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About Polaris

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  1. I generally don't do goal clothes because I used to do that in my eating disordered times, and it mostly resulted in tears. But I did have some clothes stashed at the back of the closet that were a bit too tight to be comfortable, yet I was too attached to get rid off. Then I finally managed to lose some weight (nothing drastic, just about 10-12% of my total bodyweight) and the next time I tried on those clothes - most of them were too big. So I was a bit annoyed I'd lost the window when they would have fit me Now that I think about it, I don't think goal clothes would even work that well for me. Cause while I'm on an eternal quest to replace fat with muscle, I don't think I'll change much size-wise, since so far my muscle:fat ratio development has kept my measurements fairly the same. I used to think I'll wear tight leggings and shorts and crop tops when I'm [x kg thinner/look like those other girls at the gym that wear them], but at some point I guess I... either got better self-esteem or stopped caring, and now you'd have to fight me to take away my leggings and revealing tops. I still don't have perfect fat-free thighs or anything, but I deem myself "fit enough" to wear that stuff. Oh! I almost forgot the one instance when I had goal clothes. I used to have what I lovingly refer to as Mighty Boobage, due to no fault of my own, that prevented me from wearing all kinds of cool flimsy summer tops or bikinis or sports bras that weren't basically armor or dress shirts... the list goes on. When I finally decided to get rid off the excess, I spent the time I had to wait for surgery date dreaming about all the clothes I could wear. I've since acquired lots of previously unattainable (or rather, impossible to fit) clothes, and still won't stop rejoicing (to my friends, not, like, in public) how happy I am I never have to touch an underwire again
  2. Basically because we live in a sexist society where women are valued and judged by their beauty before everything else, like it's the most important thing a woman can (and must) have. And also because of that sexism, we're subtly encouraged to compete against other women instead of working together to smash the patriarchy and do other awesome stuff. (See: "I'm not like the other girls"; "I only have guy friends bc girls are catty"; all that stems from the same mindset.) So because we've internalized that crap, we judge both ourselves and other women's looks and compare in order to know where we stand in the 'pecking order'. (Don't even get me started on how race and age play into this equation. I had a crisis when I turned 25 because I was "too old and hence no longer pretty enough" to find love.) I have the same situation, but with my little brother. We look (and otherwise are) like complete opposites: I'm short-ish/medium-height, fairly big-boned with wide hips (thanks, dad), easily gain weight, pale as a vampire, dark eyes, did well in school but sucked at all sports. My brother is really tall, has always been thin and lean despite eating whatever, naturally blonde and blue-eyed, tans easily, used to compete in sports on national level because he was that talented, but otherwise he's kind of a dumbass (I can say that because he's my brother :P) Genes are weird, man. I used to hate just about every single thing about my appearance that I inherited, from my body shape to the bump in my nose, and I wished I could swap bodies with someone else and look completely different. It took a lot of time, but now I like most of the same features I used to hate, and would be unlikely to accept a complete body-swap if that was possible, even if the potential swap-partner looked really good, because I want to look like... well, me, and not someone else. (Except if I could swap with, say, Lucy Liu. I would gladly look like Lucy Liu.) I had to quote this because I'm like a reverse hypocrite, or something. I mean, I will fight tooth and nail for other women's right to do and look as they choose, and talk about how stupid, unfair and downright impossible the beauty standards are - but when it comes to myself, I hold myself to so many of those BS standards! It's like, rationally I know everything that's bad about them, but at the same time, I know the society still largely operates by those rules, so I still push myself to look flawlessly beautiful and eternally young... no matter how unfair and unrealistic it is.
  3. I know! I'm a bit late, but if anyone still needs ideas, I've got loads. Personally tested, as I cut my hair short and then started growing again, which lead to that annoying stage where it's long enough to bother me, but not long enough to be put in a ponytail (or any kind of semi-decent hairstyle, really). Hairbands. The kind that have a silicone line on the inside, so it won't slip off every five seconds. The other kinds are useless. Pins. If your hair's longer at the top than sides, you can pin the top part back, maybe twist a bit so it's more secure. You can also do a side part (or not, but imo side part looks better), then take about an inch of hair next to the part, twist it, and continue adding hair as you twist along your hairline to the side. Pin in place behind ear, or whatever spot feels comfortable. Repeat on other side. If you can find pins that curve slightly, they'll feel comfortable and not poke you in the head while you're benching. The above with French/Dutch braids, which also looks nice with longer hair. I usually do the twist version simply because I'm lazy. Slick your hair back with gel/spray/something. Works better with some type of hair than others, experiment. Backcombing may help if you're trying to pull the slick back or something, but your hair keeps parting in the middle, or a strand keeps sticking out. HAIRSPRAY. In caps because it's godsent, at least for people like me who have stubbornly slick hair. (Burning it with bleach helped, but I don't recommend it. Do as I say, not as I do.) And I'm talking about good hairspray, from a salon or store that sells the professional brands, not the supermarket stuff. You only need to use a tiny bit each time, so a big bottle (~500ml) will last forever. You can also spray some on bobby pins if they tend to slide off. Dry shampoo/hair powders. Helps your hairstyle stay put plus extends the time between washings -> more manageable hair. Hair stylists prefer to work with at least day-old hair, because freshly-washed hair tends to be annoyingly slippery. Caps. Generally not my cup of tea because I need the heat ventilation through my scalp, but I've seen some people wear them to the gym. Though I do have a cap that's just the, err, cap-part and a band around the head, so nothing on top. I often wear it for running because of the double function of shade for eyes + keeping hair off my face.
  4. First of all: it's totally normal. Not to say that it's a good thing, but the fact is, as women we're raised to compete against each other and judge each other, often specifically by looks since it's the Most Important Thing (tm) a woman can have. Not gonna lie, I used to be a very judgmental a**hole, until I realized other women's looks are none of my business, and reminded myself of that every time I noticed I was silently judging someone. As a highly visual person, I still observe people a lot, but from a neutral point of view (bodies can be so different and it's fascinating); rarely I see, say, a really thin girl at the gym with bones sticking out and think "oh, I hope she doesn't have an eating disorder", but I'd say it's honest concern rather than judging. Comparison, though - I compare myself to other ladies all the time, especially at the gym, where people usually dress in a way that lets you easily see their body composition. Sometimes it's how much more they can bench/squat/deadlift, other times it's for certain body parts or their whole appearance. Like, I often think, "man, she has the perfect arms/legs/shoulders/glutes, wonder what her workout's like". Then there are the women who seem to have a Perfect Body - tall or petite, and muscular yet lean yet hourglass shaped - the kind that if I saw them in a picture, I'd call Photoshop. One of my best friends is, in fact, a target of my constant envy both because of her performance and her looks. I used to have a lot of issues with body image and I'm still my own worst critic, but I've actually got a lot better. I've gone from hating my body to "I look pretty good, but still have work to do", which I'm fine with rn - I still have spells of dysmorphia and self-hate, but they're short-lived and even during, I know they're BS. Now when I find myself envying other women at the gym, I employ one of two responses: 1) If it's an issue of strength, or really good [body part] THAT I COULD REALISTICALLY HAVE in terms of bone structure, effort required etc., I think of it as a goal. I have a tumblr tag and pinterest board where I add 'body/fitness goals' that I aim to reach one day. And I might compliment the impressive lady, who more often than not turns out to be really nice even though she may look intimidating. 2) If it's something I KNOW I could never have, like it requires a completely different kind of frame, I'll admit I'm jealous, but remind myself that people have different bases to work with, and I'll never have her body. I can, however, have a different but equally awesome body. Not sure if that's helpful, I kind of just rambled... I guess what helped me most was to learn to realistically assess what's possible for me, personally, with the body that I have, and not the Fantasy Body I Wish I Had. I realize it can be hard if you're used to judging yourself harshly, and thinking you look/do worse than you actually do. So lots of practice, and baby steps. One thing that also helped me was to find pictures of fit women with my body type - a lot of fitness models are taller, narrower (at the hips, for example), and at a lower body fat % than I could ever maintain, and then I saw this picture of Iskra Lawrence and realized that she kinda looks like me, and she looks good.
  5. Me before Bodypump class: Oh, it'll be a nice, light recovery workout after yesterday's lifting.

    Me after Bodypump class: EVERYTHING HURTS AND I'M DYING

  6. So, finally got an actual diagnosis. I have no idea why the doctor didn't tell me about the actual problem, just the L5 mutation. My physiotherapist broke the news to me on Tuesday. I have spondylolisthesis. My L4 vertebra has slipped 6 mm forward, which I'm told is not serious since they don't even consider operating on slips under 1 cm; it's not caused by anything I did, rather some small congenital abnormalities and my general crazy joint laxity (my PT's words). Still, I was a little... shocked, to put it lightly. I'd been hoping I had a mild subluxation or a muscle injury or basically anything that could be fixed and then it'd be done with. But spondylolisthesis is forever, it's not gonna slip back to its place (without surgery, obvs). My PT assured me, though, that the pain will pass, and that it might return periodically or never. So I'll always have this... Schroedinger's back pain looming over my head. But she gave me a list of exercises to strengthen my core, which should hold the spine in place in the future, and said I don't have to quit lifting or TKD, just make sure to take a break if/when the pain flares up. She said I'm gonna be fine, and I'm trying to tell myself I'm gonna be fine, it's just... my brain's chronically messed up, but up until now my body's been relatively healthy. It's difficult knowing there's an incurable flaw in my physical self as well. Anyway, hopefully the pain will ease up soon so I can start getting back to my regular training. It comes and goes, I only had minor back pain today and yesterday, but the day before that I woke up with goddamn stinging sciatica pain in my (literal) butt. But I haven't got the kind of pain or muscle tightness/cramps that's left me crying for a couple of weeks, so yay, progress, I guess? On another note, I was an idiot and binged on bread for breakfast after 2+ months of strict keto diet. The stomach ache, oh my god, wtf I am not this dumb I know everyone is studying at their own pace etc., but I really haven't stuck to the 'ideal' schedule of progress I would've had if I hadn't had to take breaks or had periods of laziness with too little training. What's really getting to me is that a friend of mine, who started exactly a year after me, is gonna catch up to me, so I feel I'm late and not a respectable taekwon-doka (-in? What's the ending?) But the thing about loving it? It's like... my relationship with TKD would probably be listed as "its complicated" on Facebook. Back when I started and decided I like the art, I set the goal to reach black belt in a certain timeframe, and I'm gonna do that if nothing drastic intervenes. And I still like it, I never hate it, even though I sometimes hate myself for being so mediocre at it. I know so many people who are so talented at it, they've been BAMFs pretty much since the beginning, and me... I have horrible balance, bad motor control, I'm scared of jumping, I have issues with being hit etc. There have been times when I've been really happy because of TKD, like when I win a medal or really succeed in something, but there have been a lot more times when it's made me cry. Like, if I was dating TKD, my friends would have to stage an intervention Compared to lifting, which rarely fails to make me happy unless I'm having an exceptionally crappy day. Still, I persevere, because I know that despite all the times it's made me hate myself, I'd hate myself more for quitting. (I guess that's one way of interpreting 'indomitable spirit', eh?)
  7. I'm still here. I've been MIA because this back issue has been eating up a LOT of my time and resources, both mental and physical. I sleep very badly for several nights and then I sleep an entire day to catch up on that debt, so I'm behind on literally everything in my life. I'm also so tired of all the pain and how debilitating it is I honestly have cried multiple times and wanted to jump off some high place because I can't deal with it anymore. Though lately it's been getting better *knocks on wood, crosses fingers* the back pain is almost gone, now my left hip/thigh is the biggest culprit because the muscles are so tight it hurts to use them. Annoyingly seem to be mostly immune to foam rolling and stretching, muscle relaxant meds help somewhat. I got x-rays taken and nothing showed up there (excluding a congenital aberration in my L5 which is likely not behind this), my physiotherapy will finally be next Tuesday so hopefully she can fix me and show me how to prevent this from happening again. Anyway, goal progression so far: #1: Kinda-sorta? I've only been able to do strength workouts once or twice a week, and my lower-body training currently... quite painful and almost impossible, because of those tight muscles that make everything hurt. And because the pain shifts from time to time, I was able to do single-leg RDLs one workout without issues, and it destroyed me after the next one, so it's been tough. I have attempted to work through the pain a couple of times, but mostly because I thought using those muscles would loosen them up (it didn't), not so much because of my stubbornness. I have actually worked on core consistently, and for a while I had like, VISIBLE UPPER ABS because the muscles were swollen, which was hilarious because I'm not really anywhere near low enough BF% to have abs. Balance work... I've kinda neglected, but again, not by choice. Right now I'm anxious to get this perma-cramp off my thigh so I can restart training my legs before my butt disappears. (This is a very big concern for me. I have literally texted my co-athlete friends "waaah I can see my butt dropping I need help!") #2: I've been acing this one. I've been so strict with my carbs and honestly, it hasn't even been hard. Both keto diet and my ADD meds cause loss of hunger for me, so I'm not craving food like I usually do during cutting, it's actually way harder for me to remember to eat. I even stuck to my guns while visiting my mom and uncle, who are the worst influence on my cuts, because my mom is always saying "well you can eat that just this one time" and my uncle will ask about every two hours, "Have you eaten breakfast/lunch/dinner/snack? Do you want me to make [some delicious but extremely sugary dish]?" They were pretty respectful though once I explained that it sounds good but I really can't. AND I've actually lost weight! I'm around 61 kg from the stubborn 63, yesterday I hit 60.8 so I rewarded myself with a McDonald's meal. Also I've lost several cm off my waist but that may be just bloat leaving. #3: Yeah lol no, I haven't been doing 3 cardio sessions x week. I've done one or two per week, either after my lifting or on separate days, which I've kinda... started to enjoy? I did semi-starved cardio one morning and I was expecting to feel awful like an empty balloon, but I think my body's got the hang of this burning-fat-for-fuel thing. I've always had really bad endurance, and I feel like my body doesn't know how to utilize energy storages on a "normal" diet; it'd run out of glycogen in about half an hour and then just, nothing. I suspect I might be one of those people who just feel generally better on a LCHF diet. So generally, I've done the best I could under the circumstances, and that should be enough, shouldn't it? Oh and life goal: two books out of four down and one halfway read! I'm proud of myself for this one. I haven't cleaned up my room yet because my back hasn't let me, but I'm planning to do that as soon as I'm able, because even I can't take this mess anymore. Oh my god, I love deadlifts! I'm a (aspiring) powerlifter, and they may be my best and favorite lift. But alas, I've not felt safe lifting that much weight because of this back issue. Like, I was gonna try some back squats with just the bar a couple weeks ago, but I felt that weight/pressure around my sacrum, which felt very weird and alarming. So DLs are off my list for a little while at least, but I'm very anxious to get back to them asap, because I've also read a lot about their positive effect on your core. I've been reading a ton of Andrew Lock's articles and they make so much sense to me. So far I've done a lot of... let's see, straight planks, side planks, different kinds of crunches on ground and exercise ball, heavy-ish cable crunches, leg lifts (for what my lower back allows, which is not a lot), dead bugs, weighted and unweighted hyperextensions, supermans... Basically anything I've been able to. I can't really lift my lower back off the ground because it hurts, so that's limited my options. I have liked exercise ball crunches but (or because) they are brutal. I've always had this problem of, well, not really knowing how to engage or brace my core, but they force me to do that. My physio has told me to go to pilates classes, which I'm on the fence about, because I've heard very conflicting information about their actual usefulness for core strength. My biggest problem is that during squats (and sometimes DLs) my back goes to extreme lordosis, even though it's normal in other situations, which is the exact opposite of most people's problem, so there's not much advice on how to fix it. Basically I have no idea how to make myself keep neutral spine. My TKD... Well, I've been practicing ITF style TKD for about two and a half years, I'm currently a green belt/6th gup. (I know, I'm so behind...) I intended to take the belt test this spring, but unless a miracle happens, it won't be possible because this ¤% back hasn't let me practice. I'll be so mad if I have to wait till the fall. Plus I really miss it, I was watching a competition last weekend and was just like, "bwaaah I wanna be in that ring!"
  8. Somebody tell me, if I sprained/tore my hamstring (up in the butt area) today, can I do cardio on elliptical tomorrow, or should I let it rest?

  9. I'm not here for this challenge and I can hardly train rn because of back issues, but I thought you guys would appreciate this: I was watching a TKD comp today to cheer for my friends and the members of my society in general. I was looking at another ring so I don't know precisely how it happened, but this guy, a green belt if I recall correctly, was breaking by kick a couple of boards in one of the super sturdy, but also super heavy metal stands they had. Like, needs 2+ people to move it kind of heavy. Suddenly there's this GODAWFUL NOISE, and I see the guy backing away frantically as the entire stand is falling over towards him. Regardless, he pulls the pose the etiquette requires to finish and plays totally cool. Judges are blanking for several seconds before they remember to display the flags. Guy won gold. Totally deserved it. (Also saw a black belt somehow lose her balance after breaking her boards, almost fall into and end up on her butt next to the stand. She was laughing her butt off standing up even though she obviously got no points for technique.)
  10. Went lifting yesterday and my sciatica hurt like crazy, but today it's a lot less painful than it's been for days, so... not sure if I messed up or not.

  11. 1. Doing absolutely nothing athletic as a kid and teenager and thus not having the body control/awareness people develop growing up active. No matter how much I tell myself to not lean forward when I squat it just keeps happening, it's like the message doesn't travel from my brain to the rest of my body. 2. Having to take breaks due to injuries/surgery/bouts of unusual madness/etc. I feel like all my small, hard-earned gains are going down the drain every time I'm forced to sit on my ass and not lift. 3. Lack of strength compared to the time I've been lifting seriously. I've been at it for too long to be as weak as I am. I don't know if it's the level I started off at, or the breaks I've had to take, or the hypermobility that keeps causing issues, or am I just failing as a person. My friends and acquaintances that are generally non-athletic think I'm She-Hulk, but I feel like such a poser, and hope they don't ask how much weight I can actually lift.
  12. Yo bros and brolettes, I need help. I have a mysterious back issue going on that might be a slipped disc, SI joint or other joint luxation, hip socket weirdness, or something entirely else, I won't know until I see my PT in about two weeks. The point is, most of my usual leg work (BB squats & deadlifts) are out, so I'm at a loss of what to do for lower body training. I'm in the middle of a cut so I don't want to lose my hard-earned leg muscles. Stuff I've tried out so far, behind the cut: Anyone have experience with lifting with a back injury, or just knowledge of what exercises are safe? I've been researching like crazy, but every source contradicts some other.
  13. Reason #84 why going to gym with a back injury sucks: Having to ask someone (usually a dude) for help to load plates and afraid to perpetuate the stereotype of "lol girls are weak", so I always explain "I totally CAN lift that, it's just that my back doesn't allow me to rn"

    1. TMedina


      Meh. Pride heals a lot faster than a back injury, I'm just saying.

  14. The thing is, all side effects are potential, so weight gain MIGHT happen. Or it might not. You won't really know until you try it. And even then, if the cause is increased appetite, you can track your food intake for a while and see if you've started overeating. I have chronic depression (or persistent depressive disorder, according to DSM-5) and anxiety (and ADD), and the medication I take for them has weight gain as a side effect. I did manage to lose weight while I'm on it, though it was quite slow, so maybe the med had an effect, I'll likely never know. But I do know that if I don't take it, I'll wake up every morning wishing I had an off-button and cry at the thought of having to go to the grocery store. So yeah, I'll rather take the Schrödinger's Metabolic Effect than try to live with my unmedicated jerkbrain.
  15. O hai, another lady with ADHD! It's good to hear from others with overdrive brain. I know the meds act as an appetite suppressor, but I found it hard to attribute a pound per day weight loss to just that. I'm hoping for a BMR raise because I feel like mine's generally really sluggish. (I also have mysterious fatigue issues, which might or might not be related.) And I am in LOVE with my medication right now because it makes me feel so much better, so much... sharper? Like, when you have bad eyesight and everything's just fuzzy without glasses, these meds are like glasses for my brain. I'm less tired throughout the day, less anxious and neurotic, more focused and in control, even more articulate. I still have Wandering Thought Syndrome when I'm reading course books, though they are very boring, and I can redirect my attention more quickly now. The only downside is, I hate how I am on off-days, or when the med wears off, now that I know how much better I can be. Anyhow - I still have almost total appetite suppression, which I only view as a positive thing. I hate feeling hungry, and I used to snack out of bad habits and boredom rather than actual need. Now I just have to learn to remember to eat, tracking all my food helps though. My weight's creeped down towards 62 kg for an entire week, this morning it was 62.0. I'm hoping it'll continue to drop. It might have something to do with the fact that I've had some very low-calorie days - like around or below 1000 - because I've forgotten to eat, or I've slept off my sleeping debts most of the day. Or the low-carb diet. Whatever it is, I'm continuing on keto, my calorie limit is still 1600-1700 but I might end up eating less. So many people claim that macros don't matter, only calories do, but I've noticed my body seems to respond better to lack of carbs. I don't get that lack of energy either that some people report, quite the opposite; I ended up doing about an hour of almost-fasted cardio today and I felt better than normally.
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