10 Years In The Making

So… today we’re talking about fat. Fat loss, weight loss, the journey, the struggles. It’s a mess, and an uphill battle, but I keep diving in for more.

When I was 20 years old, I had been eating A LOT of fast food. I had no idea how to cook, and I did not eat vegetables. Over the course of my early college relationship, I grew in size. Simple. No excuses, it just simply happened. Month after month, year after year, I continued to buy bigger size pants. I went through a bad breakup (your first real breakup is always the hardest, isn’t it??), and instead of turning to cookie dough, brownies, and lifetimes movies, I decided to join a gym. After a few weeks of intense and sweaty sessions on the elliptical, I decided it was time to make the whole thing legit. Having joined a corporate gym, they offered the free “initial assessment” where they take measurements, calculate body fat percentage, and try to sell you on outrageously expensive personal training sessions. I took the assessment as a starting point, and they set three months goals. If I remember correctly, I weighed (approximately) 158 pounds and my body fat percentage was around 32% I believe?? I hit the gym pretty hard following that, and in about two months I was down to 145 pounds and a body fat percentage of 27/28%. I was feeling ALIVE. I had just turned 21 at that time, was single and ready to mingle, my friends. I still wasn’t eating vegetables. I honestly don’t know what I was really eating other than I had cut out a lot of fast food and hit the cardio machines pretty heavy.

Over the new two years, I exercised a few times a week, maintained a pretty healthy relationship with food, and eventually starting eating vegetables. I didn’t check my body fat percentage, but I do know that my weight peaked around 150 pounds. I knew I could lose a few pounds but all of my clothes still basically fit. In the winter of 2011, I found sweat therapy, a local fitness boutique that introduced realryder, trx, rowing, and bootcamp to a previously- typical “lift light weights and do the cardio machine for 20 minutes” type of girl. I fell in love. I was going constantly, and at my lowest I think I weighed 143 (no idea on body fat %) but I felt fitter and stronger than ever before in my life.

In 2011 I started working full time… Adulting hit me pretty hard as I was in no way truly prepared for it. The grind, the lack of money, the desire for so much with so little resources at hand. I was still pretty lazy, despite having aspirations for so much. I wasn’t willing to really put in the work for the things I wanted, so I didn’t get very far.

In 2013 I basically stumbled my way into a rather prestigious professional promotion but with more responsibility comes more stress. Longer days, longer hours, and less access to healthy meals. Lazy went out the window; I was hustlin’, working my butt off, and making every attempt at earning a pretty good reputation. However, by 2016 I was completely burnt out. Not burnt out on the work, but the schedule, the hours, the demands. There was no way out, either. It was so defeating. The work I was doing was rather terrible for my body. I became so wrapped up in this “quick fix” mentality. I was always on a program or fitness challenge; any  kind of ridiculous garbage you could find in a health book, blog, or media outlet. I never actually committed to any of the programs, and so of course I never saw any real legitimate results. I’m not saying that the programs would definitely have resulted in weight loss; I’m simply pointing out I failed in the program and so of course, in the results as well.

I was getting pretty burnt out with work and knew something had to change. I opted to relocate over 400 miles, for the same position in a very different work environment. Relocation was the only way to improve my situation, so I took it. KF and I packed up a 26” Uhaul and we moved! Now, I have significantly less stress. I’m working a regular schedule, I regularly visit the gym, and I’m getting plenty of sleep and hydration. As soon as we moved here, I returned to the fitness boutique I belonged to all those years ago.  I started off with three days a week, then four, and for the last four weeks I’ve been going at least 5 times a week (sometimes as much as 7 classes over 5 days; two days rest per week). I’m feeling stronger.  BUT the weight isn’t budging. And I really don’t care about the scale, but the fit of my clothes isn’t changing at all either.

This week I decided to sign up for a fitness assessment where they take measurements, conduct a fitness test, graph your body fat percentage with calipers/pinch test, etc.  I currently weigh significantly more than I ever have, but shockingly, I also have the lowest body fat percentage I’ve ever had. Lower than when I dropped all that weight, lower than when I was doing tons of cardio and had zero stress in my life. Seriously? What?? I was really surprised.

It feels good to be strong, and I’m glad I can tell I’m getting stronger. However, I am unhappy with my body. I’m unhappy with the size pants I’m wearing, I’m unhappy seeing the exterior the way it is. I know this is shallow. I’ve read about so many people who started setting strength goals (instead of superficial goals) and then the weight finally fell off. I do have two strength goals in mind:

  1. To be able to complete a single leg squat
  2. Complete tricep pushups with perfect form

But aside from strength, I simply want to be smaller. That’s it. I want to feel comfortable in my own skin. I don’t think it is wrong to feel that way. My only option at this point is to really, really get serious about cleaning up my diet. It’s been a struggle, and the proclamation I made back in May enabled improvement but it still hasn’t been enough. For the most part, I’ve really reeled in on the portion control. It hasn’t been perfect, but I do feel more in control as a whole. I’ve got portion control back in check. But, the goal of eating 85-90% paleo has fallen short. I have portion control back in check, so now it’s time to focus on cleaning it up again. I know, again. I’m not perfect. I’m always trying, I’m often struggling. I think the only way I can increase success and decrease struggle is by focusing on strength goals, and shifting my mindset to fuel those strength goals. 

I have to shift my mind into eating for fuel. I’ve got the fitness routine down pat, the portion control in check; so I’ve got two thirds of this system working well. So, if May was step one, here’s step two. Thanks for reading!

-Jenny

2 comments

  1. Tom O'Connell

    Congrats on your blog. It looks and reads well. Documenting your travel is a digital scrapbook which will be cherished for years. Wouldn’t be surprised if the blog was recognized or won an award.

    You have accomplished so much and should be proud of yourself. This includes professional and educational accomplishments. As for your current goals, it appears you have a very good plan of action in place. Wish you the best in achieving them.

    Love, Dad.

    Reply

    1. Twosisx6

      Thanks dad! Super sweet of you. Glad you’re enjoying the blog!

      Reply

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