Tuesday, 22 June 2010

The Tyranny of the Scale......and other ramblings

So this week I apparently gained 6lbs. The week before I dropped 5lbs…allegedly…and was at my lowest weight (134lbs) since birth (slight exaggeration)

In short, I have no clue wtf the scales mean any more. This is something of an epiphany. I can tentatively say with a modicum of certainty that the scales have most certainly taken on less meaning in my life. I can *look* at myself now and objectively state that I am leaner, smaller, more toned and compact than I have ever been in my life. This, people, is about health and fitness. Not a figure on the scale.

Real life example? This past weekend I had a tremendous training session on Friday evening, we worked on strength and stamina (I say ‘we’, I mean ME – trainers ALWAYS use the royal ‘we’…makes you feel part of a team hahaha) and then-high tailed it round to a friend’s house to watch the (dire) football. I ate chips and dip, chilli, white basmati rice, dough balls and drank wine. I chose to – knowing it would impact my Saturday weigh in but wanting to hang out with my chums and have a bonza time. Previously I might not have gone at all, for fear of not seeing the figure I wanted to on the scale at the end of a week's point counting and tracking and weighing, but I did not want my life to be ruled by the prospect of a weigh in the following morning! Now I know that the temporary ‘carbed-up-to-the-eyeballs’ weight is just that – temporary. It’s not fat gain, not at all. So although I ‘gained’ 6lbs this week, for once I can actually hand-on-heart say that I am not bothered. The day after 'carb-gate' I was chugging the water, eating clean and fuelling my workouts which is as close to ‘normal’ food behaviour as I have ever come in my life. I ran 12 miles or so over the weekend and did a good weights session Sunday evening, rather than getting into the mindset of ‘Oh I’ve ruined it now, may as well not work out and troff my way through all kindsa crap’ mentality. I just hopped back on the healthy train....because I wanted to, not because I had to. This journey is ongoing and progressive, a permanent lifestyle change, not one governed by a weekly weigh in. For me, this is the shift from losing mode to maintenance mode. Whilst in the throes of losing weight I was driven by the Saturday weigh ins, and it kept me driven with my goal in mind. But now I have to alter my thinking and realise that my weight maintenance has to fit in with my life! So, my new challenge is NOT to get weighed each week, I am going to try a reverse graded exposure on myself, and begin with weighing in every other week and eventually weigh in once a month. That’s the plan at any rate…..I've been at or under my goal weight for 4 months now. Amazing.

My PT re measured my Metabolic Age and body fat and visceral fat etc a few weeks ago and long story short my body is now officially aged 16! WAHOOP! I’ve gained 6lbs of lean muscle and my body fat is 19% which is bloody brilliant!

I am still seeing my PT each week, it’s quite an adventure with some of the insane things he makes me do. He pushes me in ways I would never do for myself – and not just in the conventional sense of being able to do 30 consecutive push ups as opposed to 1, I mean other stuff too, like doing a training session OUTSIDE in my village for all the world to see – things that illustrate to me just how far I have come, how my attitude ahs changed, how my confidence has grown, how different I now am, how different I now look and how /who I want to be. I went running in freaking shorts and a tank top the other day for crying out loud! THAT was a MAAAAAJOR NSV. When I started training I said I wanted Jessica Simpson’s legs and Jennifer Aniston’s arms……stupid and vain I know, but it gave me a visual to work to…and you know what? I’m bloody well there! Or at least the ‘me’ version of those women. Having a PT has been psychologically beneficial as well as everything else!

I am absolutely LOVING learning to box, circuits still make me want to hurl and I detest the spin bike with a passion. However. I can now lift quite a considerable amount of weight, I can do full man push ups, I can run more than 6 miles, my arms look fabulous in a vest top, my back and shoulders and legs are defined, when I do my sun salutations or forward bends or folds there are no fat rolls getting in the way. I WILL be able to do an unassisted pull up one of these days and I shall probably be entering a triathlon in the not too distant future…..it’s GREAT!

The Sunday Times Style Magazine had an article a few weeks ago about how the ‘ideal’ body women pursue and aspire to is changing. Apparently the waif-like, skinny Minnie vibe is O-V-E-R and we’re all about the athletic, honed and toned physique which is indicative of a healthy lifestyle and holisitic approach rather than a do-or-die, murder yourself at the gym and eat nothing OR do-or-die, murder yourself at the gym and eat total crap but the calories you burn allow for it. Both equally disordered if you ask me!

I dunno if this new ‘ideal’ is true or indeed accurate or not (not least because their cover model, though smiley, suntanned and not emaciated, was flipping skinny to my eyes), or if it’s just spin and rhetoric to move the scrutiny over such publications onto something altogether more wholesome and positive BUT what appeals to me greatly about this is that it’s POSITIVE! It’s inclusive, attainable and there’s something in it for everyone! Every single person on this planet can make healthy adjustments to their life, everyone can work on an aspect of their body to improve its health and vitality. This is not an exclusive club to which only the super skinny and determined not to eat can belong! It’s also very personal, bespoke to the individual. How my body looks as a result of training is healthy for me and right for me, but wouldn’t necessarily be right for you. Similarly you might have a physique that I will never ever in my wildest dreams attain but my point is that the key is finding what works for YOU. I am so happy with where I am at and really proud of myself! I have crappy days like everyone does but ultimately because my health is improved (and by that I mean the broad spectrum of health – inside and out, mind and body) my LIFE is improved.

And what, my friends, can be more important than THAT?!


Kathleen said...

That's really, really cool -- it's great to get to the point where the numbers on the scale truly don't mean much inside your head. Congrats!

Samantha said...

Good for you!! You have so much to be proud of so congratulations!! And you have a great attitude on top of all of that which is probably the very best part.

Bri said...

16?!? That's BONKERS!!! You GO girl! PS- your football meal sounds heavenly. I have 2 points left for tonight and I want all of that! LOL