It's not a straight line! Keep going.
Not going to lie - I feel a bit off the rails this go around, but something Carey Lynn posted hit home with me as well as something Roberta posted today and I want to “weigh in“ on this issue (more about my quotes later):
No one joins these challenges with anything but the best of intentions. Most of us start after days, weeks or even months of planning for that moment when the stars align and we can now once and for all get fit!! woo hoo. WE HAVE GOT THIS!! Our lives are in perfect alignment with our intentions and we are KILLING IT! We eat well. We hit the gym on point each and every day with consistency. We are like saints and we are rewarded with a lower number on that scale. We lose pounds. We lose inches. Clothes we have not yet given up on start making it back into rotation. We buy new smaller clothes. For those of us who finish a first challenge (which in itself is incredible), we make some progress throughout and think, “I can do this forever! I’m in the groove....”
AND THEN HERE IS WHAT SEEMS TO HAPPEN:
1. Worst case scenarios — A friend or family member becomes ill, is injured, dies, or just needs us to help with a difficult time. We lose or change jobs. We have fights or divorce our significant others. Or maybe we fall ill, need surgery, become injured or depressed.
2. Best case scenarios — we get promoted. Someone in our family gives birth, gets married, or just needs us to help them plan an awesome event. We get promoted or start the career we have been dreaming of. We get married or have a baby ourselves. We get invited to parties, take vacations have celebrations and experience joy.
3. all of the above
In other words—we don’t live in perfect bubbles where everything is either amazing or is complete shit. SO WHY DO WE FEEL LIKE WE CAN ONLY DO FITNESS WHEN LIFE IS STANDING STILL?!?
I have had the biggest epiphany in the last few months and that is simply NEVER GIVE UP. There is no such thing as cheat days, days off, vacations
Logging my foods is part of what I do. Going to the gym and planning other active workouts is what I will do. I am not bragging at how perfect I am:
This includes logging the pieces of lemon pound cake a client made me for my birthday that I felt obliged to eat because she was so proud to share her grandma’s recipe (okay it was friggin delicious too). This includes the night when I swore I would have one measured 5 oz pour of wine and then ended up finishing the bottle. It includes the workout I skipped to binge watch Outlander Season 2 and sleep most of the following day. Those calories in and those calories out were all logged.
I am so done with all or nothing. That attitude got me to from 150 to 132 and back to 156 within a year. That was my biggest yo-yo ever and what made it worse was it wasn’t gradual. It was literally my range within a 12 month period.
THIS is my life now and being disciplined enough to log meals for 5 solid months and start and finish a challenge has got me to lose, then maintain and (eventually) lose again. What will not occur is a regain. yo-yo no more. There have been no rebounds or days off in 5 months. Yes, my eating may be off a day here and there and it takes me longer than 12 weeks to finish 12 weeks worth or workouts, but I never get a pass for an undocumented free-for-all. PERIOD. There are no cheat days — just days I have to log. I can be satisfied and see progress or not so much and figure iut how to save the rest of the day, week, or month. This mentality will no doubt get me through the holidays. No vacationing from a healthy lifestyle.
Which brings me to the ”weigh in” statement above:
I started in May weighing my heaviest (other than after kids). I weighed 156 which isn’t terrible sounding, but it is heavy on my 5’ 4” frame. I was feeling the fat around my organs and weighing on me when I was lying down. I was bloated all the time. I had back fat and my waist was disappearing. I was out of breath doing relatively light exercise. I had major muffin top and couldn't button most of my pants. I was uncomfortable in medium 8-10 clothing.
As far as the scale is concerned, I lost 11 lbs in 12 weeks during the summer challenge. I now weigh 145 after eating under maintenance and doing the Venus Factor workouts and walking every now and then. I can tell you that it looks to others and myself that I lost closer to 20 lbs and I more than likely did—it is just that I also gained some muscle to fool that blasted scale.
For the record at 145, I weigh 15 lbs more than I did at my thinnest as an adult except I look better now and in the same clothes I wore at 132. I am now about a size 4-6.
Muscle doesn't ”weigh more” than fat. It is more dense tissue that builds on you in a flattering ways in good spots vs fat which takes up more space and accumulates in less than flattering spots.
At 132, I had sloped shoulders and soft squishy arms that had no shape. I was developing bat wings. I had a flat squared butt and a gaunt face. My eyes look sunken with dark circles under them.
At 145, I am seeing more muscular shoulders and lean arms that look good in a tank, a v-shaped back and tapered waist with a hint of abs. My butt looks round and my legs feel firm. I wear the same jeans i wore at 132. People tell me almost daily that I’m looking fit. One lady yesterday called me tiny.
When I decided to once and for all TRUST THIS PROCESS, I proved what I knew deep inside to be true all along — the scale is the most unreliable measure of how we look.
Sometimes in our quest for fitness we think a number on the scale is magical. We think back to our possibly skinny youthful selves or we find out what our skinny friend weighs and we fixate.
The truth is that building muscle will make you weigh more. Yes, you will lose fat, but that scale is just going to make you lose your mind because it says a number you can‘t comprehend based on what you think your effort is. We see that lifting weights makes us look leaner but we can’t understand why being leaner equates to a higher number. The truth is that sometimes being more fit might mean gaining some muscle and actually weighing more than we think sounds reasonable based on nothing more than our ego and desire to see a number appear on a scale.
If you have never lifted weights before mid-life and you have a skinnier version of your young self without muscles, you need let that go. Muscles look so much better on our aging bodies than being skinny ever will. Trust the tape measure, trust your clothing and trust the process of just eating under maintenance.
All novels must end and I am by no means a teacher (and I have progress yet to make), but damn it I have made a million mistakes and had a million messed up notions. If I can get one woman to just drink the koolaid and forget that damn body scale, my job is done.
So, now that Laurie mentioned "Outlander" I'll have to see if I can find it on my Amazon prime streaming when I'm done with "Blue Bloods" for my cardio sessions. I'm going to be honest here, I don't watch anything except when it's with cardio. I'm too busy and I can't justify it, and I so look forward to the escape as sometimes I must study while doing cardio.
We all have stress, none of us is perfect. Let's just make the best of it this week.