Sunday, April 26, 2009

Project 17, Week 10: The End

Guest blogger and HTS client, Julie, completes her physical, mental, and emotional 10-week journey from 21% to 17% body fat. She did it! I am happy for her, she has worked hard and has learned a lot.

After 10 long weeks, I have reached my goal of 17% body fat and 125 pounds. To be completely accurate I ended at 17.1% and 125.5 pounds. I feel really good about the results, and have learned a great deal in the process.

Planning is key, which I’ve discussed before. My weekly grocery list is made with not only the dietary needs of my family in mind, but I am also cognizant of those items that are most important to my success. Women are sometimes guilty of relegating their personal needs behind those of their loved ones, but that can be self-defeating. If a healthy food that my daughters love is low in supply, I take note and am sure to pick it up before it runs out. I now do the same for myself. I take time to cut peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the preferred shape of the week for the little ones, and I also take time to pre-portion almonds and boil eggs for me. Without a ready supply of healthy choices, I would be sunk.

Flexibility is important for me. I started my 10 weeks trying to hit the carbs/protein/fat ratio of 40/30/30. I was relentless to the percentage point. As the weeks have rolled by, I have eased up on the exact science of my diet. Fellow Dan-groupie, Bruce, hit some great points in his recent post on diet. I am aware of what I’m eating, and I take into account its overall value. I might eat something that I know is a bit high in carbs for one meal, so I’m sure to make protein a priority in the next meal. If I eat out, I choose wisely, not neurotically.

The mental/emotional aspect of fat-loss cannot be overlooked. This lesson came home for me when my lowest measurement came in after a week on vacation. Well-slept, Zen with the world, and a so-so diet gave me the momentum to finally achieve my 10-week goal. Since I’ve come home and jumped into the reality of everyday life, I struggle with balance. I have had a bit of insomnia this week, have overbooked myself with commitments, and am in the middle of a move. Clearly, balance is something that I need to actively address. This will become a priority for me as I begin the road of maintenance.

And while I am speaking to the mental piece, I cannot ignore what I have learned about myself regarding body image. Now, I cannot say this finding is a complete surprise, but I have certainly confirmed one of my fears. I don’t know that I will ever be happy with my body. I hate even typing those words, but it is true. Even after reaching my goal, going down a size in clothing, getting compliments from various people…I still look in the mirror and see what’s wrong instead of what is right. I understand that this is unhealthy, and that it sounds dreadful. I get it.

I was talking to someone recently on this body image issue, that I find the negative instead of the positive. I wondered aloud if I was odd for my thinking, or was it actually more common than not? I was speaking to a man, roughly my age, who also works out regularly. It was his opinion that any of us who work hard on our bodies are often drawn to what needs improvement. According to him, we often don’t pause enough to admire or celebrate our results, but thrive on what we can do to get to the next level, and to the next. I’ve talked to scores of women, who are quite similar to me in their thinking, so it was interesting to hear a man’s perspective on body image. One woman I know, who has a beautiful body, has the same struggle that I do with seeing what’s good. It forces me to wonder how many people---reading this blog or working out at the gym, surrounded by mirrors---are actually happy with what they see.

And so, at the end of my 10-week series, I am at the beginning of a new path. In the coming days, my goal is to continue on with the positive progress I have made regarding diet and exercise. While maintaining the physical foundation I have built, I will shift my focus to tackle the mental/emotional obstacles that I have become aware of throughout these 10 weeks. It will be interesting to learn which of the two is more challenging.

Thank you all for your comments and encouragement!


Jo said...

Julie - you look GREAT. I, too, am one that always wants to look a certain way - likely how ladies half my age look ... but I have begun to loosen that expectation. I do not know a singe thing about Zen, but perhaps it is similar to peace. I have one thought about 'balance.' Actually - as I write, I might have more than one. I will try to explain in separate phrases. Balance infers - or rather is defined by a scale - bearing equal weight on each of two sides. My question to you would be what are you balancing? If you choose to live life out of your priorities, pursuit of virtues, and pursuit of an "afterlife" of your believing, then how do you truly balance? I would like to suggest that we do not live balanced lives. We do not do much of anything in a balanced way or those "things" that are most important to us get discounted and/or less important things get over-valued in order to bring balance. I hope that makes some sense. I would also suggest that why you were "Zen with the world" and well-rested was due to your allowing the balancing act to fall away. You pursued your priorities, your virtues, your "religious" beliefs. In order to not go overboard and become obsessive and/or compulsive about your body, your exercise, your diet I would want you to have a trusted and reliable person to speak truth to you and hold you accountable. Actually - that's a good rule of thumb for all areas of life so that we do not fall off the road (so to speak).

anyway - I so admire your effort, your persistence, your consistency, perserverance, and SUCCESS. Embrace your achievement. Embrace yourself.

thanks for allowing me to comment - even if it may not make a bit of sense! :-o)


Anonymous said...

You look TREMENDOUS! I am jealous. Thank you for your honesty on this journey. It hit my heart. Remember to stay focused on commitments as they arise. Balance is a frustrating illusion.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on achieving your goals. I know it was a lot of hard work but you did it. Thanks for letting us go along on your journey with you.

Anonymous said...

Way to go Lovey! Congratulations on reaching your goals. I know it was hard work, and you deserve the results!!