When I started my journey proper in December 2016, I was weighing in at 101kgs and was miserable, lacked anything resembling self-confidence and couldn’t (or wouldn’t) find any time in my life to take care of me! And so it was with that mindset and value system I started the process of getting healthy, lean, strong and moving towards my imagined idea of what I wanted to look like at the end of the journey! Lean limbs, flat stomach, visible abs, skinny ass…yup, that’s what I saw when I closed my eyes and thought about my body in the not-too-distant-future.
Alex, my coach, was indulgent and would gently try and explain to me that there was a price to be paid for this body that I saw myself in, and given my genetic blueprint, there might be some things that were just not 100% realistic. First of all, I do not have skinny-ass genes or the long, lean muscles necessary to give me the look that I thought I was going to get through sheer determination, healthy eating and a solid workout routine. I’d balk at the pictures he showed me that were completely different than what I had in mind and I’d shy away from the look he had in mind. The truth is that as the professional he has a much better, informed idea of what is impossible, but I just wasn’t ready or able to hear what he was saying. What did he know anyway, right!?
When I got to the six-month mark I was seeing considerable changes in my body and I was happy with them! Did they mark the half-way mark to my final banging-body destination!? My legs looked different, but not in the long, lean muscle way I had imagined. However, I was slowly growing more partial to the strong-girl look. I wasn’t ballooning into a female version of Johnny Bravo. The fat was disappearing and there was some muscle definition. I had to start rethinking my wardrobe too. It was full of clothes that were way too big for me, but I wasn’t ready to invest in a new clothing line as I wasn’t yet where I wanted to be. By June I had lost about 15kgs and was feeling pretty good about myself, but what was with the stomach!? It certainly wasn’t even close to resembling a wash board!! And so much for the disappearing butt! In fact it felt like instead of it getting smaller, it was simply getting harder!!
The months rolled by and the scale weight changed considerably over the next six months. I was now wearing a size 12 rather than a 16/18, I had invested in a little new clothing and was happy with the idea of wearing a bikini (in public!) for the first time in about ten years. And instead of freaking out about the upcoming trip to the coast, we decided that I would go onto a maintenance phase, increase my calories and have a nice break from the rigors of a calorie-deficit.
So I went away and I ate at maintenance for a month. And the amazing thing was that for the first time EVER I did not start putting on weight, and was becoming more and more comfortable in my new shape. When January arrived, as one does, I decided I was going to push forward on my weight-loss and body transformation and get to that illusive end point! What I was starting to already realise (something that Alex had know all along) was there is NO SUCH THING as an end to the “how I want my body to look” process. Because as my body has changed, so have my ideas of how I want it to look. Gone are my illusions of long, slim legs and a washboard stomach. To be blunt – screw that idea!
Because to be honest…it’s just too much hard work! I am talking about being healthy here and not obsessive. I don’t subscribe to be whatever size you want if it is not in line with the standard health markers. I certainly have never wanted to drop dead from something I could have had some control over. Over the last year my cholesterol has dropped from 6.9 to 4.2 and that was such an enormous achievement for me. Another indication of health and wellness that is not reflected on the scale. Knowing that my organs are not buried under a layer of suffocating fat and that my blood runs freely through my system are quietly reassuring thoughts. For the first time since joining my medical aid I was not terrified at the prospect of competing my annual health check, with the nurse kindly advising that it would be a good idea to think about losing some weight. I felt confident and happy about my health and went home proudly waving my scores.
So back to the idea of hard work! Look, I am not scared of a little hard work and along with patience and consistency that’s what it’s taken to lose all the weight, change the way my body looks and not rush to the nearest fridge and start eating my way back to 101kgs! It’d probably be 110 kilos this time. I spent the beginning of the year on maintenance for a number of reasons and here they are:
- It was an incredibly stressful time at work – I work in a substance abuse (addiction) treatment and recovery clinic.
- I wanted to eat more to fuel my work outs and build some muscle (so much for the lean, skinny look).
- Dieting is just fucking hard and having discovered I could eat more and maintain my weight was an extremely exciting discovery that I was enjoying.
- I hate being hungry…it makes me impossible and cranky, and I love food!
At the beginning of April I decided to go back onto a deficit and trim down some of the excess body weight and fat that I am still carrying. And it’s been these last few weeks on top of the previous 15 months that made me finally realise the high costs of having a really really great body! The type of body that those genetically blessed, perfect butt and stomach, Instagram models have, does not come cheap! I am guessing that there might be some sort of under-the-counter supplements, incredible genes, lots of strength training, periods of bulking and cutting in preparation for that perfect photo that I am just not motivated enough to do.
I am not having a go at them and I am NOT fit shaming, I have just come to understand that I would rather eat the chocolate brownie once a week and miss the occasional workout than obsess on whether I have a flat, taut stomach and a butt that doesn’t wobble. This deficit period is feeling really challenging for me, because although I have not got to the point that I had envisioned all those months ago, I do feel really sexy in my skinny jeans. I am going to keep going, but I know now that my ideal body is just way out of my motivation and commitment budget, and I am okay with that. SO I have rethought about what my ideal body is. And it goes something like this:
- I have heavy set legs with lots of muscle that are never going to be slim and long.
- A butt that gets the occasional admiring look from people that admire the more rounded look.
- My curves are sexy and the outer manifestation of the authentic, courageous woman that I strive to b
- I actually have a bit of an hourglass figure and I am learning to embrace my look.
- I have the genes and the muscles that I have, as well as the metabolism, and I need to work with that as much as possible rather than fighting it.
I am committed to dropping a little of the excess, but I have learned to love and respect food in a way that I approach my meals with joy, and I very rarely experience fear, guilt or shame at what passes my lips. Part of my ongoing work around my transformation is largely about self-love, compassion and learning to nurture and nourish myself. Sure I would be happy if my body looked like an IG Fitness Model’s, but then again I don’t really think that I want to pay the high price of having such banging body. I kinda like my new body, even though it’s not perfect it is the product of hard work, commitment, dedication and consistency over the past 15 months.
I guess I am more of a Golf girl than a BMW one anyway. I just know what I can and can’t have for what I prepared to “pay”. And just in case you were wondering, I actually think that for 45 my body is pretty fucking banging.