Greetings everyone! I have got to be honest with you, not being able to get to the gym is driving me a little crazy. I love to work on my weights and see/feel my improvements. I struggle with depression and the routine helps me.
I also struggle with body dysphoria. Body dysphoria is defined as,
“A mental illness involving obsessive focus on a perceived flaw in appearance.The flaw may be minor or imagined. But the person may spend hours a day trying to fix it. The person may try many cosmetic procedures or exercise to excess.”-Mayo Clinic
Lets focus on the minor or imagined part for a second. I get so frustrated with my stomach. It’s not even that big but there are literal days where I sink into a horrible dark depression since I have loose skin and fat on my stomach. It can be bad enough that when relaxing on the couch by myself, I’ll cover myself up. I even have a hard time showering because I don’t want to look at myself.
I also have a hard time with my gender expression. As someone who was assigned female at birth (AFAB) my breasts and hips make me feel pretty upset. I’ve been told I have a great figure and just hearing that makes me feel uncomfortable. That’s not how I feel or look in my mind. So what is meant to be a compliment turns into an insult. And boy, did I want that to change.
What I thought would help was working out. I don’t want to get on hormones to change my appearance yet. I have considered it but I think working out would be cheaper for now and keep me healthy. The issue I had for while was I thought working out would give me results based on how hard I was pushing it in the gym.
Don’t get me wrong, you have to work hard but you don’t need to hurt yourself. This Youtube Video talks about the harm done by the “One More Rep” mentality.
When we see champions working out, we think that imitating them will produce the same gains. The truth is, it won’t. You have to build up your core endurance/strength in order to do those types of workouts and not hurt yourself. This means consistent practice at your level.
The way that I come at this problem is to take what I can do and halve that amount and do it everyday. If I can only do 2 pullups total, everyday I’ll do 1. Then, if I am feeling pumped that day, I’ll attempt 2 or even 3. This makes it so I’m actually practicing more! Basically, doing it once a day is better than twice 2 or 3 times a week. Combine that concept with other workouts and you see core improvement.
What I try and do everyday now that we are in quarantine is pull ups, pushups, and squats. This hits most of the areas on my body while not overdoing it. I can only do 2 pushups a day, attempts pull ups/hang on the bar, but I can actually do a lot of squats so I do one legged but only 4 on each side. I also walk (can you say Pokemon GO?) and practice swordwork when I can.
The reason why you want to work out is just as important as what you are doing. Doing this for other people or because of body dysmorphia isn’t something the gym is going to fix. That’s your mental health. Therapy and a good support system will take you much farther in your goal of loving yourself.
If you want to workout for you, reach a goal, even just enjoy yourself then working out sound great to do. The reason I started working out wasn’t great but now I am in a much better place to approach my workouts. I have a great support system, better eating habits, I’m not losing much weight but I am getting so strong and I can even see muscle definition!
I feel really lucky I got all of this advice early on when working out. My friends have been a wonderful support through my journey. My goal is currently being able to do a full pull up unassisted. This could take me a year. Hell, getting to where I want my body to be could take five years…but that’s alright. It’s the journey. It’s every few months doing something that you couldn’t do before. It’s your partner or friends complimenting you. It’s a stranger at the gym asking you for advice.
I would love to hear from all of you about your journeys. What are your goals? What helps keep you on track? What do you struggle with? What are you interested in but scared to try?
p.s. Something I’m interested in but scared to try is crossfit! It look intimidating and like a lot of fun. Has anyone ever tried it?