When I went in for surgery I knew my recovery would take about 3 months, minimum. My plan was to just take it easy, mentally and physically. Obviously I would be out of the gym completely for 6 weeks, but even when I got released to workout I knew I wanted to take it easy and let my body fully recover. I didn’t want to stress out over workouts or food choices for those first 3 months. Basically, I just wanted to coast through recovery. Next monday I’ll hit that 3 month mark.
It’s weird now, though. When I first started losing weight I was so focused on the number on the scale. If I’m being totally honest, that number still hangs in my head. I wanted so badly to weigh 175lbs. I don’t know why. The stupid BMI scale says I should weigh 130, which is a joke. I guess I thought 175lbs seemed like an easier goal to achieve than 130 when I started out at 260ish lbs. When I started CrossFit the first few months the pounds fell off. And for the last few years they have gone up and down. The lowest I’ve been was close to this time last year, I was around 183. The highest I’ve been? This week. 199. I stepped on that scale, saw that number and it freaked.me.out. I know I’m leaner than I’ve ever been. So why does being so close to 200lbs scare me so much? Because I instantly flash back to that girl floating somewhere in the 200’s – afraid to really know for sure how much I weighed. I know I’m not the same person I was then. My lifestyle is completly different. My body is completely different. But that number still bothered me. I feel like I have conflicting desires. Because I want to be strong. But at what point does weight matter when you want to be strong? I want to be good at CrossFit – as a woman doing pull ups at 200lbs is hard. No, it’s not impossible… but it’s harder for me than someone who weighs 150. Yea, I may be able to squat more than some of those girls, but not all of them. So when does weight start to matter? I don’t know.
Anyway, after weighing in at 199 that morning I had an appointment to check in with my nutrition coach I worked with over the past year. It was my first appointment with him since my surgery. While I did freak out a bit about the weight on the scale I was feeling far leaner than I ever have before. After some measurements and pinches he told me my results…
The left side is my before… the right side my current. I’ve gone down 13mm in pinches, up 11lbs in lean body mass, and down 3.5% in body fat. Out of my 199 lbs on the scale approximently 166 of those are lean muscle. Uhm, what? I’m just under 19% body fat?! Are you serious? I was close to 50% body fat several years ago when I got a DEXA. Of course I know results from a pinch test are going to be different than a DEXA but still… It blew my mind being anywhere in that ball park.
I had a hard time reconciling the idea that I had such high muscle mass. I thought of that 135lb “suggested weight” on the BMI chart. I’d have to lose at least 30lbs of muscle to get there? No thanks. I even thought of that 175 “goal weight” and realized if I want to be there I’m either going to have to be super lean or lose some muscle.
I’m not unhappy with my body. Actually, I’m pretty damn proud of how far I’ve come. I’m proud of the quad muscles I see popping out. I’m proud of my newly revealed flat tummy that had been hiding under loose skin for the last year. Proud of my baby traps. It’s just when I think about being anywhere near 18-19% body fat this is not what I expected. I’m still technically plus size in size 14 jeans. I’m still close to 200lbs. But I’m strong. And I’m fit. And I’m healthy. And I’m happy. It’s just so hard to reconcile all these things in my little brain.
When it comes to weight loss, I’m finally in a place where I’m not all “I need to lose xxlbs” or whatever. I mean sure, I want to grow my muscles, but overall I don’t feel unhappy with my body. And I guess there is a part of me that almost feels guilty for NOT feeling like I have to change something about my body. I mean, growing up obese means I’ve basically been told all my life that my body and/or weight isn’t acceptable. That being a 200lb woman isn’t acceptable. So now that I’m at a place where I’m at peace with my body, yes even close to 200lbs, I almost feel guilty for that, like I should want to change something. (Sidenote: I know some of you will say of course you feel that way you just had plastic surgery, of course you’re at peace with your body… but that was just the final step after years of work in the kitchen and the gym!) It just feels so foreign to actually embrace my body for where it is. To be clear I’ve never hated my body. I didn’t bask in my self-loathing thoughts, I just knew I was not in a healthy place with my body composition. At 5’3 and 250lbs and close to 50% body fat I knew I needed to change something.
I know in our minds we all have some idea of what our ideal body/weight/composition is and how it would look on us. I know I did. And I guess all I’m saying is that my reality is different from that picture I had in my head. It’s not disappointing and I’m not upset about it. It’s not that one is good and one is bad… it’s just not what I expected. I guess I just have to learn to adjust my expectations. Cause I sure as heck don’t want to lose my hard earned muscle!
Do you (or did you) have different expectations about your before/after?