Turkey arms. That’s the reason.
When I was younger, I was extremely heavy. I was by far the largest one out of all my friends, all throughout growing up. I never felt as though this affected me or my self-esteem, though, until much later in life. Aside from a few comments here and there, I was never bullied or treated differently at all – I had plenty of friends. However, I always knew I was different.
I couldn’t shop at the same stores as my friends, and I definitely couldn’t share clothes with them. They were all wearing shorts and crop tops while I wore XL sweatshirts. In middle school, I would wiggle my way into the biggest size Abercrombie sold in their jeans, and then wear them until they had gaping holes in between the thighs. I thought to myself, at least I could fit into the Abercrombie jeans. Even though I looked like a stuffed sausage. This wasn’t something that bothered me everyday, or affected my confidence much; it was simply how things were. That was what I looked like. I had accepted it.
At that age, it never occured to me to attempt to lose any weight. And before you attack me, I’m not saying that it should have, or that I had to lose any weight at all – if I were completely happy with my appearance, then fine. Great – embrace being size fourteen! There’s nothing wrong with that. But I wasn’t happy with how I looked.
It wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I began to slim down. I wanted to be tan for prom (lol), so I started tanning at Planet Fitness simply because it was the cheapest option. My best friend was on a bit of a fitness kick, so I figured I might as well work out while I was already going to the gym, so we started going everyday. And I lost 85 pounds. I had never looked better in my life.
But unfortunately, even though I was going to the gym almost everyday, it never became a habit. I got to a place where I was comfortable with my body, which had dramatically changed, and then I stopped working out. I didn’t really eat bad food, and I wasn’t a complete couch potato, so I didn’t gain any weight for a few years.
Over time, however, I became less toned, started eating worse, and noticed I had gained about twenty five pounds (maybe more by now… I’m too afraid to check lol) back. The realization that I needed to get back into a strict gym regimen didn’t come until a few months after my college graduation. If you have been following me since then, you would know that I took a bit of a vacation this summer. I traveled literally all over the country, and even spent some time as a carnie (aka a LOT of fried food, and food that probably shouldn’t even be considered ‘food,’ to be honest). Come October, my jeans didn’t fit anymore. I legit would get stomachaches because they were so tight. I wish I was kidding. That was the end of the rope for me.
So, during the month of October, I vowed to go to the gym every single week day. And I reached my goal! I felt awesome, and I was determined to continue this for the months to come. Then, I got a tattoo on my hip on November 18th, and if any of you have ever been tattooed, you know that you cannot get it wet (sweat counts) for six to ten days. And then it was basically the holidays, and then I figured, you know what? I’ll just start over in 2018. Yeah, that’ll be fine for me. Plenty of time to get fit before Summer.
Then January came, and I was going to the gym everyday (with the exception of a Celtics game and a snow day or two), but I realized I wasn’t able to push myself the way I would need to in order to get the results I want. Even the stomachache my wicked tight jeans gave me wasn’t enough for me to get my ass into gear. I knew I needed more motivation.
I had always low key wanted a personal trainer, but never thought I could afford it. Some of the influencers I watch on YouTube go to these crazy gyms with so much space, and so much equipment, and their own trainers there to push them. That probably costs so much money, I thought. But, you guys know I’m a big believer in the if you don’t ask the answer will always be no philosophy, so I Googled “personal trainers near me” just to make sure, and sure enough I was able to find one for a very good price. I signed up online, and he contacted me that same day, and I set up an appointment for that weekend.
Now, let’s revisit what I mentioned in the beginning of this post: turkey arms. I have had turkey arms my whole life – those flabby, floppy, farthest-thing-from-muscle arms. When I first met with my trainer, I had NO upper arm strength whatsoever. I couldn’t do a single push-up. I definitely couldn’t even attempt a pull-up.
Turkey arms weren’t my only problem, either. When I looked down, all I saw was my stomach. I felt uncomfortable sitting in tight clothes (if I ever dared to stuff myself in them, which was extremely rare and usually covered by a sweater) and bathing suits because my fat rolls were so prominent. If you’re reading this and thinking to yourself that you know what I look like, and that I’m being dramatic, think about this:
I was used to being bigger than all of my friends. I was used to being the largest girl in the room. I learned to deal with it. I figured out how to dress myself to hide these parts of me. I highlighted the parts of me that I wasn’t embarrassed of. If you know me in person, you’ve likely never seen my body the way you may think you have. I have never in my life been able to wear tight clothes. And I’m not just talking about a slutty bodycon dress at the bar. I mean a plain t-shirt and jeans. If you’ve seen me in pictures, and you don’t think I look the way I’m describing, its because I know my angles. I know how to stand so my turkey arms don’t show. I know which lighting is best to hide my fat rolls. I know where to place myself in a group so my friends on either side can suck me in.
Hiding my body is second nature. And I don’t want to do it anymore.
I want to sit down on the beach and be able to show off my hip tattoo, or my back tattoo, and not worry about flabby skin getting in the way of my confidence. I want to genuinely love the way I look for myself.
For fear of getting ridiculed by readers, I’ll explain one thing clearly again. I am not in any way, shape, or form saying that there is something wrong with having bigger arms, or a larger stomach, or being a size fourteen, or anything of the sort. For me, that was not the way I personally wanted to look OR FEEL. If you can consider yourself physically fit at the weight that I previously was, that’s amazing. But me – I think I had a thirteen minute mile at that weight. THIRTEEN MINUTE MILE. And that’s probably being generous. I have never known what it feels like to be able to just throw on whatever I have in my closet and feel comfortable, or participate in extended physical activity without needing my inhaler (I’m laughing as I’m writing this because it’s so pathetic but unfortunately so true). I have never been able to sit without subconsciously crossing my arms over my stomach. I have never been able to walk into a store, try clothes on, and know what actually looks “good” on me, because I’m so used to simply buying whatever fits (because for the first eighteen years of my life, finding clothes that fit was a rare experience).
Trust me, I realize that there are bigger problems in the world than not feeling comfortable sitting in a bikini on your boat on the Cape, but I don’t see anything wrong with enlisting some help in gaining the physical confidence that I currently lack – and that is why I chose to start working with a personal trainer.
Three mornings each week, my alarm goes off at 4:25, and I’m at the gym before 5am. While I’m there, I genuinely feel like I’m making a difference in the way my body looks and feels; something I was never able to motivate myself to do when I was just going to the gym on my own. I stay completely motivated by the environment, my trainer, and even the other people working out in the gym. On my first day, I was on the rowing machine, and a man I had (obviously) never seen or met before came up to me and said come on, girl! You got this! Faster! And I was like yes. This is the environment I need to be in to get in shape.
I’ll keep you guys updated on the results… 😉
As always, thank you for reading! If you have any questions about my personal fitness journey, my trainer, or anything else, leave a comment below!