Saturday, June 29, 2013

So We Have Reached the Halfway Point (and the promised 6-month photo)

I'm going to post this photo of a cute little fluffy bunny because I seem to have very little control over what images end up on Facebook when I post my blog links there.  Sometimes I can choose and sometimes it just automatically puts the first image on the blog in the news feed.  I don't need my progress photo to be seen by everyone I know on Facebook, so I'll make sure the first image is not of me.

Now that we have that out of the way, let's talk progress.

I'm not happy with how far I have come in the past six months.   I have put in a good effort, but it hasn't been good enough.  I am faithfully doing my workouts and reading my lessons every day, but I slack off way too often on my food habits.  This has meant that my weight and my measurements have stagnated.  This week's lessons were supposed to inspire me, but instead they sort of depressed me.  They were about how compliance guarantees success and how we should be looking at how far we have come.  I don't feel I have come very far.  I had hoped to be halfway to weight goal by now and another 3 or 4 inches smaller.

I was also rather disappointed in my performance with the past workout phase.  I felt so powerful and strong in Phase 4.  Phase 5 has humbled me enormously.  The coaches are trying to steer us in the direction of doing full pullups.  The workouts started with band pulldowns and then went to reverse rows.  Now we have to do pullups with an assistance band.  I use the tightest band available and I still can't lift my face above the bar more than once.  It feels sort of pathetic. I'm not sure I can still do 25 pushups at a time either.

I finally emailed my coach about my despair.  She was supportive and reminded me that it's in my hands if I follow the plan or just fall back in my old patterns.  She keeps telling me that she can see the progress that I'm not seeing in my photos.  She also gave me some worksheets on planning and goal setting.  In the coming week we are getting a week off from any habits.  It's supposed to be a time to rest and refocus.  I hope to use this week as constructively as possible. and simply work on all of my past habits.

There is so much to consider when it comes to my expectations of where I should be and where I want to be.  What do I truly hope to gain from this program?  What do I think I will ultimately look like?  I posed this question in another post.  What if I lose the desired 30-40 pounds and find that I lose my boobs and butt?  What if I end up with much worse?  I found this rather interesting and provocative photo shoot by a woman who lost 160 pounds.  What she accomplished was tremendous, and she deserves praise for both her accomplishments and her bravery, but I can see how she might feel unhappy.  When we lose weight we hope to look like a skinny celebrity or fitness model.  The reality can be quite different.  Most of us who undergo weight loss programs can't afford plastic surgery.  Loose and sagging skin is a likely outcome for many of us.

I dream of having a smoking hot body when I'm finished with this program.  Even if I lose all of the weight I want to, I might end up looking worse than I do now.  I'm no spring chicken.  I think I'm very lucky that weight training has so far prevented me from developing bat wings on my arms and from having a saggy butt.  Being child-free has helped my big belly stay above my waistline.  I still have other flaws that could potentially be exaggerated by weight loss.  My skin is clearly aging.  Too many years of wearing as little clothing as possible in the sun is slowly causing the skin on my arms and legs to buckle and wrinkle.  There is a little "texture" on the backs of my arms and thighs and between my legs.  (Reason #312 I don't have a tattoo:  What looks good on smooth taut skin will look quite different as skin ages, sags, and wrinkles.)  If I lose a significant amount of weight the results of skin aging might be magnified instead of diminished.  Even if my skin still looks reasonably firm, it won't look the way it would have looked if I had managed to lose this weight at 23 instead of 43.

So why do I care so much about losing weight?  I'm healthy right?  I eat well and exercise like a fiend.  What more should I ask of myself?

I have to look at it this way: If I didn't care at all about how I looked, I doubt I would take care of myself the way I do. I'm sure if I weren't concerned about my weight and bodyfat, I would not be so devoted to exercising as I am now.  I would be somewhat active.  I would certainly still ride.  I might dance.  I would definitely go swimming every chance I had.  I simply would not devote the time at the gym that I do now.   I also know my eating habits would be horrible. I would likely still eat fruits and vegetables, particularly in the context of my love of cooking.  I just wouldn't branch out and try many beyond a certain few I have always liked, nor would I be so obsessive about making sure I ate a certain number each day.

I'm not one of those people who naturally gravitates towards nutritious foods.  I'm sure if I didn't care about my weight my breakfasts would be full of heavy starches or bacon and egg sandwiches, lunch would be pizza or giant deli sandwiches or takeout Chinese, and I'd probably make lots of pasta dishes for dinner -frying things to my heart's content.  I would have cookies every day for an afternoon snack and ice cream for dessert every night.   I would never see a reason to eat a salad if tastier options were available. The one positive side to that would be that my friends and family would be very happy as I would bake much more than I do now.

I have been trying for years to reshape my body, and in the process I have whipped my body into pretty good shape, and cleaned up my diet to some degree.  I know I eat better than most of the population.  When I hear about how the average American drinks gallons of soda in a week, or acres of pizza in a year, I can feel smug that I rarely have either one of those foods.  I never buy foods with added sugar unless I am specifically buying dessert (which I keep to a minimum).  I do my best to keep processed foods out of the house and the processed foods I do have (like cereal or fake milk) are Kevin's and I don't touch them because I see them as his.

Knowing that I might have unrealistic expectations about how my body can look, I feel it might be time to reframe the goal.  This isn't about how lean I can be.  This isn't about how sexy I can be.  This isn't about how thin I can be.  This should be about how healthy I can be.  My body is a reflection of what I put into it and how I treat it.  Can I treat it better?  Can I put better stuff in it?

Anyway, for now let's just focus on the progress I have made.  How far have I come?  What do I look like?

Here I am at the halfway point.

I really am finally seeing a difference between this photo and the one I took at the beginning of the year.  I think I can stop that despair thing.  Maybe the progress isn't terribly dramatic, but there is progress.

Pounds lost: 10.2
Inches lost: 13.5
% Bodyfat lost: 7%

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