The before/after reveal is nothing like I imagined it.
I pictured proudly putting up my before picture – lovingly not my healthiest self, not entirely happy with my body because I knew I wasn’t taking care of it, juxtaposed with my new, fitter, healthy and happy self. And that picture is here – it exists! Here are the stats to go along with it –
BEFORE: 38.4% Body Fat. 156 pounds
AFTER: 25.34% Body Fat. 141 pounds
We did it! I achieved my goal to be my happiest fittest self! But there’s a but to go along with my firm new butt.
That after picture was almost one year ago.
Here’s what happened. I worked for years to crush old terrible habits, think about food in a new way, and discover a workout that I enjoyed, with a supportive community that I needed to succeed. And succeed I did! I ate mostly paleo, I went to crossfit 3-4 times per week, I even threw in a yoga session here and there, and reached my goal. But here is the glaring question:
Why didn’t I post this a year ago?
Here’s the truth. When I took my hydrostatic fitness test, I got really good results. But I also read this morsel:
Ideal body fat percentage: “The generally accepted ideal body fat percentage for females is 22%. Your body fat percentage is higher than the ideal. To reach the ideal, you would have to lose 6.04 pounds of fat and weight 134.96.”
I started my blog that day with this: “While it’s helpful to have a tangible goal, I hesitate to let the opinions of anonymous random “experts” dictate what is healthy for me. And they don’t feel I should either, with this disclaimer – ‘Note: There is no set standard for recommended body fat percentages. This table is based on the opinions of many experts in the Health and Fitness industry.'”
I was on the right track. What if I had just said, this is it, this is my healthiest. I mean look at me, I’m FIT! The fittest I’ve been in a long time! Maybe ever! But I didn’t post the results that day, because I thought, well I could go even further…and isn’t that how so many of us think of ourselves? “If I can just lose five more pounds, if I can just get firmer legs, THEN I’ll be happy with myself.” I knew all along that my fittest self wouldn’t fit into the magazine cover model standard of beauty that we are inundated with, yet that unrealistic ideal has been infiltrated, buried so deep in me that I couldn’t truly embrace my awesome self.
And maybe if I had posted that picture a year ago, I would’ve been proud, and worked harder to maintain it. But just like the fairytale doesn’t really end with the wedding of a Disney movie, the results were not the end of the story. Shortly after, I jumped onto another TV show with a different schedule and commute, then another, then had a minor existential crisis, and slowly the weight crept back, latching on to those firm muscles I had worked so hard for. I wasn’t good at transitioning to a new schedule fast enough to bring my newfound fitness habits along, and I allowed the vicious old cycle of – “I’m not going to the gym because it’s been too long already, I’ll just eat because I feel bad” – creep back in, and now, I feel like I’m almost back to where I started.
Except I’m not.
This time, I know exactly what I need to do. The journey isn’t just to fitness anymore, I got there. And that foundation, those muscles, that mentality, is in me. Now the journey continues PAST THAT, to maintenance and balance. I have some real work to do these next few months to get back to or close to where I was, but will do it while achieving balance and recognizing true results within me. Do you ever notice that when you drive somewhere you haven’t been, it seems to take forever? Then on the way home, it takes no time at all because you know exactly where you’re going? That’s what this feels like. The journey took YEARS to finally get to fit, and it felt like I was NEVER going to get there. And it turned out that I was too obsessed with trying to achieve someone else’s standard of fit and beauty to share the joy of reaching such an impressive goal. I didn’t want to post just yet because maybe I could go even further, instead of celebrating how far I’d come. And what happened? I took leaps backwards.
Maybe I just never want to stop blogging/vlogging about the journey, and now I don’t have to, because we never just get to our goal and the Disney movie ends. In real life, maybe Arielle is pissed because the Prince spends more time out at sea than with her and her gadgets and gizmos, and Cinderella’s Prince wants her to get rid of her “annoying” singing birds. “It’s me or the birds, Cindy!” And Aurora suffers from postpartum because she was jarred awake from her awesome nap. There is no perfect ending, and that’s the beauty of it. So let’s get back at it, and keep moving forward. And this time, I will be celebrating my own standard of fit when I get there, because now I know what that looks and feels like, to me.