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This post will be a little different than others. How we view our bodies good or bad was brought up in a live that I was listening to on Instagram last evening. What we see in the mirror can be different from what others see in us. Typically we are harder on ourselves than others ever will be. I have been in this boat as well with body image.
In this post, I plan to talk about how I have viewed my body when I gained weight and through my current weight loss with the help from keto.
Growing Up & Before I Gained Weight
I was never the overweight girl or teenager. I’ll never know what that was like. As a family, we did eat lower fat (I was born in the 80s) and the “Can’t Believe it’s not Butter” was on the table every night. My parents were still wise in knowing that just because it’s low fat doesn’t mean there was no sugar in there. I’m for one ever grateful for this and having parents that fed me nutrient dense veggies and fruit along with meat and healthy grains. Don’t get me wrong, I still had sugary treats but we didn’t have the classic dessert at every meal.
I believe I started to go to the gym in middle school to lift weights and to do cardio. I always loved weights the most. My gym was the YMCA, where I learned how to swim as a kid. 🙂 I don’t know when it quite started but like most females, we struggle with body image growing up and having the need to be thinner, even if we are a healthy weight. Doing cardio was always something I hated doing and I knew that I wanted to “tone up” more and build muscle. So that’s what I did with some cardio on the side.
College and Weight Gain
The Freshmen 15 did not happen to me, in fact, I lost weight. The college I went to had a gym near my dorm and I got a membership and loved it. The start of my weight gain and weight loss journey started my Sophmore year. Someone close to me had made a comment about how it looked like I was obsessing about my weight and the kinds of food I ate. Looking back now, I can see how I this was sean. So, as a young 20-year old I thought I’d take action on these words. I went to a free psychologist on campus and she told me to read a book about how to love myself. This book was not read, as I hated reading, and I already loved myself.
A return visit was never done and I took matters into my own hands. Instead of eating my normal well rounded healthy meals, I ate what I truly wanted to eat. That’s right, I had the pizza, mac and cheese, ice cream more than I probably should have. These were fine to eat, but I was having these high calorie, high carb/sugar foods from day to day. It was great! HAHA. I don’t remember exactly when I stopped but I remember one day thinking, that yes I’m less worried about how I eat and I was happy. Even though I could look into the mirror and smile, I wasn’t happy with the weight gain. The added weight gain might have been around 15 pounds, maybe. I honestly don’t remember exactly.
With being heavier, I remember shopping for new clothes with my mom and I hated it. Tops were not fitting how they used to fit, even if I had the right size at the current time. I was so used to seeing myself in one way with how clothes fit and then what I saw in the mirror was not what I thought in my head. It was definitely an adjustment that I needed to come to grips with.
The first semester of my Junior year I was in Australia. While here I continued on the path of losing weight and going to the gym they had on campus. I still had yummy treats there but I counted them in my calorie totals for the day. When I was there, I did lose weight and was happier. When I got back to the states I continued with my healthy eating.
The Next Chapter
Even though I was eating better, I still struggled to get back to where I was before I gained the weight. Even though I had a gym membership and had some DVD workouts to do at home, I struggled to get back in the habit of working out.
However, after college and moving back into my parent’s house as I searched for a job, I got my routine back and did a round of P90X. I was happy again with my weight and workout routine. After a few months of not having a job (oh those were the days, haha), I found myself with 2 jobs and even started to date my current husband (husband #1. LOL).
After some given time my weight became an issue again for myself. However, you can read about that journey on my Weight Struggle page that I wrote in March.
Weight Gain Body Image Talk
To see the photos above, I thought I wasn’t happy with my weight for my wedding is an understatement. I was used to the Abby in 2010 and 2011 in March. My wedding day was wonderful but it still saddens me that I wasn’t at a weight that I loved and had known for years. However, there will be a day when I plan to get that dress on again and take some photos with my husband. 🙂
Then the marriage weight came if you want to call it that. I somewhat talk about this on my Weight Struggle page. During the years leading up to 2016, I wasn’t happy with my weight. I was back in school getting my nutrition degree and it was just harder to stick to an eating plan. Yes, I could have planned it out and stuck to it, but I didn’t. However, we did eat healthy dinners. Full of healthy fats, veggies, and meat. There were just moments where I’d treat myself one too many times. Or something else. I never realized how much I had gained until I saw myself in photos.
Photos were a punch in the face. Mentally I still visioned myself as the weight I grew up with or me in 2010. Not 30 or 50 pounds heavier. I wasn’t stupid and I knew I wasn’t the size I used to be, but to visually see it in a photo was a whole other story. There is this Christmas photo from my husband’s side of the family and I remember that I was happy we were standing in the back from others.
Deeper State Keto and Offboarding Weight
From my results post from Deeper State Keto, you can see my weight loss stats and body inches lost. Before I started to off board (slowly increasing my calorie), I was and still am ecstatic with my results. I’m the Abby I once knew with how I looked. Body image isn’t everything but it 100% affected how I mentally felt inside.
I’m still in offboarding but I think I’m getting close to the end. I’m currently trying to find my new maintenance calories and whether my protein threshold changed or not since the start of Deeper State Keto. A few weeks ago I thought my stomach was bloating more but then I soon realized that I just remembered the numbers wrong. However, this past week (October 7), I really started to bloat midweek by about 1 to 1.5 inches. Yet, there were a lot of variables to consider. I started to consume a lot more dairy, my period may be starting, I worked my muscles harder at the gym than before, and maybe more variables. The last time I tested dairy back into my diet, I had no bad weight gain or bloating side effects and I don’t really remember getting bloating from my period.
There are signs and symptoms to look for when finding your protein threshold and your new calorie maintenance. Yet, it can be hard when you are dealing with body image. You also don’t want to just assume that what you are feeling is because you hit your mark, you want to wait a couple of weeks and see if the trend continues. I’m definitely seeing a good amount of signs though that I hit my protein threshold. These signs were not seen when I first started this program though. I found my protein threshold at the start due to increased shoulder pain.
Even before I noticed the bloated, I started to have negative thoughts about my body image at times. Then at other times, I was damn proud of myself and where I am and how far I’ve come. Sometimes when I’m feeling down, I can just look at the before photos of Deeper State Keto and when I was my heaviest. Most importantly, I have a husband that reminds me daily how proud he is of me with everything.
I think sometimes that once we get to the “goal weight” we will think we will be happy with our body image. Yet, this is not always the case. I like to keep improving myself. Yea the number on the scale is amazing, but I’d also like to start building more muscle, and that’s why I go to the gym. I don’t go so I can eat X item or lose X amount of weight. I go for muscle. As I build more muscle I will keep improving myself. However, at times we have to check ourselves and remember that we are human and can’t be perfect. Not being perfect is what makes us who we are and not robots.