Until a year ago, I had been a workout hater who had never been to a gym for 27 years (well I still haven't). I was so unhealthy. The only exercise I did was just 20-30 minute-long pilates largely focused on core workout, in a false belief that it was the best way to lose belly fat, and walking (not even running!) I had a slim body I was proud of but I mostly resorted to eating sparingly to keep figure, which had me have suffered eating disorder and anemia during my mid-to-late 20s. I wasn't very interested in being fit. All my focus was on being smaller.
And of course, just eating small amount couldn't be a long-term strategy. It turned my body to a "power-saving" mode, and losing weight became increasingly difficult just by that way. Last year this time, I finally realized a need to incorporate more workout in my daily lives as I wanted to wear a tight-fitting dress at a party in February. I started light cardio and lifting small weights. Yay those were effective, so I continued doing them even after the party.
And then all these COVID-19 craziness started! The school was shut down in mid March (I'm a grad student), and I was left isolated at my dorm room. As I even lost my minimal physical activity entailed by lab work, I decided to exercise more. I combined several cardio, strength, and pilates workout videos found in Youtube to make hour-long routines and followed them with my 2, 3, and 5 (and later 8) lbs dumbbells everyday (I had no idea of the importance of rest days back then. I doubt I would have cared even if I had.)
But still, my whole focus was on calories, calories, and calories. My favorite workout videos those days were mostly "Burn XX Calories in YY Minutes" things. I must have built some strength inside but it wasn't tangible yet. Being home all day aggravated my eating disorder, in a way that I couldn't stop eating once I started it. My days were endless cycles of overeating, starving from guilt, and another overeating (especially sweets) from stress. No way I could lose weight, which made me even more obsessed with calories.
You know what helped me get them over? Fitness Blender. One day in late May or early June, being tired of combining multiple videos, I searched for hour-long workout on Youtube, and came across some 1000 calorie workout videos from FB. 1000 calories! That sounded so tempting. So, in the hindsight it's so ridiculous, but the first ever FB workout I've done in my life was their 1000 calorie workout celebrating 2 million subscribers. My gosh it was tough but fun. I remember that I had nausea in the middle of HIIT (my first HIIT!) and was forced to take a break. I also remember that I did clean-and-press very awkwardly with just a 8 lbs dumbbell feeling very confused. I managed to complete it though, feeling proud of myself, and that was how I fell in love with FB.
Since then FB has been with me everyday, and I started observing changes in my body surprisingly quickly. I could feel my limbs getting harder and harder. Apparently muscles grew faster than I had ever imagined! Getting so excited, I developed a desire to become stronger that I hadn't felt before, and bought a set of adjustable dumbbells to lift heavier (and later one more set to minimize pausing to change weights in ABAB format routines.)
As I’ve found the joy of building strength, my obsession with losing weight has got distracted naturally. Seeing how slender I am in a mirror is no longer the only triumph I feel about my body. Instead I feel happier when I touch my arms, legs, abs, and lower back and realize how much more robust they have become. With this change in mindset in combination with Kelli’s and Daniel’s advice on healthy eating, I finally stopped counting calories last fall.
Admittedly I’ve gained weight since I began caring less about how much I ate. I never go on a scale so I have no idea how much exactly, but I guess at least 10 lbs. My volume didn’t increase much though. My butt is more lifted and I started seeing a hint of six pack in my abs that I never had even when I was slimmer and did ab workout everyday. I almost stopped overeating and starving. I’m on a track to be set free from my long-time eating disorder that has given me serious lethargy from time to time.
I a year ago was a girl who had never lifted weights before. Now I lift 12-15 lbs per hand for bicep curl and 24 lbs per hand for deadlift. I run better than friends who run everyday. I’m so much stronger and healthier both physically and mentally.
Fairly speaking, COVID-19 has had at least one positive impact on my life. It introduced me to Fitness Blender, which I have no hesitation whatsoever to call my life changer.