F*ck the Scale and Aesthetics

Doooooood, I killed it at the gym this morning! We are wrapping up a 12-week strength cycle and today was our last round of back squats.

I posted a video update on TikTok, but this is too big not to share here. It does, however, require a little backstory, of course.

Most of you know I didn’t even start weight training until my mid-thirties. Heck, I didn’t even start working out until about thirty-one. When I turned thirty, I lost seventy pounds via diet alone, and then I started getting the confidence to go to the gym.

Yes, you read that right. I didn’t start to be a gym rat until I lost the weight—more on that in a minute.

After a few years of just taking group fitness classes, CrossFit gained popularity, and I joined a local box, never to look back.

Last year I discovered a Strength and Conditional Gym pretty close to my job, and I’ve been going consistently there since last April.

When I started, I was trying to regain the strength I lost from the pandemic shutdowns. I was looking for some good coaches and fun programming, and I found it!

In one year, this gym helped me hit all sorts of PRs (Personal Records), and today I did five sets of four back squats at a weight I couldn’t even do one rep of last year!

I’m impressed.

Yes, I’m impressed with myself!

That is a huge accomplishment and shows what consistently working on something can accomplish. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again, being able to do something I was once unable to do is one of the most rewarding and satisfying things I can experience. It’s the reason I am obsessed with weight training, period.

That said, let me give you a bit of insight into the (possibly) offensive post title that got you here.

When I think back to all the times in my youth I attempted to join a gym, workout, take fitness classes, whatever, they all had one thing in common—my desire for thinness.

That desire was the only reason I would even consider exercising.

That desire brought me to and kept me in the yo-yo dieting cycle of hell. I wish I could find the old graphic I made of this, but in essence, it goes like this…

  1. Hate my body and am driven to do something about it.
  2. Start to do something about it (diet and/or exercise)
  3. That something is too hard, isn’t working, this sucks yada-yada
  4. Stop doing that something
  5. See #1 above – Basically, rinse and repeat.

Now, I’m not telling you I’m entirely out of this cycle. It’s tough to re-program a body-image-broken brain. I have come to the realization that I will probably never be able to shed my body image issues 100%.

However, that said, I no longer let that bad body image drive my motivation to exercise or my desire to eat nutritious, healthy foods.

Over the last (OMG) fifteen years, I have worked hard to peel those two things apart.

I work out because I enjoy the pursuit of strength, the sense of accomplishment, and the confidence it builds. This was actually the easier part of the equation (for me) since I started working out after losing weight. Once I didn’t have the weight loss goal driving my decision to exercise, I was able to see all the other amazing benefits of moving and challenging my body. It was no longer a punishment for fatness but a celebration of possibility.

I eat consciously and nutritionally because when I don’t, I feel like shit. Yes, shit. Maybe it’s my age, but my gut can no longer handle food or alcohol as it once did. Eating a diet driven by fruits and vegetables with an eye on protein also helps support my pursuit of strength.

So I say f*ck the scale and aesthetics. All the consistent, positive changes I’ve ever made in the realm of diet and exercise happened when I shifted the goalposts from looking a certain way to feeling a certain way.

Phew, well, that just flew out of me. I guess you can say this post was brought to you by my post-workout endorphins. See, I love this feeling!

P.S. I have no idea what I weigh and today is my one-year scale-free anniversary!

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