November 2009, I remember it like yesterday. Photo shoot and I suddenly didn’t like how my body came across via the camera lens. I was disgusted by the interpretation of my body the lighting, the pose and the camera presented for me. In hindsight, if I had just angled myself a little differently, posed in a different manner, I would not have made it my goal to demolish all the hard work I had put my body and mind through for so many years. At that time, I was at crossroads and my change of what I wanted to be like actually collided with a mainstream project (The Butt Bible) which I wouldn’t have landed if I had kept my buff physique.
It took me nine months to reach my ‘dream look’. I spent three hours of catabolic cardio six days a week, I reduced my protein intake. I really carved off the muscle mass. What a pain in the butt it was. And yeah, I liked my new slimmer version of myself at that time. I liked being smaller. I felt feminine. I liked I had no pain from aching muscles and suddenly I didn’t feel like a transvestite when wearing a dress! Yes, I know it sounds silly, but remember how critical we are to ourselves.
My body was fighting my attempt. I retained water. No matter how much weight I dropped I never saw that six pack of abs I wanted. I just looked smooth. I hated it. I tried harder, dieted harder, nothing happened. My weight was fluctuating 5-7 lbs in water from day to day. It was driving me insane! Desperately I put myself through all kinds of blood tests, MRI’s of the brain, saliva cortisol testing etc, all came out normal and healthy, except for a strange high blood phosphorus that was unexplainable. I was quite miserable about not knowing why my body didn’t want to do what I wanted it to do! I went through my notes from years back, I didn’t see these huge fluctuations in weight before. What was up?
December 19th 2011 was the day I was fed up. I was angry with myself for my goals. I objectively wrote down my strong points: I build muscle easily, I lose fat very slowly and my body resists any change of weight I want. What I was asking my body to be was a complete different animal. I wanted it to be some kind of skinny ripped ballerina or what? It was time to regain my muscle mass. I was so scared. Would I feel like a giant again? And yes I know it sounds crazy and mentally confused and distorted, I knew I wasn’t a big giant, I was petite and had always been, but in my mind, I felt out of place, uncomfortable in my own body, the body that has made me famous…
I told myself I would gain back muscle from 110 lbs to 115. What did I do? I didn’t eat more, I started lifting heavy again. I cut down cardio a little. Not much. I wanted to make sure it was muscle gain, not fat gain I got. Silly me for thinking I would somehow be able to control my weight all the sudden. I was back buffer in about two weeks. I filled out fast. I felt chubby but I just didn’t look in the mirror. It was a time of mental transferring.
I was thrilled to be back lifting heavy and hard again. The pounds came back. In two months time I was back at my 121, where I started before I went for that skinny ideal. Then the scale kept on going up to 123… First I panicked, but then I slapped myself into thinking differently. Unanticipatedly, my weight didn’t fluctuate more than a pound from day to day. I was shocked to see the exact same number for three days in a row. 121, 121, 121, 123, 122, 121, 121. Never happened before for years. This was calming, I didn’t have to worry if I’d have a ‘fat day’ or a ‘ripped day’ for photo shoots. I felt more like a professional again who could actually show up in decent condition.
And then, my blood tests came back with normal phosphorus! And everything else looked even better on paper. My cholesterol went from too low to normal too.
Every day I work on my attitude. I don’t know if I invented the term, but I call myself ‘muscle voluptuous’ and I remind myself daily that my body is happy now, it’s where it wants to be. I now sport a deep six pack daily, even on my smoothest days. How come? I just added 10 lbs of lean muscle! What my body needed I suppose.
As a woman in this skinny ideal society, trust me, it’s very hard to keep my thoughts from negative and judging and wanting to be another version of myself. I try to perceive my body as it wants to be without falling into the trap again. I told myself never again will I destruct what I have for some stupid mind fuck I created myself. People’s comments like “You look amazing” didn’t even touch me, I didn’t and don’t care what other people think, it’s all about my own thoughts about myself.
I get a lot of questions about my current body fat (since I used to keep it form 7-10% measured by dexa scan and bodpod) and my response is: I don’t know and I won’t measure. The reasons for this are: Would I change my view of myself if it shows a higher body fat? Yes. And if I look the way I want in the mirror and in photos, that’s the right body fat % for me, be it 7 or 20%. It doesn’t matter what a piece of equipment states I am, so I won’t create new demons in my mind.
I have been given a strong, athletic body which took me from Sweden to America. It was my ticket to this country I love to death. I’m not a skinny yoga bunny, I’m not tall and slender. I eat for a lean body and for a muscular built. I train for it too. Whatever my body wants to be is what will be and I make the best of it without trying to destroy it.
It’s my mission to present an alternative body ideal for all of you who don’t fit the ‘normal’ opinion of what you’re ‘supposed’ to look like.
I don’t want to be part of a society that suppresses a healthier ideal of the very fit female body.
Here are pictures of my skinniest me in 2011 before I changed my mind to regain all my muscle mass and then some. And then, an after shot of the recovered muscle. In the second shot I had still not packed on all muscle mass I have today. ¬†Now I’m more muscular than ever, weigh more than ever in a lean state. I intend to keep it.
Over & Out.