Flashback Friday Vol. IV: How I Got Smart

Sorry guys.  Flashback Friday’s been on hold for awhile because of the holidays, travel, et cetera!  But I’m back, with the story I promised–how I went from skinny fat, injured, and unhealthy, to healthy, muscley, and strong.

So, as you know, in December 2008 I was 150 pounds.  I was also “skinny fat”–the phenomenon where you weigh a low number, but you’re squishy and jiggly still because you have a high body fat percentage and no muscle.  Through Livestrong.com, I discovered the book The New Rules of Lifting for Women.  As you know, I love plans.  Frankly, I was tired of running 6 miles a day, 6 days a week.   And the idea of being “allowed” to eat 2000 calories a day sounded like heaven.  So, I plunged myself wholeheartedly into the program.

And here is where I post progress pictures.  From last year.  In a bikini.  I realize I in no way live up to a lot of the super-fitness bloggers out there, but I am very proud of how my body changed over this program.  Here I am at the beginning:

And the end:

(I cropped my face out for safety reasons.  Also, I look like a huge tool.)

The biggest changes I saw physically were in my upper body.  I still have very well-defined shoulders and biceps even though I lift only once a week or so these days.   My thighs will always be huge, but they definitely got more muscular, and I think I successfully took my waistline in a bit as well.  I also generally looked firmer and less jiggly all over.

But I saw even bigger changes mentally.  This program taught me the following things:

  • It’s okay to eat. Really.  Eat lots of good food.  Your body needs it to get stronger.
  • The number on the scale doesn’t matter. I gained five pounds on this program and my jeans were falling off.
  • Don’t be afraid of the weight room. So many women are terrified of lifting heavy weights, but I was never once treated badly by a man there.  In fact, I got a lot of respect.  I once had two women approach me asking if I could train them!  Just go in with a plan, ignore everyone else, and do your thing.
  • Never lift weights lighter than your purse. Or a Christmas ham.
  • Lifting heavy will not make you sprout a peen. Women develop pretty, feminine muscles, and do not look like men without the assistance of steroids.
  • And most importantly, skinny =/= healthy. Anyone can be skinny.  Being healthy, to me, requires a balanced approach to food and exercise.

This book changed my life, and I’m so glad I did this program.  I can’t recommend it enough.

How do you achieve a balanced healthy outlook?  Do you ever struggle with it?


12 Responses

  1. You look fabulous!
    I’ll never have a picture perfect body, but I am strong, thanks to weight lifting, and I have a nice hourglass shape. Unfortunately, I gained a lot of weight as a young teen and gained a LOT of stretch marks (on my hips and butt) to go with it. I’m not sure I’ll ever feel comfortable in a bikini because of that. I didn’t get any when I was pregnant, thankfully, but that doesn’t make up for the damage I did long ago.
    I’m a HUGE proponent of weight lifting, for many reasons. I’ve never read the book you’re talking about, but I’ve taken strength training classes, such as Body Pump, 2-3 times a week for a about 4 years. What a difference it has made. I’ll always have thick legs, but they’re toned and strong.
    Now, if I could only get rid of the cellulite on the back of my thighs….

  2. Thank you for helping to debunk two myths that drive me up the wall: that heavy lifting makes women “bulk up,” and that skinny and healthy are synonyms!!!

  3. You look great!! That book is on my list. I always start lifting weights and do it like 2-3 times a week for maybe 2 weeks then stop. I really need to learn to stick with it!

  4. You look great! I’ve heard great things about the book – I think I need to pick up a copy. 🙂

  5. Wow! I would kill for either one of those pics to be me!! I love NROL4W…except that I haven’t been able to get past stage 3…I’ve never been able to keep my lifting schedule solid enough.

  6. Brie you look AMAZING. Totally inspiring! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  7. You look fantastic girl. Thanks for the inspiration. I really want to make myself look better because I’m jiggly all over. Blech!

  8. You look fantastic! I’ve been following your blog for a while and started NROLFW based on your rec; I hope I can see as much progress as you did.

    (I also used to be one of those 30+ miles/week people who was skinny-fat. No more.)

  9. LOVE that book!

  10. Def. an inspiration! love the blog!

  11. Wootwoot!!! I think you are a perfect example of what heavy lifting can do for your body. I especially love that you gained weight but got a more rockin’ bod 🙂 That program definitely showed me how whack relying on the scale is.

  12. Thank you for these tools. I just spit my snack while laughing at “sprout a peen” 😉

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