42 kg
Press - 40 kg
I'm happy and looking forward to another year.