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:
- To be able to complete a single leg squat
- 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!