Figured it was time for an update to this post from six months ago that keeps getting crazy reblogs on all the fitness Tumblrs.
After seeing so many teenagers write about the first two pictures, I wanted to chime in once again.
If you don’t know me, you may not know that I spent about 10 years of my life dealing with disordered eating. And after I graduated college, it got worse, but in the opposite direction. Not a good scene.
I don’t weigh myself anymore, but I’m willing the bet the scale hasn’t changed much at all in terms of numbers over this past year. What has changed? My entire life. I eat better. I sleep more. I drink more water. I exercise and enjoy being active. I run. I box. I lift heavy shit. My mind and body actually craves the various activities. We don’t even own a scale.
And of course, I’ve gained plenty of muscle — and perspective. That accounts for so much and I wish I could go back in time and tell my poor college self everything I’ve learned in the past few years.
Back then all I ate was salad and prepackaged vegan foods and was generally not very happy. At all. Skip ahead a few years and I was equally unhealthy but eating whatever the hell I wanted while living with a pair of unhealthy dudes. Now there’s balance. A beer with dinner but a delicious salad for lunch. A homecooked meal for dinner with my fiance (that includes dessert, natch) after running a few miles when I get home from work. Quinoa all up in everything. Learning how to balance — and separating food from my emotions — has made a big difference.
It feels good man. Sure, whatever, taking pictures of myself is vain. Keeping this blog is vain. But if it helps me, or even one other person, be happier with themselves then I’m happy. It’s perfectly OK to be proud of yourself.
(Also: I’ve seen a lot of very sad young ladies on Tumblr who are struggling with similar issues that I went through. If you need someone to talk to who’s been through it and come out the other side, you’re welcome to send me messages at any time.)
Met with my trainer to get my body comp/measurements done. The last time I did this was four months ago, just a month after I started training there.
My first measurements in January had me at 143 pounds and 24.1 percent body fat; the moderate range is between 23.1-29.0 percent so it definitely needed to be reduced. In February, it was down about 3 percent but I still weighed exactly the same. And today? Body fat is down to 20.3%. Score! Officially in the optimal range of 18.1 to 23.0. There were some other small decreases in my legs and forearms, but no weight change despite all the extra physical activity. What’s the deal?
I’ve been eating all wrong, says my trainer, and consuming far too much sugar in the form of fruit and starches through grains and pasta.
“Eating for health and eating to lose weight are different,” Anthony said, assuring me that though I did eat “heathy” foods and cutting down on calories, the combinations and time at which I was eating them made the body store sugar as fat — even if it was through natural things like fruit.
So he recommended these changes:
- Cut down on sugar.
- Eat the day’s carbs in the morning, so you have time to burn it off; don’t eat sugar/carbs in the evening.
- Don’t go for more than a few hours without eating something (eating six small meals/snacks a day)
Breakfast: continue eating the flax seed oatmeal (Nature’s Path has a great one), or introduce some whole grain cereal or bread in the morning. Carbs are important at this period in the day.
Morning snack: raw fruit or raw nuts (not trail mix or roasted nuts, as that detracts from the quality)
Lunch: the salads I’ve been packing are OK, but should have more dark lettuces, fresh vegetables, raw nuts and/or a drizzle of olive oil, and can incorporate 1/2 cup of pasta or rice. Alternatively, lunch can be a wrap sandwich with chicken or tuna.
Afternoon snack: raw nuts, not fruit
Dinner: for now, dinner should be only protein and vegetables, with some addition of oils like olive oil or flax seed oil (not to cook with, just as a finisher). No starches, no rice or pasta.
After dinner: “If you’re still hungry after eating all of that, try some raw nuts, an egg white omelet or sugar-free Jell-o”
Impossible is nothing.
This woman is amazing. Formerly 230 pounds, she set out to get healthy through running and a healthy diet. She’s lost 100 pounds, kept it off for two years and just finished her first marathon the day I ran Broad Street.
All I have to say:
"Muscle makes all the difference."
Just to answer a few of the questions I received in one swoop: yes, this is me; the first photo was taken about a month after I started working out with a personal trainer; the second photo is four months after that. I posted this on Reddit’s ProgressPics forum and got a big response from women who were discouraged about their exercise when it seemed like they weren’t losing any pounds. Thought sharing this on my blog might help some others.
I’ve had many difficult years of struggling with my body image and my health. Building muscle is so important and makes a big difference in how I look and feel. I won’t even weigh myself anymore, but prefer to use visual references like this — there’s still plenty of room for improvement, but you can see that numbers aren’t all that matter.
This is both my before and after photo.
Before, because I still have work to do. Before, because I know I can be healthier, and stronger and more fit. Before, because this is before the big race, before the next workout, before the next goal has been met. (This was taken last week, exactly 60 days after the first time I went running, for reference)
But in so many ways, it’s also an after. Because when I look at these photos, I see a person who is happy and who is strong. Who is no longer starving herself or making lists of all the things she hates about her body. Who knows she is a size 8, but doesn’t let a number scare her anymore. I see someone who has curves and no longer believes the phrase “a healthy figure” is synonymous with “fat.” It’s been a long road getting here, and it isn’t over yet. It’s never over. There’s always a new goal to be reached. But now my goals are healthier ones.
That’s the goal: to always have your photo be both a before and an after.
It’s been one month since I started working out with my personal trainers and this Friday I’ll be doing the body composition test again. Will be interested to see if there are any improvements!