Week 12 already?! How the heck did that happen? I’m in a reflective mood tonight as I roll into the final week of a challenge which has not at all delivered what I had hoped it would, but instead feels like it has given me what I actually needed.
Particularly in the last 3-4 weeks, I’ve found that the issue of body fat, food, and my body confidence in general has taken up far less space in my head than at any time in the past 2 years, as other more pressing, (and more fun!) things have crowded it out. And to my relief, I haven’t unleashed and started to eat All The Food, in fact I’ve probably been living the ‘maintenance dream’. Being fairly strict with my food Monday – Thursday is an ingrained habit now, and then I can lighten up a bit Friday – Sunday without undoing any of my progress.
BUT this was not a 12 Week Maintenance Challenge. It was about fat loss. But why does fat loss actually matter? I’ve had it in my head for quite some time now that when I reach a certain weight or body fat percentage, I’ll look in the mirror and finally like what I see. Actually not just like it, but love it. The thought that I could love my body regardless of having reached that number, or goal, has never entered my mind as a realistic prospect. And to take it a step further, if anyone were to suggest that a day might come when I just no longer cared WHAT my body looked like, I would assume they’d been drinking the Kool Aid.
I’ve not reached that point yet – nor do I want to. I want to continue to be body conscious enough so that I actively treat it well, and the aesthetics will always be a consideration. I still think I’ll get to that number one day, but it will be a consequence of living my ‘dream life’ – one in which I have a healthy respect for my body and treat it well, while continuing to push its limits through fitness goals. The number itself is now a lower priority, and instead I’m exploring different ways to love and appreciate the body I have, beyond trying to control it through food. I want to hike every trail and climb every mountain on this planet and won’t be able to avoid getting pretty bloody fit in the process!
So, what have I learnt over this past 12 weeks?
- Extreme low carb eating is not for me. Great for fat loss, but not for my mood, or others’ safety… 20-25% carbs seems to suit me about right.
- It’s ok to vary my routine. The world won’t fall off its axis if I eat cake on Tuesday, and go to the gym on Friday night instead of Thursday.
- My body isn’t really so bad… yes it has its flaws,but how I feel about those flaws on any given day has more to do with what’s going on in my world emotionally, than anything else.
- Most means of body fat testing have a margin for error which means basing my entire self-esteem on the number that appears on a screen is ludicrous.
- No matter how hard I work, stress and lack of sleep will always undermine my efforts, so until I get that sorted I’m just selling myself short.
- There are myriad ways out there to learn to stop obsessing about food and be overwhelmed by the urge to emotionally eat. The ‘tapping solution’, which I’ll be blogging about shortly, is just one of the things that I’ve stumbled across in the last few weeks.
This week, the plan is much the same as it has been for the last 11 weeks, and will likely be for some time to come… Either a PT session or gym session 4 nights of the week, and an eating plan that will look something like this:
Breakfast: The usual! Egg, fetta and spinach scramble
Lunch: Lemongrass and ginger chicken, with rolled oats to pad it out a bit.
Dinner: Salmon and coleslaw, Moroccan beef tagine (no couscous as much as I love it), and lean beef burgers with steamed veggies.
Snacks: almonds, protein bars and a slice or two of cheese.
Nothing’s going to change at the end of this 12 weeks. I’ll take final measurements in about 10 days time, and regardless of the result I’m going to slowly slowly keep plugging away, but shift the focus so that I get to the desired end state of being at peace with my body via a much healthier route than punishing myself with over-training and food deprivation. Do I hear an ‘amen’? 🙂