‘I Got The Body Of My Dreams — After Gaining 8 Kilos Of Muscle’

In January 2016, at 83 kilograms, I was exhausted, heartbroken, and depressed. My relationship of 10 years had just ended, and at 27 years old, I felt unattractive; I hated what and who I saw in the mirror, and I felt like my happiness was completely out of my control. So I decided to get skinny. I […]

by | Aug 17, 2018

In January 2016, at 83 kilograms, I was exhausted, heartbroken, and depressed. My relationship of 10 years had just ended, and at 27 years old, I felt unattractive; I hated what and who I saw in the mirror, and I felt like my happiness was completely out of my control.

So I decided to get skinny. I thought watching the number on the scale go down would make me happy. And for a while, it did—I started off just walking my dog farther and farther every day, and eventually I joined a gym.

By the end of 2016, my body was exactly where I always thought it needed to be to feel better about myself. I’d spent the previous 11 months working out like crazy and my weight dropped from 83 kilograms to 54.

But instead of feeling good, I felt petrified. The truth was I had spent the past 11 months obsessing over the scale, secretly under-eating, over-training with cardio, and skipping rest days due to overwhelming guilt. And with a lack of food and rest, I was constantly tired, hungry, and completely out of energy.

I didn’t feel beautiful. It hit me that weight loss was clearly not the fix I needed to improve my self-esteem and self-love. I needed to be athletic and healthy instead.

I set out to become strong

Luckily, my sister, a personal trainer who helped me lose weight in the first place, opted to help me with my new goal, too. Under her direction, I began adding weightlifting to my gym routine. I decreased my cardio and increased my calorie intake. 

Eating more and cutting back on cardio was really hard after spending nearly a year doing the opposite. But after a few weeks of lifting weights, I started to notice changes in my body. The scale started going back up—which was scary. But I knew it was for the right reasons. I had to remind myself that eating more would help fuel my body and aid my growth, repairing muscle.

I learned how to do compound lifts—squats, deadlifts, bench presses, and overhead presses. I felt strong and capable. But moreover, every day in the gym felt like a challenge—fitness became fun again.

I started gaining muscle definition and my curves started to reappear in all the right places. Clothes started fitting me better. I started feeling confident.

The mental release was unbelievable—when I stopped obsessing over what the scale said and instead focused on improving my strength and upping my weights, I stopped overcomplicating, overthinking, and stressing about my body as much. And that’s when the real results started showing.

It wasn’t until this year that I finally landed the body of my dreams—made of curves, strength, and confidence. It took gaining 18 pounds to get me there.

Now I have a gym routine that empowers me

I train five to six days per week: I do compound lifts three days a week, then other exercises and a little bit of cardio the other two to three days.

My focus is still on getting stronger and building more muscle—which is why I focus so heavily on compound lifts. I love that you’re targeting more major muscle groups using fewer exercises; you can create a full-body workout in less time and burn more calories than if you were staying in the gym for two hours.

I love my body now

But what I really love is my confidence. Fitness has helped me overcome depression and anxiety and given me a sense of purpose and inner peace.

I work out not because I “should,” but because I finally understand what it feels like to love myself. It’s so crucial to have a healthy self-esteem because when you feel good about yourself physically, it improves your mental outlook and your behaviour.

My number-one tip?

Remember that being happy and confident is the best feeling in the world. Getting healthy and strong created that for me.

Follow Lisa’s fitness journey @lisa.bb88.

If you have a story you’d like to share, email us at womenshealth@pacificmags.com.au

This article originally appeared on Women’s Health US

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‘After 3 Miscarriages, This is How I Processed the Trauma’

With October marking International Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month, we spoke to survivor of multiple miscarriages and women's health lobbyist Samantha Payne, CEO and Co-Founder of Pink Elephants - Australia’s only national support service dedicated solely to miscarriage and early pregnancy loss.

Here's her story.

What is your experience with miscarriage?

I have lost 3 babies to miscarriage, my first was a missed miscarriage - I walked into a scan expecting to show my then-toddler her baby sibling on the screen only to be met with 'I'm sorry there is no heartbeat.' I had to endure a weekend with that baby dead inside of me before I could be fitted in for a D&C.

My next miscarriage happened 6 months later - I started to bleed on holiday with friends, I told no one, I was deeply ashamed. I passed that baby alone in the shower at 3am, forever traumatised as I had to flush the remains down the toilet.

My final loss was just last year another miscarriage I started to spot and I just knew, the Doctor that saw me this time asked if we could see a flicker on the screen she thought there was a heartbeat, astounded we asked for a second opinion, where it was confirmed my baby had died.

How did you process the trauma?

With my first two losses, I didn't cope. I poured everything into Pink Elephants and having another baby. I had another pregnancy but was completely terrified the whole time, I didn't bond with this baby, no names, no gender reveal, wearing a brave face every day pretending I was grateful. When Johnny was 4 months old it all caught up with me: I had postpartum anxiety and post-traumatic stress as a result of my losses and not processing the trauma. With counselling and medication, I began to heal and process my losses. My loss last year was different: I took bereavement leave, I gave myself permission to grieve our baby girl and mourn my future with her. I spoke with others in our community, I went back to counselling, and I took the time I needed to start to heal.

How did you get the courage to launch Pink Elephants?

I don't think it was courage, in the beginning, I think it was my anger at the lack of support and validation that I chose to channel into something positive.

I never want my daughter to go through what I did in the way I did. Women deserve so much more than what we currently get.

Last year took courage to come back and work in this space again after bereavement leave - the physical and emotional pain was real, the triggers of other women's stories are real but they are also cathartic. As is the change we create, I feel like my work is meaningful and makes a difference that's what carries me on, I know we can do so much more with the right support alongside us.

I want to next see more targeted action from our government - in particular the Department of Health - in addressing this issue. It's no longer ok to turn a blind eye to the death of our babies, our trauma, and our poor mental health because of the system failing us.

How can we support a friend that has been through loss like this?

You can be there for her, you can validate her loss, don't reduce it to 'at least' comments. You can't take away her pain but you can provide a safe space for her to share and feel listened to, empathised with, and supported. Like any other bereavement send flowers, we have collaborated on a LVLY nurture flower posy as a way to do this. Remember there is no timeline to grief and it's ok for her to still be upset for many months after, remember her due date, acknowledge it at the time, support her through other friends' baby showers.

How can women experiencing miscarriage access support?

They can head to www.pinkelephants.org.au to access our circle of support, which includes online peer support communities to connect with others through miscarriage, trying to conceive again, and pregnancy after loss. Specialised emotional support content, as well as shared stories and journeys, can be accessed through our website too.