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Lifting weights has made me happier with my body than ever before


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The scene: 9 am on a Sunday. I was just getting air The air conditioning was delivered to me and it was dropped off on the first floor in my apartment building. I live on a fourth floor in New York City. There are no elevators.

The Challenge: The 65-pound weight AC unit three flights up, alone. I'm 4'11 "and 115lbs.

I bent down, remembering to lift myself with my legs, and lifted the device to my chest, then went off, exhaling with each landing A few minutes later I put the air conditioner on my kitchen table and pumped my fist, feeling invincible like Wonder Woman after beating some Germans.

I had been lifting weight since November.

After years This malicious, unhealthy cycle of eating a cheeseburger and then running 30, I started lifting weights for minutes to alleviate my "guilt." I hated cardio.

I received an article from Casey Johnston about The Hairpin (RIP), which discussed the benefits of weight training (she now writes the column "Ask a Swole Woman" for Self ). "What struck me was," It's a lot easier, body fat with more muscle mass to lose because of the stuff "If you have more muscle, you will burn more calories if they are already present. I was fascinated. I could get smaller ̵

1; something that I thought was important then – and I could still eat. (See: Weight Lifting Questions for Beginners Ready to Exercise Hardly)

So I read some lift-up tutorials and started squats, deadlifts and bench presses. I started with an Olympic dumbbell (which weighs 35 pounds), and now I'm in my squat at 135 pounds, 145 pounds on my deadlift and 80 pounds on my bench. I jokingly say to my friends, "If any of you ever collapsed and you weigh less than 135 pounds, I can carry you on my back." I am now happier with my body than ever before.

I grew up with three older sisters in a house where size 0 was not a requirement – it was the norm.

My eldest sister was proud to always be 90 pounds. (Except if she was pregnant and was inflated to 100 pounds.) Until the age of 24, I was a size 0 who only saw arm and belly fat when I looked in the mirror. Then I became a size 4 who only saw fat on my body and hated my body because he did not stay small. My family noticed the changes in my body and remarked, "You should do more cardio to make your waist smaller" or even more clearly, "You got fat."

It's a cultural thing in my Vietnamese family. Vietnamese songs and poetry are filled with small, quiet women who are beautiful because they are small. That's one thing that American culture has in common with Asian culture. Women are more valuable if we do not take up space. Shut up, count those calories, drain off the excess parts of yourself and get smaller until you disappear.

I do not write that to claim that even thin women have a hard time. I write this because women have been focusing on the look and size of our clothing for so long, rather than what our bodies can do . We want to lose weight and get smaller, but for what? Our body is capable of doing amazing things, regardless of size. (Related: What really happens when women lift heavy weights)


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Last year I Glowed the first season of Netflix Glow devoured on a single weekend. I have the cast in the women making back-flips, pull-ups, and body slams. These women came in all shapes and sizes, and they were not afraid to sweat, to growl and to be strong. It was wonderful.

As Betty Gilpin wrote in Glamor, Glow helped her move from a person who wanted to become the "smallest person in the room" to a person who consumed protein, vegetables, and goodies every day took to be strong enough to throw Alison Brie in the air, "the" stood taller "and" took up space. (See also: Betty Gilpin explains how to play a female wrestler when "GLOW" gave her an Attitude Makeover)

When I started to lift, I knew I did not do it, so I was able to play in a wrestling show But I knew it was hard to be a small, single woman in New York City Take something as basic as the grocery store You want to go to Trader Joe because you have her soy chorizo ​​and cheap organic food? Loving products? This is great, but be prepared to bring the two heavy bags of food on board, then drive 30 minutes by train and then 10 minutes to your apartment building and take three steps out of breath and exhausted in the end, that you order Seamless, rather than prepare the dinner.

Or if you are with your suitcase in the plane and constantly looking for someone who puts it in the bin for you, because you nic ht can lift more than 10 pounds over your head.

Or if you need to carry a 65-pound AC unit up three flights of stairs.

I did not have a partner who could do those things for me All I had was my body, and I wanted us to be better partners.

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I picked up a barbell and went from there I stopped wanting my body to get smaller and leaning In addition, as I pulled my back muscles in the gym last month, my body and I took a break and received a back massage. (See also: Is it okay to get a massage when you're really hurt?)

That does not mean I do not. I still see belly fat when I look at myself in the mirror, or I have none Goals for where I want to be physically (I want to raise 200 pounds). But instead of focusing on aesthetic "mistakes," I focus on what my body can do – fat, muscle, and so on – that's what I'm proud of.

Recently I was traveling with my sister on my 30th birthday. Instead of asking a stranger, she asked me to put her suitcase in the luggage bin. I did it with a breath and a smile.

This story originally appeared on HelloGiggles.com by Diep Tran.

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