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!