Below are two photos - the first was taken May 2009, and the second was taken September 2011.
So what? Big deal. Apart from the fact I'm wearing the same bikini top... what is interesting is that I weigh approximately the same weight in each photo - 58kg.
Why do I look different - even though the weight is the same?
It comes down to the type of exercise I'm doing these days (as well as some refinements to my diet).
My diet was 5-6 meals per day; protein with every meal; good fats from sardines, avocado, olive oil, salmon; slow digesting carbs in the morning and more fibrous carbs later in the day.
Training was inconsistent. I trained when I felt like it and I did whatever I felt like doing at the time. I didn't really have a strict plan to follow. I had a rough program, but I didn't always follow it. I was using weights, but my programs focused on higher rep with less weight. I did some circuit training a couple of times a week outdoors, and some walking.
My diet is pretty much the same. Some refinements made over time. Less dairy. Less starchy carbs - main focus is fibrous carbs. Less fats. Big change in terms of processed foods - these are minimal. Cheat meals are also kept to a minimum each week.
Training... this is where the big difference lies. These days I'm training with weights between 4 to 6 times per week. I'm training with a personal trainer so the sessions are a lot more challenging than when I was training on my own, and I'm training consistently - no days off, no skipping sessions, no slacking off. The focus has been to build muscle and I've certainly done that over the past couple of years.
Cardio is pretty much non-existent in the off season for me, but is a daily activity once my dieting phase starts (12-14 weeks out from a comp).
So, ladies, if you've been avoiding weights in fear of 'bulking up', I hope you can see from the photos above that training with weights can only improve your body shape and help you keep body fat off if you've got a good diet.
Remember, cardio and dieting will make you a smaller version of your current body shape. If you don't like that shape now, do you just want to be a smaller version of it? If you want to change your body, you need to lift weights. It will improve posture, give you shape and definition, and will help you burn more calories and lose more body fat. It's a no-brainer really.