Learning to Love Muscle

On Monday morning, I asked my hubby to help me zip up my favorite dress. I exhaled as he pulled up the zipper and fastened the clasp. I took a deep breath in, and realized with a sinking feeling…despite dedicated training for almost 2 months, my dress didn’t fit.

In fact, it is the training that is the reason. I told my new trainer I wanted to be able to do a pull up, unassisted. That’s nothing to shake a stick at and certainly requires focusing on developing shoulder strength. Muscles are growing. Demanding space. Space that no longer fits in my favorite dress. 

The space that concerns me most, more than the dress really, is how much valuable real estate my disappointment takes up in my thoughts. I am more capable. I am stronger. I have round, muscled shoulders that allow me to complete any number of day to day activities with ease where previously I struggled. I am proud of my strength, but my brain is screaming failure.

It’s tough, that line between body image goals and athletic ability. Logically, I know the muscle I am building is what will get me to my goal of  doing that first, glorious pull-up. That’s a goal in counting on meeting, and it’s the only counting I’m trying to do. As someone who chased numbers to their detriment, I handed over all rep and weight counting to my trainer. For these past 8 weeks, it has been glorious to be able to let go of that worrisome obsession. It’s troublesome knowing that I’ve only diverted this worry to how I fit into my clothes. My trainer says focus on the sessions and the process. Right now, that’s what I’ve got. 

Focus on the training. Focus on doing the thing. Focus on my eyes popping up over that bar. Focus on loving the muscles that will get me there. 

The rest will come.