Lots of rambling here, bear with me. 😉
I’m at the end of my No Logging in September Experiment. For the past month, I’ve been eating intuitively, and not logging my calories, because, quite frankly, I’m tired of it. I started the month at a weight of 140.8 pounds and weighed in Saturday at 141.4 pounds. Which, in my mind, is a win. Especially since I started the month not being able to get a certain pair of jeans over my hips, and can now (uncomfortably) button them again.
Plus, I’d been recovering from an injury at the start of the month, and not exercising. Now that I’m easing back into it, I’m very likely sporting a few extra pounds of fuel storage and some inflammation from exercise. So I’m feeling pretty good about things.
I’ve also used this time to do some thinking about body image and the things we do to achieve our goals. On one hand, I know calorie counting works. Damn well. I can be quite lean and look fantastic when I’m counting my calories (as long as I don’t fuck up my body with frickin’ hormones again). But… is it worth it? Is being a little bit leaner that important? Does it really make any difference in my life? Am I just fighting what my body naturally wants to be? I can rather effortlessly maintain being a size 6-8. If I’m counting every calorie, I can be a size 2-4.
I mean… I’m still fit and healthy. I still run. I still lift weights. My husband thinks I’m sexy and wants to boink me no matter what I weigh. Being leaner doesn’t make me smarter, kinder, a better artist, a better wife. I still have to pay bills, scoop the litter box and have ninja fast reflexes to keep the dog from biting me while I groom him.
The only thing that’s different is that I’m somewhat smaller and wear somewhat smaller clothes.
So why do I feel like a failure or quitter? It’s silly to feel that way. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the way I look now. I liken it to being a blue hydrangea. I can change the pH balance in the soil and make it a pink hydrangea. But WHY? Why go that extra step, when the blue hydrangea is just as beautiful?
Or if I’d been bleaching my hair blonde for years, and decided that it was too much upkeep and went back to my natural brunette, I wouldn’t feel bad about it. There wouldn’t be anyone saying I was wussing out or lazy because I stopped coloring my hair.
For what it’s worth, I didn’t feel deprived or hungry while logging my calories. I ate well. But I was obsessive. I know the fitness industry likes to say, “What you call obsessed, we call dedicated,” but it sure felt a lot more like obsessed. Every day was like a game of Jenga, a balancing act, trying to get the calories and macros all in order. It was just an extra layer of pressure I was putting on myself. Just like altering the pH in the soil or changing the hue of my hair. One extra, possibly unnecessary, step.
If I compare my current photos with photos from before I started lifting weight, I’m happy. Very happy. I weigh more, but it doesn’t show.
But then… then I look up photos from last year at this time and think, “Holy shit! I never realized I was that small!” That’s when I start feeling like a big old lazy lump, even though I’m not that much bigger.
(And I realize that everyone hates the size 6 girl complaining that she can’t fit in the fours. I realize it’s stupid and petty. But falling short of reaching a goal is disappointing, for anyone.)
Smaller, sure. Better? If I’m honest? Yes, but why is smaller considered better? I don’t know. Is counting every calorie and feeling slightly crazy worth it? I don’t know. Do I want to get back there? Actually… yes. And I don’t even know why, because I logically don’t think it should matter.
Right now, though… No. Right now, I’m going to be stubborn and see if I can’t get back there without going nuts. I’ve seen and felt improvement in the past month, and up until I was masochistic and did a side by side with last year’s photos, I felt great, so I’m just going to continue on that road and see where it leads.
Because, you know what? I had just as much self-doubt about how I looked a year ago as I do now. Then I thought, “My thighs are still big. My abs don’t show like some other women’s do. Why do I still have chins??? Uck… my chest looks bony.” That’s something else that doesn’t change. Same tunes, in a different key. That’s something I have to work on inside my head, not on the outside.