And I'm here to tell you that they're so wrong.
Growing up - and even today - I've been prey to the skinny-shaming phenomenon. I've had people comment on my completely normal eating habits or my skinny wrists. People have treated me as weak and frail. People have asked me to "go eat a sandwich" because they thought I looked anorexic.
And of course it had a devastating effect on my self-esteem.
It was also very difficult for me to find clothes that fit. Most stores don't carry sizes smaller than XS, and back when I was sixteen, XS was extra-big on me. So I had to shop from the kids' section.
Plus, I could barely lift two grocery bags without passing out.
At first, I started working out so people wouldn't comment on my appearance. That didn't work, because people say mean things no matter how you look. But I continued working out, and today, I can wear what I want to, I can carry a 15 kg suitcase up three flights of stairs without having to ask anyone for help, and most importantly, I can build my own self-esteem.
So much can change in just three years. The picture on the left is from 2012 (11th grade), a few months before I started working out. I used to be so insecure of my skinny, shapeless figure, and you can tell by my posture that I had zero confidence. I also couldn't lift more than half kg dumbbells at the time. The picture on the right is from just a few weeks ago (sophomore year of college), and is the result of eating clean and working out six days a week. I'm now more flexible, more positive, more energetic and more confident. I also lift three kgs and can't wait to get stronger. Most people think working out is just about losing weight or looking good, but it isn't. It's about having a better life and a better mindset. 😊 #beforeandafter #fitspo #fitnessresults #fitnessfirst #geekfit #college #girlswholift #girlswhosquat #geekiechic
How I Started
Initially, I was too weak to lift weights or do Pilates, because I had almost zero body strength, so I started with cardio. I would do ten minute dance workouts a few times every week.
Soon, I started lifting half kg weights. I know it sounds preposterous, but back then, even that was a challenge for me. Now you know how unfit I was.
Slowly but surely, my stamina levels shot right up. I managed to go up to 2 kgs with great difficulty, and now I could finish a dance workout without taking a break every other minute.
But I still wasn't eating right. And everyone knows what you eat matters more than what you lift.
It wasn't until last year that I bought my own 3 kg dumbbells and decided to cut down on junk food. That went really well. Within the first six months of college, my weight went from 37 kgs to 43 kgs. I could actually see the muscles in my arms and legs, and I now had two-pack abs. And let me tell you, for a skinny kid, that is incredible.
Where I Am Now
At the moment, I'm still at the 43-44 kg mark, but I've stopped looking at the number on the scale. Instead, I focus on how much stronger I'm getting day by day.
I'm now doing a combination of yoga, Pilates, weight-training and cardio every week.
My food habits are great. I eat a high-protein, high-calorie diet. I avoid sugar and processed snacks as much as possible. I still make sure to have one cheat meal every week, though, whether it's pizza or popcorn or even a packet of Lay's.
So yes, I've accomplished the fitness goals my sixteen-year-old self had set for herself.
But that doesn't mean I'm going to stop working out. Fitness is more than just looking good to me. Today, it's a part of me. Working out makes me feel alive. It reminds me that I have the power to change my life, and there isn't a day that goes by when I don't continue this journey. Whether it's eating clean, walking to college, or taking the stairs, I don't let any opportunitites pass by. And I can see the results, and I am so happy with them.
Why You Should Start Working Out
By now you know that fitness is not for the fat or the chubby or the lazy or the skinny. Fitness is for everyone who wants to live a more fulfilled, positive life. So even if you have five minutes to spare, get started now.
What's your fitness journey like? What motivated you to change your lifestyle? Are you happy with the results? I'd love to have a gym Geek discussion in the comments below, so go on ahead.
See you later!