Mirror, Mirror

I’m trying to be a good little blogger and post more regular-like because it helps me stay focused on my own goals of improving my fitness and building my business.  Today is Whiny Wednesday, not necessarily for bitching, but we all have those times when we just need to unload-we can’t all live in a Disney movie!

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been doing a lot of self-reflection lately.  I didn’t have a particular question in mind, I just wanted to figure out more about the “why” of me.  You know, actions, reactions, processes.  That sort of thing.  I don’t have anything definitive, but I’ve gotten a better sense of myself.  I’m the kind of person that inwardly seeks perfection, yet on the outside, I give off a “I don’t give a shit” vibe.  I think that dichotomy has made me continuously miserable, so I’m trying to change that by trying to make the outside match the inside.

011Part of changing my outlook was to see myself as I really am, not how I want to be, or how I should be, but me.  Just me.  I’ve known for a long time that I have really low self-esteem.  There.  I said it.  I don’t know how it started, or why, but here I am, and I look in the mirror and I don’t like what I see.  I think about my day, and I don’t like what I did.  Not good enough, because inside, I’m striving for this almost unattainable level of perfection that is just not humanly possible.

Back in the day when I lived in Fairytale Land, I used to cut out pictures from Victoria’s Secret catalogs and post them on my mirror so I could “be inspired”.  What a crock of shit!  All it did was make me depressed because I think I knew I could never look like that.  Too skinny.  Too tall.  Too busty.  No matter how much weight I lose, I won’t look like that.  I’m short, and I’m stocky.  I have hips, for crying out loud!

But you know, back in high school, that kind of thing didn’t bother me.  I was comfortable with myself, and I knew I wasn’t Helen of Troy, but I didn’t think I was ugly, either.  But, somewhere along the line, I must have decided I wasn’t worth it, and just gave up on myself.

I think a lot of women-and men, too-can relate to that.  As a woman, who became a wife, and then a mother, I forgot where I fit in the grand scheme of my life.  Work, family, friends, all that took precedence over ME.  ME!  The most important part of MY life!  I forgot to make time for myself, and then when I realized it, thought, “oh, I’ll fix it later.”  And then later became tomorrow, became next week, and before I knew it, here I am, on my way to 40 (!), and I still haven’t put myself first.

Guess what? Later’s here, right now.  I’m done not liking the person in the mirror.  I’m done feeling sorry for myself and making excuses about not exercising or eating crap.  I’m determined to put myself first for once and see how the chips fall.  I have a plan, I have support, I have everything I need to change my life and my mindset.  I’ve discovered “perfect” is just perception, and I’m done trying to be perfect for other people.  I’m going to be perfect for me.

A.H.

 

 

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Fear is the little Death

So, the other day I was thinking about my previous blog posts and decided that I haven’t really dedicated a lot of time or words to my personal journey. I also realized that even though I have goals (written out, natch), I don’t really know how I want my body to look or what specifically I’d like to accomplish. I also think about all the times I’ve tried to lose weight in the past and failed, why I seem to have this mental roadblock keeping me from success.

I used to think I wanted to get down to 130-140, because that’s what I weighed in high school, and I thought I was pretty hot shit then. But recently, I realized I’ve never been thin or particularly fit, even then. I looked okay, but I had no muscle. I never played sports as a kid, except in gym class. I had the requisite ballet and gymnastics when I was really little. But looking back, I came upon a stunning revelation: I never practiced outside of class. I suspect this has a lot to do with having a overly critical mother. I learned early on that I didn’t like having an audience when I was doing stuff, and I certainly didn’t like doing things that drew attention to me.

Later on, this translated as enjoying running at night-so no one could see me, and avoiding the gym because I felt like a poseur. Seeing this and understanding it has made me wonder if this fear of criticsm has led me in some way to avoid situations where I felt like I might be on display in some sense. But hey, I’m not a psychologist, so I can’t say how accurate my little self-diagnoses is.

So yeah, maybe this fear has led to other more intangible fears-like a fear of being successful or good at something that requires action outside my own head. It’s possible. The other day when I was at the gym slogging through a workout, I realized that I was scared. Not just of failing (again), but not reaching my fitness goals, making my business successful, and a whole slew of other things. I like to think we are all scared about something at some time, but I wonder how much this fear keeps us from achieving what we want in life.

I don’t really know what I want to look like or how much I want to weigh, despite knowing my healthy weight. When I was in my 20s, I gained 10 lbs one summer, but my body fat percentage didn’t change. I was in better shape than when I started, but I was also 10 lbs heavier. The same thing when I gained the next year, too. But I was in better shape when all was said and done. Once upon a time, I had a trainer who asked what my goal weight was. When I told him somewhere between 120-130, he actually looked horrified, telling me that weight was way too low for my frame. He told me I should shoot about 20 lbs higher, in the 140-150 range. According to my ideal body fat percentage of 20%, that actually is the correct weight.

It’s not enough to just say, “I don’t want to be fat anymore,” but I’m scared because I don’t know how I’m going to look at the end of this journey. I don’t want to become obsessed with my body, but I’d like to look in the mirror and not just see a bunch of stuff I want to change. I may not know how I’m going to look, but I know what I want to see: long lean muscles, strength. I want to be fit and strong.

“Fear is the mind killer. It is the little death that brings total obliteration.”* What do you fear? What’s keeping you from accomplishing your goals?

Until next time, then.

 

*that’s from “Dune” by Frank Herbert.

Goals, Schmoals!

A big part of getting started with changing your life is setting goals.  Everyone has goals-these are the things-big and small-that set us in motion.  Whether we are looking to save money, buy a house, or get fit, we all have specific goals in mind for our lives.

But how many of us actually write them down?

In the past, I had written out my goals in a general sense.  They were:

-lose weight

-pay off our debt

-save money for a family vacation

My problem was even though I had written it down, I didn’t keep it in sight.  For whatever reason, I didn’t print out my goals and put them everywhere that I could see them!  I had them written down in a little notebook, whereabouts unknown.  I only looked at them occasionally.  And eventually, I would lose site of those goals and my efforts would grind to a halt.

But how do you set goals and maintain your focus?

Whenever you ask yourself what you want to achieve from your fitness program, instead of giving a vague answer like “I want to lose weight”, we need to strip it down to the details.  Some of the questions that can help us do that are:

How many pounds do you want to lose?

What size clothes do you want to wear?

What clothing store do you want to shop in?

We all have a big goal, the holy grail, if you will, of what our ideal weight should be, where we want to shop, and how we want to look. Last week, I shared some tools that I used to find my ideal weight, so I know I need to be looking at losing 75 lbs.  Now, I’m going to break that down into “mini goals” that will help my achieve this.

ULTIMATE GOAL

I want to lose 75 lbs

I want to be wear single digit sizes

I want to be healthy and a good role model for my kids

ULTIMATE REWARD

I will buy a new wardrobe from my dream stores: Banana Republic, New   York & Co., The Loft

I will give away all my “big clothes” to a local charity

MONTHLY GOALS

I will lose 8 lbs this month

I will learn 5 new healthy recipes my family will eat AND love

I will be able to run 1 mile without stopping

MONTHLY REWARDS

I will download 2 new songs from iTunes for every 4 lbs I lose

I will treat myself to a spa pedicure

I will buy new food storage containers to help me store healthy   grains and snacks in the pantry

WEEKLY GOALS

I will work out 5 times this week

I will not drink any sodas this week

I will lose 2 lbs this week

I will eat clean this week

WEEKLY REWARDS

I will take the money I saved on groceries not buying processed foods   and buy a new book

I will treat myself to a movie with my family on Sunday

I will spend 2 hours crafting to my heart’s content

DAILY GOALS

I will drink Shakeology every day

I will make time for my workouts

I will drink 2 bottles of water every day

I will log all my food in my food diary

DAILY REWARDS

I will veg out and watch my favorite TV show in the evening.

I will make time for myself and read for an hour uninterrupted.

I will bask in the smug glow of my own self-satisfaction

Key points:

WRITE DOWN your goals!  Print them out, post them everywhere! Set reminders on your phone, so you see those goals every hour.

No goal is too big-but be realistic!  You can’t healthily lose 30 lbs in 30 days.  Set your sights high!

The Numbers Game

One of the biggest questions we ask ourselves before we begin a new fitness/diet regimen is “How much do I want to lose?” or we tell ourselves “I want to get down to XXX lbs.” But the first thing we should be asking ourselves is “What’s the right weight for me?”

One of the most useful things you can do is to determine your ideal weight and your body fat percentage. The most accurate way to find out your body fat at home is to use a calipers, like the Accumeasure, and do a 7-site body fat test.  You will need someone to help you with this, because the measurements include your shoulder blade and your lower back.

I can’t find my Accumeasure-I swear it was RIGHT there-so I used a fabric tape measure to take some measurements.  Generally, you need your height, weight, waist, and if you’re a woman, your hips.  I tested a few body fat claculators online and my results widely varied from 29% (yeah, right!) to 67% (eek!).  I decided to use the one from http://www.healthyforms.com/helpful-tools/body-fat-percentage.php since it is closest to my Tanita scale results.  Healthy Forms gave me a lovely 46% body fat.

So now what?  I got these numbers already confirming what I already know-He-llo! I’m fat!  BUT-knowing my body fat percentage gives me a better idea of much weight loss is realistic.  Look at this chart from http://www.bmi-calculator.net/body-fat-calculator/body-fat-chart.php below:

Body Fat Percentage Categories
Classification Women (% fat) Men (% fat)
Essential Fat 10-12% 2-4%
Athletes 14-20% 6-13%
Fitness 21-24% 14-17%
Acceptable 25-31% 18-25%
Obese 32%+ 25%+

Using this chart, I can see which category I’d like to fit into-which is “Fitness”-or between 21%-24% Body Fat.  based on the information I posted above, I can surely say yeah, I want to lose 80 lbs.  But I don’t want to just lose 80 lbs of my total body weight-I want to lose 80 lbs of FAT.  And how do I do that? and how much do I need to eat? and how can I figure out what my Lean Body Mass is?So I found this: http://www.cordianet.com/calculator.htm, which gave me:

BF calculation

Now, I know my Lean Body Mass is 120, and my goal weight should be about 150 at 20% Body Fat.

I’ve also found out estimates for my Basal Metabolic Rate, my total daily calorie burn, and how many calories I need to lose weight.    Like I said, these are estimates-everybody’s different.  I know that a 30 minute session of TurboFire torches about 700 calories for me.  It may be more for some people, or less.

Use these tools for basic information and as a starting point, not the be-all-end-all.  Weight loss is not a “One size fits all” kind of deal.