Where Do I Go From Here?

So my Lean Eating program ended in January and I have been a little bit adrift since then.  I don’t mean adrift in an eating everything in sight kind of way, but adrift in a what do I do now way?

I’m not ready to claim total victory over weight loss yet.  Things have improved a whole lot since the days when was a member of the 200lb club but its not all pretty under there.  I generally feel good about my body and I’m happy with the way I look in my clothes.  I feel healthy.  I feel strong. I’m running faster and still maintaining my lifting strength in spite of losing weight.  But I still have fat to lose (stomach! lower body!) and my BMI (as flawed as that metric is) is still a tiny bit on the overweight side which bothers me.

I can fit back into most of my pre-pregnancy clothes but not all of them even though I am about the same weight.  But I think, no I know, my body composition has changed.  I have more muscle.  I had a BodPod test done before I got married in 2008 and I was about 23% body fat with 105lbs of lean muscle mass.  I had a BodPod test done a few weeks ago and I was 21.1% with 112lb of lean muscle mass.*  I was roughly the same weight for both of these tests.  So yes, things have changed.  Maybe those old shirts will never fit because my arms are bulkier now or my shoulders are wider – who knows?  What I do know is that I need to figure out what’s next and that definition needs to be more inclusive than fitting back into a 4 year old pair of jeans.

Most of what’s next for me will focus on performance.  I am finally back at the point in my running where I can make some breakthroughs on my old PRs.  Looking back at my old numbers sparked a new goal.  I want to place in the Top 3 for my gender age group in a race this year – a small race, not a race with 12,000 runners.  When I check my race results, I’m often in 5th, 6th or 7th place with only a few seconds keeping me from placing higher.  If I could shave a minute or two off my 5K time, I would be Top 3 and how cool would that be?

I’m doing a lot of reading right now and trying to figure out exactly how to accomplish this goal.  I know that losing more weight would help – a lot.  “Racing Weight” by Matt Fitzgerald and “The Paleo Diet For Athletes” are currently locked and loaded into my Kindle.  How much weight though and how long do I want it to take?

I’ve been working hard at losing weight for a long time.  Part of me would like to just chill and maintain for a while.  The tricky thing is that I know very little about maintenance.  I lost 25lbs back in 2007 and kept it off (until I had the baby) but I never felt like I was maintaining.  I was always still trying to lose a few pounds.  I never shed that dieter’s mentality where it is all about keeping a caloric deficit.  That mentality can be exhausting.

What I want is to accomplish my fitness goals and get to the point where I am truly maintaining my happy weight.  I still haven’t figured out what that weight is or if it is even a weight at all (16-17% body fat maybe?).  I don’t know and I’m still working it out.

Has anyone else struggled with this issue?  How did you figure out where it all ends?  Or are you a forever “dieter”?

*I had a BodPod test done in April 2010 and I was 39.3% fat.  I lost about 40lbs of fat and gained 5lbs of muscle during this time.  That is how I like to “lose weight”!

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2 Responses to Where Do I Go From Here?

  1. claire says:

    I’m a weight watcher girl, myself. I’ve found I can still maintain my weight after going off of it, because I’m still thinking about everything I’m putting in my mouth, and I have a better idea of how bad/good some things are. I can also be very flexible about my eating with WW, so I can still hang out with friends without being weird about food (which is important to me). Currently, I’m one pound away from my goal!

    I’m still unhappy with my stomach though, and am also close to the overweight BMI. After having a baby, I’ve had to change my idea of what my stomach should look like. Good luck!

    Glad maintenance is working out for you!

    I do wonder about the stomach thing. It isn’t so much the stretch marks that bother me – it is the loose floppy skin. I don’t know if it will tighten up over time or if I lose more weight it will just get smaller or if it will require surgery (not interested in that). All I know is that if I stand up it looks flat but if I do a plank my stomach skin hangs loose and droops. Not nice.

  2. Tameika says:

    I’m struggling with this myself. I have 10 more lbs before I’m at my “goal weight”. I’m already much healthier, stronger, and leaner than when I started but psychologically I would really love to hit that number. I have one more week of bootcamp but I have decided that even if I don’t (and I probably) won’t hit that number when bootcamp ends, I’m going to give myself some time “off” mentally. I’ll still exercise and track my food just maybe not as much as I am now. No more 2 a days for at least a week. I think this will give me some time to reassess my goals, maybe set more, and just enjoy and celebrate the progress I have made so far.

    As far as maintenance, I’m trying to learn to eat more intuitively. Food tracking was HUGE for me and a key component to my success, but I don’t want to do it for the rest of my life. I think it helped me learn more about food and that will help when I stop tracking. I’ll probably still weigh myself once a week for about a month and then taper off to biweekly and monthly. I think by then I’ll figured out a maintenance routine that works. I think I have a good foundation but I’m open to adjusting it as needed. I’m just so pleased with the way I feel that I never want to return to my former self. Good luck to you! I know you’ll figure out what works best for you too.

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