Goal-Setting: My Ideal Body in Pictures and Numbers

In his book “Thinner, Leaner, Stronger,” Michael Matthews recommends setting tangible goals before you even pick up a weight, drop a calorie, or hop on a treadmill. I wholly agree.

I did not do this in the first few weeks because I was extremely motivated to get started and I didn’t want to plan myself out of execution, which is consistent with my rather cerebral tendencies.  But goal-setting is just as important as knowing your baseline, and now that I’ve had a few weeks to really reflect, I’m ready to articulate those goals.

In setting up your goals, Matthews recommends assessing (1) what your ideal body looks like; (2) what your ideal state of health would be like; and (3) why you’re doing this in the first place. Today, I will focus on my ideal body.

A Picture of my Ideal Body

Matthews recommends not just using mere words to describe your ideal body, but pictures. So I found a few. Here is my favorite:
Fit Chick 1What a fox! She embodies a lot of qualities I am looking for: Strong, good lines, lean… but NOT “skinny fat.” I’ve been around this size before, so I’m confident this is an attainable goal (with time and effort). I want a body indicative of a healthy, happy lifestyle, in which I’m not engaging in negativity or self-punishment.

And most importantly, I want my thighs to still touch:

Fit Chick ThighsThe Thigh Gap is not welcome in this house.*

My Ideal Body in Numbers

I finally got my body fat percentage tested at 24-Hour Fitness, by Corey, my new trainer. Sadly, it’s at a whopping 35%. With a body weight of 150 lbs, this translates into 97.5 lbs of muscle, and 52.5 lbs of fat!

I’m carrying a spry tween’s worth of weight on my thighs, hips, ass, arms, and belly. YUCK. No wonder I’ve been feeling like crap.

My ultimate goal is to weigh approximately 135 lbs and have 20% body fat, which means I need to lose 25.5 lbs of fat and gain 10.5 lbs of muscle. I’m not ignorant to the fact that this is a fairly significant “body recomp,” so I set a first milestone to weigh approximately 140 lbs and have 25% body fat. Corey estimated that at a healthy rate of losing 2% of body fat each month, I can reach this goal in five months.

((whimper)) …wish me luck!

*I have A LOT of opinions on this Thigh Gap and Thinspo garbage circulating the internet and infiltrating the minds of young women out there. Stay tuned for more information on this dubious subject, and the all-out war to follow. It’s on, bitches.  

Video: Get Sugar Smart

This is a wonderful video by Prevention Magazine that shows you the different amounts of added sugar in whole versus processed foods.

There is sugar hidden in pretty much all processed foods – even savory foods, which are then balanced out with copious amounts of salt. It is things like this, coupled with dubious advertising, that can make controlling your diet very complicated: As a young child, raisins were advertised as “Nature’s Candy,” a healthy alternative to sweets. However, based on the amount of sugar they contain, they are no different. Pulling ourselves out of this paradigm of life-long programming via advertisements is a challenge for us all.

The only way to effectively control your sugar intake is to eat as much of a whole foods diet as possible. Skip the processed juice, and go for the apple.

Update on the Stupid Stupid Leg

I suffered a crappy fracture of my distal fibula last July. I was stuck on crutches for a little over a month and in a walking boot for an additional month and a half on top of that. It grounded me, took me away from my bike right as the beautiful Oregon summer started, and made me completely miserable and unable to provide for myself financially. The road to recovery has been a little longer and rougher than I anticipated. It has been quite frustrating, as it has limited my options for transitioning back into peak performance. I can’t jog or do any dynamic exercises, so a lot of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is out (for now, damnit!).

When I got healthcare through Kaiser Permanente, I was referred to a great PT named Rachel. I had my follow-up physical therapy appointment with her today. Mixed feelings.

Bad News: Still no jogging, jump squats, or anything else fairly dynamic.

“DAMN YOU LEGGGGG!!!!” ((throws fists to sky))

Good News: I have gained a significant amount of flexibility and strength back in my ankle and have been graduated up to more functional and aggressive forms of PT. I have a check up in a month to see (1) more progress and (2) to assess if I can start more dynamic activities. She suggested more pool and bike time, so I’ll be doing that.

LESSONS LEARNED
I think back to when I fractured my leg and all I can say is that I am so so so thankful not to be on crutches anymore. However, the fracture taught me a few good life lessons/self-observations:

  1. I learned the generosity and kindness of strangers and my awesome friends, who continuously opened doors, walked out my groceries for me, and entertained my bored ass.
  2. But…. that other kinds of strangers SUCK, like the ones who have the brass balls to hit on me on while crippled. Please, oh please, DON’T tell me to smile or how pretty I look while I’m tooling around on my “fun sticks.” I’m not going to give you the change in my pocket…. or sex.
  3.  I am learning here and there to ask for help. I am a stubborn cow.
  4. My former relationship was not as strong as I thought. This was a tough lesson to learn, but without the outdoors as a buffer/bonding mechanism, my relationship fizzled. Though I’m sure there were more complicated factors than just that. But it surely didn’t help a new relationship in need of nurturing. C’est La Vie.

Anyone else have any valuable life lessons/self-observations from a substantial injury?

Sunday Stats: Week of March 16, 2014

Sunday, Bloody Sunday…. self-disclosure time!
Loudspeaker

There is a lot of anecdotal evidence showing that people who track their fitness see more progress, likely because they know how they measure up against their goals. Now that I am starting to develop a fairly regular health and fitness routine, I’ll be publishing my stats every Sunday to track my progress. They’ll be pretty basic to start – weight and BG stats for now. Next week, I’ll start tracking the inches ((shudder)) and RHR. Also, I’ll be posting about my goals in the near future…

I have a quarterly appointment with my endocrinologist in April, after which I’ll publish many of the same stats I posted in my Baseline Assessment. I would loooovvveee to see my a1c below 7. Fingers crossed.

WEIGHT: 152 ((sigh))

DIABETIC STATS:
     7-day BG average: 181
     14-day BG average: 190
     30-day BG average: 216

     Before Meal 7-day average: 131
     Before Meal 14-day average: 146
     Before Meal 30-day average: 178

     After Meal 7-day average: 241
     After Meal 14-day average: 254
     After Meal 30-day average: 282

     Lowest BG of the week: 40
     Highest BG of the week: 344

THOUGHTS
I’m liking the overall downward trend of my diabetic stats, particularly my pre-meal BGs. I’m down 15 points for my baseline 7-day average of 196. Unfortunately, this was the only stat I took down from my meter to establish my baseline – I’m excited to see what my 14-day and 30-day averages are going to look like next week!

I clearly need some improvement in the After Meal category, as this seems to be the major source of my high BGs. This could be an issue with carb-counting, my carb-to-unit ratio (currently 1 unit of insulin for every 12 grams of carbohydrates), or a little of both. I suspect the most likely culprit is carb counting. It is not even remotely an exact science, and I am in need of a major refresher. Luckily, my endocrinologist referred me to Kaiser Permanente’s nutrition department, and I will be setting up an appointment soon.

Nota bene: A lot of my lows are going unreported. When I was without health care, I had to severely cut back on my blood sugar testing to conserve test strips, so I was taught not to test for lows because I don’t need a meter to know when I’m low (hot neck, cranky, sweaty, disoriented, HANGRY).

hangry_banner_sm

I will be getting in the habit of testing for lows to show that trend to both my readers and my endocrinologist. While we’re on the topic of evil, evil lows, I’ve been having at least one hypo a day for the past four or five days, and I am not a fan of this trend. Lows feel like shit on a stick.

Anything else you guys think I should be tracking on a weekly basis? Chime in and leave a comment!

Photo Credits: ideasmile and http://efficientawesomeness.com/

Switching Gyms and Leaving my Comfort Zone

“The reason for our suffering is our resistance to the changes in life.”
~ Leo Babauta, Zen Habits

For those of you who know me in real life, you probably know that I don’t necessarily respond well to change – particularly when it comes to routines upon which I have come to rely. However, I am quite aware of how certain types of conflict can be extremely healthy, as conflict has the potential to spur progress. I consider conflict to be a wide range of things, including a disconnect with what you may find comfortable. Change is conflict.

This week, my small mom-and-pop gym closed down. Now, there were a lot of things I did not like about this gym. The staff basically gave up on the place – floors remained unswept and essential items not stocked. Also, this gym had an iterative identity problem, demonstrated by the owner’s constant moving of things around, which was a major source of aggravation for me. On the rare occasion when I did need something, staff members were hard to find because the owner removed the front desk/station. Oh, and the owner kept the kettle bells locked up for the paid group exercise sessions. God, that pissed me off something fierce.

All this being said, I had one area where I worked out, it was low-priced, and I was for the most part content. But I was not seeing results.

When I was told the gym was closing, I felt that same internal panic mode activate – now what?!? Not having a gym was certainly not an option, as I had recently (and publicly) committed to returning to peak fitness and health. But I definitely did not want to get stuck going to a big-box, warehouse-style gym, surely packed with judgmental, hard-bodied gym-rats. With those obsessive-compulsive personality traits. Those Type A’s. The last time I did a trial membership at a large gym, I hated it – I felt like a jelly-legged slob being silently assessed by these people with superior physiques. And it shut me down. Needless to say, I wasn’t looking forward to gym-shopping.

Irony: I am now a member of a big-box, warehouse gym, 24-Hour Fitness, a national fitness chain. It’s a “Super Sport” facility, which translates into bigger.than.shit. It’s massive, and is apparently one of the busiest gyms company-wide.

Picture of Gym

My visit to this monolith of a gym taught me something crucial: There wasn’t a problem with that large gym long ago, the problem was me. The problem was my projection of self-doubt and insecurity onto others – strangers that I didn’t know and whose minds I certainly couldn’t read (I’m not Sookie Stackhouse). I also learned something awesome about myself: I’m not that insecure person anymore. Throughout this complicated journey of having a chronic illness, I have developed my own sense of self and a unique sense of self-protection that comes with having to prioritize your health over pretty much everything else. No matter what someone has to say or think about me, at the end of the day, I have to take care of myself in a very tangible way. And somehow that crossed over to my perception of self.

Change = Progression

This change, this conflict, is just what I needed. I look forward to discovering what my new gym has to offer me on my journey back to peak fitness. I now see my new community of hard-bodies and I am inspired. I admire the hard work they’ve put into optimizing their health and wellness. And I am prepared to follow suit.

Photo credit: Urban Spoon