Now here is what you really want to see – the numbers! I was fortunate enough to have support at my work gym, and my fitness manager there did the full gamut of before and after measurements for me, both with skinfolds (done by pinching my skin and measuring with calipers) and circumferences (done with good ol’ measuring tape). And here’s where I ended up:
Skinfolds – You, guys. That pectoral drop? I fit in my bras again. It is like a miracle. A miracle I worked my ass off for. I am freaking out. (Actually, my ass didn’t get worked off at all, as it were. Thanks to the innumerable amount of squats and lunges I do now, it’s strong like an ox – I need to learn how to twerk. [OK, maybe I’m too old to twerk…])
Circumferences – Down. Down. Down. Down. Downdowndown. DOWN! 8.4 inches lost – PUMPED!!
And the only increase I had was where it counts. My Lean Body Mass (this is the muscle mass and important stuff like organs, arteries, bones, etc. basically, anything that isn’t fat) went from 114.36% to 123.77%. That is a 9% – NINE PERCENT – increase in lean body mass which is attributed to a gain of muscle. Hell Yeah!
So all of this is exciting and motivating, but the question I’ve been mulling over most these last weeks is, Have I truly changed? I still have a substantial amount of weight to lose (30+ lbs); this is my happy place. This is the weight I’ve maintained for the better part of three years, unable to get below this plateau. Will I be able to continue on this journey? Those deep-ingrained habits I’ve spent decades forming, have I done enough to eradicate them? Have I created new ones to take their place? What separates the me of 50 days ago from the me sitting here typing this today?
Here’s what I know: I am still that person. I still love bread and cheese. A lot. In the right moment, I want to overeat. When it’s that time of the month, I physically crave sugar. No amount of gum will shut it down. I like the way all the processed food smells. I don’t like telling myself I “can’t” have things. I am the same in all those ways.
Here’s what’s changed: There is a half of a beat where I think about what I’m eating instead of mindlessly putting food in my mouth. The one time I let myself overeat during this challenge, my body responded with cramping and nausea. Things that used to taste amazing to me don’t taste the way I remember. Even the “healthy” overpriced bread we buy doesn’t taste as good, and I know it is because of the added sugar. And I am (still, probably always will be) working on not looking at food as something to be earned. I am not a dog. I do not get a cookie every time I accomplish something.
I’ve reset some of my triggers; when I am feeling sad, hurt, disappointed, rejected, I just let myself feel it. I cry and write and get it all out. I don’t numb and bury it with food and alcohol. On the flip side, when I feel happy, successful, proud, content, I don’t try to justify it or downplay it; I enjoy it. I let these emotions flow through me and allow myself to be human for a minute. Or twenty.
I’ve rediscovered what I love about being an athlete. Pushing myself, improving, succeeding – these are so much more rewarding than a donut. I miss working out on the days I don’t get one in. I missed almost a week while my kids were sick, and when I got back, it was brutal. It felt like starting all over and I was SORE. But I missed it so much. I missed those ruthless little trainers; I missed my friends who inspire and cheer me on; I missed sweating. And that was just what my brain missed. My body missed it, too, and wanted to get up and get moving every day I wasn’t there.
relationship with food, while better, still needs daily attention, trying to work together instead of against each other. I have created a new workout schedule that doesn’t require as many 3:30 a.m. wake up calls, but I’ll still get time with my Bonza buddies a few days a week. I also start training for my second half-marathon soon and I’ve added in strength-focused workouts.
All day. Every day. From now until the end of my days on Earth.
Inspire. Motivate. Move.