Saturday, July 27, 2013

Numbers Are No Longer A Weakness

"The gym is the only place people actually go to seek failure in order to be strong. Don't be afraid to push your limits."
My trainer looked at me and said that. 
It's something that hasn't left my mind. 

Numbers are so damn life defining. 
So, let me give you mine. 
I'm 5 foot 8 inches. 
After breakfast, coffee, some water, and then being weighed with my clothes on he weighed me at 136 pounds. 
After doing a skinfold, he calculated that I'm 110 pounds of lean muscle mass. 
I'm 26 pounds of fat. 
That number. I wanted to be fixated on it, peel it off, throw it away. 
He informed me that I am at 19% body fat and that that is healthy for a female.
He also informed me that my body type is that of an ectomorph. Sigh of relief. (A Kate Moss body type in ED terms.)
This means that I have long muscles and it's a little harder to build them, but they have long arms and legs. 
I'll take that over being an endomorph. 
Going much less in body fat percentage would be unhealthy, I would lose my period, lose the muscle I've worked for, and would be generally unhealthy. 
He said that if I lost more than one pound in a week then I would be losing muscle. 
That fact scares me more than wanting to lose weight just for the sake of a scale number. 
I forced my mind to think of things in terms of health and life. 

Let me give you some other numbers, ones that should define me. Celebrate me. 

With my calves, I can do 120 pound weighted standing calf raises. 

With my hamstrings and quads doing curls and extensions I can do 80 pounds. 
I can squat 65 pounds. Due to my twisted pelvis, that's a work in progress. 
Someday I hope to be squatting 200. 
On the abductor machine (the outside and inside of your thighs) I'm doing 145 pounds.
On leg press, I can comfortably do 150 pounds. 
When he was spotting me, I did six reps of 180 pounds. 
There was a moment I heard my mind say, "I can't do it." 
Inhale, legs close to my chest, exhale, face flushed, I pushed out the sixth one.  
Doing bridges for my glutes, I do 90 pounds. 

I decided to tell a few friends and L that I am recovering.
It is a conscious choice I have decided to make.
Plenty of talk in my writing, now I need to do.
On MyFitnessPal I upped my calorie limit for the day to 1200.
Let me tell you, you can fit a lot of food into that limit if you eat healthy.
There was a day when my body began to feed off my muscles for protein.
There was a day I was going to internal medicine because my kidneys were about to shut down.
There was a day I was about to be forcibly hospitalized.
There were a few days I cut.
There were a few days I purged, including today.

This is not me.
Weightlifting is a beautiful thing.
I am very scared many times throughout the day.

I walk into the gym, stretch, get a drink, and then I destroy my body, but not in the same way that this disorder does.
With every exhale and push or pull of power I exude from my body I fight.
I try to ooze out the poison stored up in this heart and mind.
I decided to make this my life style and pick up weight training.
A beautiful woman is strong. She is confident. She is intelligent. She is kind. She doesn't run from her fears. She doesn't accept intimidation. She loves. She lives. She laughs. She loves.

Eating still scares me.
Putting on clothes scares me.
Every day I pull at my thighs and stomach and chin.
I inspect my butt.
I inspect my skin.
Once you taste a little bit of happiness, you can't go back. Not at all.
So, this is where I'm officially at. I never thought I would find that I posses so much strength, but as I find every time I walk over to the racks of weights, you can't become strong going back to the things you already overcame.
If you can do five pounds more, do it.
If you can begin recovery, do it.
If you can just wake up in the morning and long for a better day, do it.


  1. Love this post. While I don't do a lot of weight training, I have before and I know what it's like to have those "Push, just one more" moments.I'm proud of you for telling L and some friends, I hope they aren't too worried and took it well. Nothing more terrifying than telling people close to you...So does this mean a firm, solid step towards reocvery? Not wanting to run back? It's the scariest most nervewrecking thing ever, but like you said, you can not become stronger by running back. I love you hon, you're doing so well. Regardless if you purged today, or if you'll purge or restrict tomorrow, regardless if you get a year into recovery and then purge/'s still a step that makes you stronger than most can understand. <3

    1. I would say yes. I'm still scared, but yes. :)

  2. Losing weight quickly definitely accelerates muscle loss, but if you don't exercise while losing weight you will always lose some muscle. I lost weight largely because of my ED (and very little exercise) and while I may be significantly lighter, I also happen to know I lost a good 15 pounds of muscle. Let me tell you, I miss it.

    Your body figures if you're not getting enough to eat and you're not using those muscles that it's ok to break them down for immediate energy. It stinks.

    1. You definitely do miss it. I miss how strong I feel, like my mind knows I can accept challenges. My ED makes me run.

  3. Keep making numbers your strength. The pounds you lift will always be more important than the pounds on the scales, and girl you can lift some impressive numbers!

    This whole post was just so wonderful to read. Your passion for weightlifting is inspiring, and I think a powerful tool in beating your ED. The two 'lifestyles' (for lack of a better term) are so contradictory, and I truly hope your love for lifting can help keep nudging you down the right path.

    You're a strong woman Willow, never doubt that. Sending you love and a massive hug <3 xxxx

    1. If we ever end up walking down a dark alley, don't you worry! I'll kick some ass! :P

      They are and they both scream for a lot of attention for maintenance. The only difference is that one is positive.

      You killed me Bella. Thank you. You always have the sweetest things to say and keep me uplifted. Thank you so much. I love you

  4. I'm very happy to see you may have found your calling, your "way out". We all have a passion that will tear us away from our obssession, lifting definitely seems to be yours.

    Do keep us posted on your progress in the world of weight training!
    Stay positive.

    1. If we can find one then we have to go for it. I'll try! I hope I make enough progress you guys will notice. :)

  5. Ugh, numbers. They only ruin things. I remember that in gym we got our body fat index calculated and I found out I had 38 pounds of fat on me. I was very close to being anorexic at the time, but my fat content was still higher than yours is now. 38 pounds of fat was terrifying at the time. It just goes to show that numbers mean different things depending on your body type and all that. My cousin is my weight and height but she's much skinnier than me. I try not to think about it. Numbers are confusing.

    1. They really are. I'm a decent height and weight for a 22 year old female and I have long legs and arms. The stretching helps. :) either way, it's more important to have a beautiful mind. <3

  6. Wow, you are just incredibly strong, both mentally and physically. I really hope this is the way out of your ED, and I know you can do it. You see so determined and I just want to see you better! Love <3

    1. Thanks love :D I want the same for you too!