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”!