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Day 92 – I actually really like my body

I had this whole post planned out. I wrote about 800 words and then deleted most of it.

So. Tomorrow’s June. I don’t know where spring went, but I’m really looking forward to gin and tonics and sun and corn on the cob and Kansas City.

It’s the end of day 92 into prepping for the fashion show. I’m feeling pretty good most days. Like everyone else, I go through mornings where I wake up feeling good and other days feeling like there’s nothing to feel – nothing bad, nothing good.

A few weeks ago, I decided that I liked where my body was physically. It was a weird decision to make. There are a few days that I’ve stepped back to think about the steps I took to get here. The biggest realization was photos from prior to surgery. I forget that the moments after competing that year weren’t ideal.

While I had maintained my leanness from competing, which made surgery easier, mentally it made things worse.

For you, and for me, I’m going to reiterate. Stage lean isn’t a year-long look. It’s not healthy for most. Maintaining 5 to 20 pounds over stage weight would be realistic and healthy depending on a number of factors. Muscle takes up less space than fat, so the scale will fluctuate, but you could be taking up less space.

I was 122 pounds at my leanness for my final season and 12% body fat, I was 130 pounds and 15% body fat in the season prior to surgery about 8 months before I started prepping for the last season.

Because the months between the two seasons had a lot of transition like surgery and recovery and medical leave and school, time felt longer even though it wasn’t.

When I took my weight and measurements in March, I was 138 pounds, and didn’t calculate my body fat. Since then, my weight is about 137 pounds and I’ve lost an inch from my hips and a quarter inch from my waist. This is where the photos help tell more of the story.

When I compare photos from now to before surgery, my glutes are much larger, my upper body has more muscle and my waist is almost exactly the same. My thighs are bigger because yeah, when you gain weight you gain some fat too. But, my suit is fitting how I want it to for the show. My clothes are fitting better now than they did this winter, meaning I’m not interchanging my 2s and 4s, but can confidently choose the 2s. However, sadly, I’m having to buy new blouses because along with some glute gains, my breasts have reappeared.

With these noticeable differences, I know my body can’t go back to the way it was a few years ago.

Right now, I feel like I have more energy. I feel like I have more confidence and the emotional capacity to invest in growing.

Hitting a few PR’s in the gym in April made the decision to transition from a slight deficit to maintenance with the possibility of sometimes being in a surplus.

I know for many that will sound counterproductive, but for me it’s a transition to maintaining, to growing, to getting stronger.

But what I’ve realized is that it’s possible that I had this body all wrong the past few months. While I remember feeling pretty good when I was lighter, what I failed to remember was the differences in my muscle mass and how that plays a role. I failed to remember that I feared deadlifting after my surgery and now I’m at the 200 mark looking for a 5 to 10 pounds increase next month or so.

It’s weird that it took a fashion show and a deadline to help me see how far this body has really come and determine what my next goals should be.

Some things I’m pondering – macro counting for June, growing my bench press, going back to morning workouts before breakfast.

I’m going to take final measurements and weight, and schedule a body fat test for this summer. I have copies of my old ones and I think it would be interesting and cool to compare the lean muscle mass amounts to see how I’ve grown because that’s something you can’t see on the scale.

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