Friday, July 10, 2009

What Is Ideal? Part II - My Experiences

Recently I've been striving to change how I look at eating. In the past, it's been very controlled, neurotically counting calories and carefully measuring everything. Which works great for serious fat loss. And I lost a lot of weight doing that. Too much, in fact.

In March I weighed in at 127 lbs and 16% body fat (I'm nearly 5'8" tall). I was thrilled with how I looked! But it was not a healthy weight for me. Losing your period for 3 months does not equal a healthy weight. So I've gained some weight back - up to about 20% body fat - and now I'm struggling with how I look.

In the back of my mind, I know I'm not fat. But when I look in the mirror, my brain remembers what I looked like at 127 lbs and it sees someone who is overweight, which I know I am not. But my mind's eye has not yet made peace with the fact that 127 lbs is not a healthy weight for me.

I started coming up with a list of reasons to be happy where I am:

I can see muscle definition in my arms and legs.
My bodyfat is about 20% (still considered "fit/lean/athlete").
(Most of) my pants still fit.
I can still do more chin ups (and push ups) than my husband.
My resting heart rate is in the high 50's/low 60's (considered "athlete").
I would still wear a bikini in public.
My husband thinks I'm sexy.

That last reason alone should be enough. :) I think I need to work on focusing on the positives of where I am now, instead of negatively thinking about where I am, compared to where I have been in the past.

As for exercise, my husband and I recently took a 90 day break from Turbulence Training and completed a round of P90X. It was extreme, heavy lifting, and a lot of fun, but the 6-day-a-week schedule was pretty tiring by the end. Now during my "rest week" I am just running because I have decided to run another 5K race at the end of July. I'm going to start a TT bodyweight program next week. Even though I am a fan of heavy lifting, I also think it's good to give your body a different challenge every now and then.

On a side note, we took pictures pre and post P90X (had to get the high heels out for the after pics), and I just want to post my legs up close so you can see how well my rash is finally healing. I've had this rash now for 4 months (since mid-March)!

As far as diet, I'm just trying to eat healthy foods without counting too many calories. Not that I won't be planning anything. I still think failure to plan is a plan to fail, but my meal plans will be much less fixed. I want my eating to be more organic. Not organic as in "certified organic" (although that would probably be good as well), but more in the way of a natural flow and progression. As opposed to "clinically controlled" with all the weighing and measuring. Although I still weigh some things, like oatmeal. It's so easy to throw the bowl on the scale and pour in 40g of oatmeal. I've been eating less meat as well. No real reason, just seem to be eating less, particularly beef. It seems like everyone is eating less meat nowadays. Precision Nutrition even has a Plant-Based Diet Guide in the new V3, and I've heard that Craig Ballantyne of Turbulence Training is coming out with vegetarian meal plans very soon.

I'm just going to get out all my healthy cookbooks and create with abandon. OK, maybe not with complete abandon, but with moderate abandon. :)

OK, signing off here. We are unplugging the computer and taking ourselves "off the grid" for awhile, so no posts next week. Hope you all are enjoying your summer!


Fred said...

Hey Abbie,
You probably won't see this for a week or so, but for whatever it's worth, I think adding some weight is definitely a good thing.

I think you looked 'good' after your last challenge, but honestly, I would have to agree and say you dropped too much weight. I hope, as your 'friend' I can say this without hurting your feelings. I like the way you looked after your 2nd TT contest, which was still a drastic change from the year before. Not sure what that weight was, but you looked really healthy, fit and happy then.

Bottom line, you have to be happy.

I think you've got a terrific list of good reasons to be happy with where you are. Sounds like you're in a good place, right now.

My 2 cents: be comfortable with yourself as you are now, eat healthy but don't go overboard, exercise regularly (again, don't go overboard) and have fun with your family! Trust me, it all goes by way too fast...

Take good care. Stay strong.


Liz said...

Abby, your legs look AMAZING in those July 3 pics. Cut yourself some slack, will you? I'd love to look like you, with those gorgeous muscular legs!

Red Headed Racer said...

wow! those are some awesome legs! was that from one session of P90x? what program did you follow? did you do the classic? what do you think of it? I did a month of it, then began working out with a trainer again for 12 weeks, but I'll go back to doing P90x during my month between boot camps.

Trixie said...

Hey Abby,
This post is wonderful,so honest. I too have taken a step back and sort of looking at how far I've come. Gotten down to 19% from 176lbs. Now I too,am trying to find balance. I found this article very helpful:

Abby said...

Wow, I go on vacation and come back to these great comments!

Fred - Thanks for the great advice. It really means a lot to me that you offered your honest opinion. You didn't hurt my feelings at all! :)

Liz and Red Headed Racer - Thanks! Most of the muscle in my legs is from Turbulence Training, but P90X added some as well. We did the classic program.

Trixie - Thanks for the link! I can definitely see where I have that feeling like I never look "good enough". I'm still working on finding the balance.