Thursday, April 16, 2009

Project 17, Week 9: A Balancing Act

Guest blogger and HTS client, Julie, continues her pursuit of 17% body fat:

Check this out: 126 pounds and (drum roll, please) 16.7% body fat. I could not be more thrilled. Nine weeks ago I was 136 pounds and 21.6%. I’ve gone just beyond my 10-week goal of 17% body fat with a week to spare. Woo-hoo!

Now, my question: how did this happen? I was on spring break for about 10 days of the last two weeks. Four of those days were spent in the car, traveling to and from Florida.

We’ll start with my diet. I boiled eggs, pre-measured almonds, packed my Greek yogurts, spicy tuna, cottage cheese, and fave Slim-Fast high-protein bars. These were my intended “travel foods”. Alongside my travel foods were those horrible items that I allow my children to eat when the house rules slacken: Doritios, Nutty Bars, Crunch-n-Munch, Teddy Grahams…you get the picture. I did okay on the way down. Not perfect, but okay. While in Florida, I worsened as the week lengthened, but kept a framework of healthy choices. By the end of the week, I convinced myself that I had wrecked my results, and ate without caution the whole ride home. This is a horrible behavior of mine. If I think I’ve trashed a goal, I go all out and really trash it. Not mature or wise, I know. I was dreading getting measured this time.

My training took an interesting twist. I found I could not survive the week without the gym. It wasn’t the physical benefit that motivated me to get there, but the mental release I get from lifting. I made it to a nearby Gold’s twice when I was there, and was able to get in 2 of 3 strength training and metabolic conditioning sessions. The difference in my physical regimen was that I walked every single day while I was in Destin. I had been skipping my walking or low-intensity aerobic most of my ten weeks. I can’t imagine NOT walking when on the beach, so it just happened.

Given that I had been away from Dan’s calipers for two weeks and my efforts were half-baked at best, no one was more surprised than I was when Dan measured me. I have had a couple of days to reflect since my measurement, and I can only come up with two factors that saved me from plummeting. One came to me like an epiphany: sleep. I remember Dan’s post awhile back regarding the benefit of sleep, and I wondered if it came into play with me. I am always under-slept. I go to bed late consistently, get up early daily, and I rarely sleep soundly. During break, I slept the sleep of someone without a care in the world…which brings me to my second point. I didn’t have a care in the world. While Florida was much cooler than I had hoped, it could not have been a more relaxing week. Like everyone reading this post, I have way too much going on here at home. For one week, I let it all go. I didn’t even think a stressful thought, not once. It was a beautiful thing.

I do not have Dan’s expertise to know if a short period of rest and peace can positively affect a person’s body composition, but I certainly feel like those factors impacted my results. My diet and exercise just weren’t strong enough to earn a 1.1% decrease in body fat. I’ve worked much harder and produced less of a result. Regardless of whether I am right from a scientific perspective, the big picture message in this is that while intensity is good, balance is key. Working on one area of life will get results, but achieving balance across the board is the ticket to success.

1 comment:

Liz said...

Fantastic accomplishment Julie. I don't think one can overlook the power of great sleep and no stress. I hope that you are able to maintain your goal. Thank you for posting all your wonderful comments and thoughts as well as slip ups. It has been wonderful to read and inspiring. Liz.