Pictures, Feeling Fat, & Weightlifting

This post is largely aimed at the ladies, but guys, please feel free to read & chime in too if you’re interested.

Yesterday, I saw some pictures a cousin of mine posted on Facebook from a family gathering.  Initially I thought “Oh, these are cute pictures of me, my husband, & Chaucer ” (our corgi).  But upon closer inspection I found myself thinking “Eww, I look so fat.  I might as well be pregnant because my waist already looks like it!”  I’m pretty sure every woman who is reading this has had a similar scenario & knows exactly how I was feeling when looking at those pictures.feel fat cartoon

Now realistically I know that  at 5’6″ & 153 lbs I’m in pretty good shape.  My BMI is within a healthy range (barely), although I’ll be the first to admit that BMI is a pretty useless tool (particularly for men: consider my husband who, at < 10% body fat, still scores in the obese range).  I wear a size 8-10 in most clothes, & I’ve never had an inch of cellulite anywhere on my body.  My doctors have all told me I’m at a perfectly healthy weight, although it would certainly be safe for me to lose 5-10 lbs if so I desired (& I do).  My arms & legs have fairly visible/palpable muscle, for a female anyway, & as my husband tells me all the time I’m one of few women who has visible traps/lats (basically shoulder & back muscles), which thankfully he finds incredibly sexy.

This picture is from almost 4 years ago but I still look the same; if anything, I have more muscle now.  I just haven't taken a picture like this in a long time.

This picture is from almost 4 years ago, but I still look the same; if anything, I have more muscle now. I just haven’t taken a picture like this in a long time.

Yet I am still not satisfied that I look the best I really could, mostly because I know I still carry too much extra weight around my waist, which of course happens to be the most unhealthy place to have extra fat.  In our current culture of fat acceptance, I know plenty of people reading this will say “Oh, you’re just another one of these poor girls who’ve been brainwashed by airbrushed models & actresses.”  As much as I like to think I’m too smart & logical to be affected by these things, I’m slowly starting to realize that my idea of how I should look has probably been more warped by such things than I’d like to admit.  To be clear, I’m not trying to look like the next VS model or to be as thin as the average actress.  I know those are unrealistic goals & that most of those women are airbrushed anyway by the time we see them.  But I do want to look the best I can & be the healthiest I can be because life is far too short to do anything else, & I know I need to get serious about achieving this goal NOW since I’d like to become a mom some time in the next year or two.airbrushing

With that in mind, I thought it might be beneficial for me to list out my current gym stats, partially because it will help me realize how much ground I’ve already covered.  At the beginning of this year, not to mention a few years ago, many of these numbers were only half of what they are now.  Perhaps focusing on the progress I’ve already made will encourage me to keep going.  I really wish I could say I’m one of those people who just LOVES to work out, but the truth is I’m not,  & I probably never will be.  I’ve learned to tolerate a little cardio as long as I have some pumping music to keep me motivated, & I really do enjoy lifting weights, largely because I can literally see & feel the results on my body, not to mention because of the increased confidence it gives me.  But even so, I still have to force myself to go to the gym or take a bike ride around my community.  I’d love to say I’m one of those people who just doesn’t feel complete without getting a good workout in every day, but I’d be lying if I said so.  Maybe that will happen one day, but I’m not placing any bets on it.

I actually like all the mirrors at the gym, but I still thought this was funny.

I actually like all the mirrors at the gym, but I still thought this was funny.

In any case, here are my numbers.  As I said, I’m hoping looking at these will help to keep me motivated on the days when my motivation is sorely lacking.  And if it helps inspire anyone else, then that’s just icing on the cake (& yes, I realize that is a terrible metaphor for a post about fitness, haha!).

To be clear, these numbers represent the normal amount of weight I do on each machine/exercise.  I can technically do more on some of them, but if I can’t consistently do at least 5-10 solid reps with good form, then to me it doesn’t count.

Chest press: 50 lbs

Seated leg press: 135 lbs

Incline shoulder press: 20 lbs

Flies: 60 lbs

Hip abduction/adduction: 140 lbs

Lying leg curls: 65 lbs

Deadlifts: 80-90 lbs

Bench press: 40-45 lbs

Tricep press: 85 lbs

Lat pull down: 70 lbs

Rows: 60 lbs

Wow, what an inspiration!   I want to be like her someday.

Wow, what an inspiration! I want to be like her someday.

One of my favorite things about my current gym is that I often see dads (& sometimes moms) working out with their teenage sons (& occasionally daughters).  When we have kids, I know my husband & I are going to do the same, whether our kids are boys or girls.  However, this gym does not offer regular classes of any sort.  Considering I work night shift & my schedule changes every week anyway, it’s very unlikely I’d ever participate in any classes even if they were offered.  Frankly I’m too self conscious to take a class & I really much prefer to work out alone anyway.  Maybe that’s illogical because I’d probably stand out less in a group than I do when I’m one of  the only girls (or sometimes the only girl) in the weight room.  But in any case, I know how my mind works, & I know that organized exercise routines just don’t do it for me.  I have to find my own pace & my own routines in order to be motivated enough to keep working.  Nonetheless, I’m hoping this post will help me to hold myself more accountable to getting my workouts done more consistently every week & to keep pushing myself to truly be the best I can be.



  1. Pingback: Well, Shit. | Dana Ellington Myles, MAPW

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