Telling a woman, especially a woman who has spent a lot of time and effort to lose weight that she needs to gain some lbs is about as terrifying as it sounds. In fact, I’m pretty sure gaining weight is constructed as a woman’s worst nightmare. After all, we are all just trying to be as small as possible, right? *so much sarcasm*
As someone who was overweight for the majority of their life, I understand the mental hang ups with gaining weight. A lot of women feel like they are going to be out of control (binge), they fear “getting fat again”, or they loathe all of the comments that they have to face about being slightly bigger than they were before. Because in society, if you’re overweight, then losing weight = winning. So why would you want to undo your “win” by gaining weight back?
Even in groups of women who know about the benefits of gaining weight (specifically lean mass), there is still a lot of hesitation when it comes purposefully trying to make the scale tick upwards. I would be lying if I said I don't feel that same hesitation.
One of my big tasks for my off season is to gain some weight. The first 8 weeks of my off season are dedicated to doing all of the volume (hypertrophy training) and eating. A LOT. I already knew that this was the plan and have been looking forward to the training and food changes.
BUT, that doesn’t change the fact that gaining weight is uncomfortable, on several levels. Not only are you constantly full but you often feel cognitively and emotionally uncomfortable. There is this dissonance between what you think you should be doing vs. what you are actually doing. It’s almost a feeling of needing to get “permission” to not actively be pursuing fat loss. Women spend so much time being told that we need to shrink and we internalize those messages to such a great extent that even entertaining the idea of not doing trying to shrink feels “wrong”. And it feels a little scary. Especially when you're not super lean or small to begin with.
The past few weeks, I’ve felt “huge”,self conscious, bloated, and just all around sort of “blah” at various points. But those feelings are fleeting. And the reality is that most of those feelings come from things projected on to me. I feel “huge” because I think people are looking at me and thinking that I look big. In reality, most people probably don’t give two fucks about what I look like and quite frankly, it’s rather presumptuous of me to assume that people are judging my appearance.
But at the end of the day, the opinions (whether perceived or real) just don’t matter all that much. that having a sense of agency and ability to say “these are my goals and mine alone” becomes even more important when you feel like your goals fly in the face of convention and are constantly questioned. So pass the carbs, please. (but really, I probably need to eat)