i gained 7 pounds.
in about a month.
i weigh 132lbs.
and i’m fairly happy about it.

i went to the doctor on monday and, of course, had to hop on the scale. when i saw those numbers flash across the screen…132… i had two thoughts.
the first was ‘oh, my word. i haven’t weighed this much in a few years. how did this happen? i knew my pants fit a bit tighter. it’s because i haven’t done as much cardio the past few weeks. it’s probably really 130 – blasted chips and salsa for cinco de mayo celebrations. that means less tortilla chips and cereal…
the second thought was ‘oh, my word. i FINALLY gained weight. and i’m gaining muscle like a boss! i think this is an okay thing…

last saturday, at the gym, they had a station open where you could win a session with a personal trainer, if you could guess your body fat percentage and be within 3%. the workout bud thought we should do it just to see our body fat since we don’t really need a pt session. thinking i was still at my longtime weight of 125 or less, when she asked my weight, i said 125.
you know what my body fat percentage was?

9.6%.

i fell into the ‘at-risk’ category, which started at 11% and went down from there.
again, i had two thoughts.
the first was ‘wow, 9.6& body fat, that’s pretty impressive.’
the second was ‘wow, 9.6% body fat. a percentage that low doesn’t even show up on the chart. this is not good.’

pre-elimination diet and liver detox. pre-boston stomach troubles, my struggle to keep on weight and have a healthy gut started shortly after i graduated in 2010. the struggle to really love and appreciate my body started much earlier, as is the case with most women.

the summer after graduation, i had my first big weight drop and ended up at around a 123 pounds. since then, my poor, unhappy gut prevented me from putting on weight. largely due to the fact that my body was just not absorbing nutrients properly.
dang leaky gut!

i’ve had these two opposite thoughts in my head for sometime now. kind of like the devil and angel that sit on people’s shoulder’s in movies. on one hand, i knew that i wasn’t healthy. yes, my gut was not happy, and i wasn’t getting my period. but i even looked too skinny.

on the other hand, i liked looking skinny. i liked being thin. i liked being able to go into a store and know i’d be wearing a size 0 or xs. sometimes xxs. i saw women in the media who were skinny and, sometimes often times i compared myself to them. comparison, it’s so easy, right? are my abs as defined as her abs? and i as thin as she is? i liked that hopefully other women were comparing themselves to me…oh, she is so thin. i wish i could wear a size 0 like her.

so i was stuck in this place of knowing i needed to make changes, but not wanting to make changes.
ever been there?

strength training shifted my perspective about my body image.

learning to love lifting is helping me learn to love my body.

i can honestly say, i don’t think i have ever really loved my body. fully. like all of it.

molly gailbrath did a 28-day love your body challengei started out super on board, writing little post-it notes of each mantra and sticking them on my mirror. i ended up missing one post-it and then i missed them all. but i still read the challenge and mantra each day. i think this was really the start of me realizing that i wasn’t loving my body. i wrote this post-it during the first few days and it is still on my mirror.

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it was hard to admit that. because admitting it. writing it down. sharing it on social media. meant i had to actively start loving my body. and at first, i wasn’t sure i was ready…

what 132 pounds means to me:

* my gut is healing. it’s been a tough and emotional 2 or so years. i’ve so many tests, been on so many medications, and tried so many different ways of eating. the past couple months has been wonderful for my gut and it’s exciting to see that the patience and persistence has paid off. i’m not longer obsessing about food or checking my tongue every day for candida. i’m enjoying what i can eat and eating often.

* i’m getting stronger. the other day i wore a pair of pants i usually wear and a short sleeve shirt that was fit a bit tighter. my arms looked pretty good, my muscles were visible, but it looked like i had love handles. i was understandably not a fan of that look (still actively working on loving my body), but when i went to pinch my sides, there wasn’t really much to pinch. it was muscle. i stood there poking it for a bit. i’ve never had that before. pretty cool.

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* my period is coming back. i went quite a few months without having a period. and certainly wasn’t complaining…much. if i could go without a period, i would do it in a second. can i get an amen?! but the fact that i wasn’t getting a period did not sit well with me. i knew being underweight could affect it, plus, i was really stressed, my stomach was whack and i was doing alot of high-intensity cardio.
but when i got it a few weeks ago (only 2 this year so far), as much as i hated it, i was also happy. because it meant my body was doing better. i was healing. i think the combination of decreased stress, decreased hard core workouts, and increased body weight will keep it coming…even though i secretly wish i never had to have one again!

* my self-esteem and confidence is increasing. it’s weird to look at myself in the mirror sometimes. i am used to seeing this tiny, thin girl. now, when i look in the mirror i see defined arms and shoulders. my stomach isn’t always flat and my six pack doesn’t always show. i’m curvier. it’s not like i have huge muscle increase, yet, but i can definitely see a change in my body. and i don’t know why i thought that lifting weights…to build muscle, mind you…would keep me at the same weight and shape.
silly girl.

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the fact is, that even though i am satisfied with the body change, i still say 132 pounds…give or take. and the thing is, it shouldn’t matter what number comes up on the scale, right? i exercise regularly, i eat clean (with some not-so-clean days), i look good in my clothes and i feel good.

as i’m sitting, reading over this post, tears are almost coming to my eyes i’m crying (fun fact #22: i hate crying, with a passion). because all these feelings i’m talking about are coming to the surface. it’s crazy how the media so easy influences what we think of our bodies and how we think we should look. it’s so so so much easier to think of things that you want to change about your body, than it is to think about the things you love.
and because i feel myself drifting far from those bad thoughts.

i firmly believe the Lord puts trials in our lives to grow us and shape us. if i could get rid of the past few years of stomach issues, would i? sometimes, yes. but most times, honestly, i’d keep them.

so many more good things have come out of hard, shitty times than realizing that i’ve been living without loving my body. were i to list everything, this would be a rather lengthy post. but as of late, the realization that i haven’t been loving my body is something that has really been on my mind.

the exciting thing is, that i’ve realized it. the exciting thing is that i am learning to love it: leaky gut, size A cup (sometimes B depending on where i buy it) boobs, non-blemish free face, and all. 

deep post for today. but get ready, because more like this are going to come. don’t want to give away too many details, but a series of sorts is coming along. doing some planning on it today.

i want to share this post from caitlin at healthy tipping point. i’d been working on writing this post all week, and i read this yesterday. so encouraging.
and this quote

body

how to end this post…how to end this post…

i’m actively learning to love and appreciate my body.
it’s a pretty cool (sometimes tough) journey.
if you are having a hard time loving yours, join me.
we can encourage each other. rant about things together. enjoy guilt-free ice cream or coffee dates.

jena.