Thursday, February 6, 2014

Adventures in Gaining Weight

I had a "stereotypical girl" moment last weekend. I had an event to go to and decided to wear my jeans. They were tight. Like, difficult to pull up my legs tight. Like, I ended up standing most of the time at the event rather that sit down tight.

They didn't dig into my waist, mind you, but they were so tight on my thighs that flexing at the hip meant uncomfortable pulling and squeezing.

And I had a mini freak out.

I just bought these jeans! I've been telling everyone how these are the only jeans I can wear anymore! Do I look as bad in these jeans as my discomfort has me feeling? Was putting on this weight a mistake??


You see, for the past month I've been on a new journey. One where I have been working to purposefully gain weight. It's not because I'm a "hardgainer." Trust me, I'm not. I can think about squats and my quads respond.

In a way, the very fact that I can put on mass easily is why I'm purposefully gaining. I previously lamented the state of women's weight classes in strength sports. Now that I'm doing powerlifting, extra bodybuilding accessory work, and tacking on strongman training, my body is not interested in going under about 78 kg. And that's with a very strict diet and extra cardio/conditioning!

So I decide to say fuck it. I'm going to be a super heavy weight. I'm going to be as strong as I can be and not put the extra stress on my system of constantly trying to stay a certain weight and occasionally dropping weight for competitions. I'm not a professional, no one is paying me to do this, and I can't imagine it's good for my body considering how much I put it through in training alone.

So for a few meets last year I just let myself weigh what I weigh. At the time it was between 170 and 172 lbs.

But I noticed that I was still in a weirdly semi-strict place about my eating habits. I had nervous moments when I'd worry about having too much rice on training days or getting too many calories through my protein shakes. I knew that it was time to try something a little drastic to shake that.

I'd purposefully try to gain weight.*

This is an endeavor unlike anything I've tried. I've always been on a mission to either maintain or cut, gaining is that thing that happens when you don't train enough and continue to pick up a harmless slice of pound cake with your coffee at Pete's.

At first I tried to keep my normal carb cycle and up the calories at each meal. That means low carb breakfast and lunch, two protein shakes, and a medium carb dinner and some white rice or the like before bed.

That got me nowhere fast. I was so entrenched in eating a certain way, at a certain volume, and the high protein and fat meals often kept me from getting hungry and cueing more eating. I had to let go.

So for the next three weeks I let myself eat whatever I wanted. Understand that "whatever I want" tends to still skew towards healthy compared to the average American. If my breakfast has any less than three eggs and some sort of meat in it, I feel gyped. But this time around, I'm going to have the breakfast burrito I've been eying instead of the scramble.

Took the month of January to consistently hit 180 lbs. Now I'm dealing with maintenance without losing weight. Ideally, I start to recomposition myself.

I still have freak out moments. As much as I present myself as "this is who I am", I have 18 years of dance and 33 years of being female and dealing with all the messages we are assailed with. I made the mistake of putting my measurements into a body fat calculator in a moment of boredom. While intellectually I know those aren't super accurate for someone who is muscular, the borderline obese numbers they regurgitated sent me for a loop.

So to make myself feel better, I write about it and put together this video of myself generally being a heifer:

Yeah, what a Tubby McTubster.

*I also decided that gaining weight would shut people up about "why don't you just cut to 75kg?" Because I don't fucking want to, okay?

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