These Females Are Strong as Hell

Last summer my boyfriend worked abroad in Croatia for 3 months as a skipper for Yacht Week, and rather than lamenting my sad, non-jet-setting life, I decided to take the opportunity to get fit. I wanted to do it right — I wanted to be strong and healthy, not just skinny.

I kind of failed.

It started out fine. I started Stronglifts and I rode my bike to work every day. The problems began when my already tenuous relationship with food became downright…well…non-existent. I stopped eating. I started failing at lifts, and then I gave up lifting because I didn’t have a partner and I was too scared to ask for a spot at the gym. Essentially, I broke all the rules of healthy, long-term-lifestyle-based training: Find a buddy…Eat a lot…Lift

I got skinny. I actually looked better than I ever had in my life. I was finally happy with how I looked in the mirror. But I suddenly found my legs felt weak at work. Like, every day. I would get dizzy standing up. I was a bitch. And as soon as my boyfriend got back, I fell right back into the rut we had so nicely carved for ourselves before he left — sitting on the couch eating frozen pizza and watching Netflix.

It was all so….predictable.

I grew up dancing. I started at age 2, and continued dancing all the way through college. I studied musical theatre and performed professionally for a while. This means I grew up surrounded by mirrors, and by other girls who were better, skinnier and prettier than me (not all of them, obviously — but who pays attention to the girls that aren’t better than them?) It means that I grew up hating my body and I still do. It means I have a problematic relationship with food. It means I have some serious therapy to go through some day.

It means that this summer, I’m at it again. But this time, it’s going to work.


Because, thanks to code, I’m starting to understand the importance of patience, and learning to trust the process.

You’d think I’d understand the importance of practice over time and long-term commitment (I mean, I blogged about it like 2 weeks ago) because I grew up playing music. When I started coding, I intelligently gave myself a year to get it together, knowing that even that probably wouldn’t be enough. Unfortunately, like the dumb human I am, I tend to forget that these concepts are transposable and apply to all areas of life. Put in the time, trust yourself and the routine, and try to remember that this all isn’t going to happen overnight. Why is it so easy to accept that when learning to code, but not when getting ready for bikini season? Am I more emotionally invested in my appearance than my skillset? It’s definitely possible — I’m a white, middle-class female who came of age in the early 2000s after all.

So this time around, I got my boyfriend on board, and I decided to give eating a shot (I could probably write a whole other post about how difficult that is.)

Find a buddy…Eat a lot…Lift.

And remember these 5 things:


The dudes on the squat rack probably got all their information off the internet too. Don’t be intimidated. Do some research and then get in there and start moving shit around.


EAT. Food. Real food. If you like to cook, then cook. If you don’t, then don’t. Just start paying attention to what you’re putting in your body. It is possible to eat out and still eat well, and it is possible to eat well and not spend a fortune. Just do your research (and maybe learn to cook at least one thing.)


You can only do so much with what genetics (or God or Mohammed) have given you. I hope that changing my diet and exercising all the time will make me look like this:


but I have a sneaking feeling I might end up looking more like this:


I’m exaggerating, obviously. My point is that my body is what it is, and that maybe my haircut looks a little too much like a twelve-year-old boy’s. Getting closer to your “best shape” is about revealing what your shape actually is, and what parts of it you actually have control over. I will never have anything remotely resembling Kim Kardashian’s ass. My legs are kind of skinny no matter how many squats I do, and it turns out my tits are actually kind of small. And that’s cool. It’s my best shape. What I do have is killer arms and a strong (if squishy) core.

Let me be clear: I’m not saying “be happy with what you have.” The whole “I have curves and I’m beautiful” thing only goes so far. Sometimes, you’re just fat. I’m saying “find out what you’ve really got, and then make it the best it can be.”


You don’t always get to do what makes you happy. Sometimes you have to do what’s best, or what’s logical, or what’s right, or what’s hard. This notion we have that we should just “do what makes us happy” and money/success/more happiness will follow is a nice but easily misinterpreted notion. Don’t do what makes you happy; do what’s smart, and you will be happy that you did.


Humans are creatures of habit. You can learn to love anything. Except Tofurkey. Fuck Tofurkey.