By definition you can lust over anything and in terms of fitness the lust for perfection can become physically and mentally unhealthy.
I have never been secretive about my struggle with anorexia several years ago because it’s not something with which I am ashamed to have endured and have left behind.
Looking back, it’s amazing and scary that for several months I secretively but proudly ate between 700-900 calories a day, all the while strength training and running half marathons. I went from a size 6/7 to being able to take off 00 pants without unzipping them. To my sick brain, that was a measure of success. When I lost my period, success. When I skipped meals but didn’t feel hungry, success. When I skipped meals, felt hungry, but didn’t eat, even better. Anything and everything that resulted in a smaller and skinnier frame, I was willing to do, regardless of the consequences to my health.
Luckily, I was snapped out of it, gained weight, got muscular, and a few years later had my daughter. Despite being less obsessive about food and exercise, I still wanted to “achieve” some of the physical benchmarks I once valued- 10-12% body fat and, of course, a 6 pack. I didn’t see these goals as a problem until one evening when my 8 month old daughter was playing in the tub w/ her toys. I, on the other hand, had taken my usual position in front of the mirror to scrutinize my belly. I pinched it’s fat. I looked at it front ways, side ways, stood back from the mirror, stood close, ALWAYS with a disgusted look on my face. I was loathing my post partum body when, all of a sudden, I caught my daughters reflection in the mirror. She had stopped playing w/ her toys and her eyes were fixated on what I was doing. She was studying my behavior. She was learning from me. She was learning to hate her body from me and I was horrified!! I knew that if I didn’t walk the walk, it wouldn’t matter how many times I told my daughter she was beautiful. She would never believe it because I didn’t believe it of myself.
From that day forward, I have taken my mindset journey as seriously as my physical one. Of course, like every person, I have my “good days” and “bad days” but since I no longer bully myself into leanness or white knuckle my way through hunger, I know that I have the power to make even the worst of days good ones. I still train hard, push myself, take progress pictures, cook healthy meals, but my fascination with food, mileage, clothing size, body weight, food measurements, macros, and calories is gone. I can walk past a mirror and not feel the need to pinch anything. I don’t count calories, fats, proteins, or even carbs because I now understand that there are no magic numbers. Instead I know I’ve built a solid meal for myself because I don’t binge, I don’t get “hangry”, and my energy level is steady throughout the day.
This is me, on the left, 4 months ago, when I’d end up binging in my pantry 2-3 times a week. This is me about a week ago after 4 months of focusing my eating around eliminating my “need” to binge. Since binges can be indicative of not fueling properly I very much wanted to get this habit out of my routine. I haven’t a clue how many calories I was eating before nor how many calories I eat now. Don’t ask me how much protein I eat either. I’m not certain. What I do know is that my binges are gone so results followed. They aren’t dramatic nor show stopping but they are visible. More importantly, I got results without deprivation or self loathing. My aim was not perfection, to lose a specific number of pounds, nor get into a different size pants. My aim was to curve a behavior by adding on to my meals or replacing one item with another. (Go back to week 1, 2, and 3 to begin to play with how you should begin to change your plate!)
This week, find some time to sit down and ponder those 2015 New Year’s Resolutions. What behavior(s) cause you to plateau or gain? How can the #7DeadlySins Challenges play a role in creating results?
#7Deadly Sins Fitness Challenge
When I was anorexic, benchmarking happened almost daily and if I didn’t match my PR or beat it, I would punish myself with less food or more exercise. As you see your numbers during the benchmark challenge you have to be mindful of what they actually mean. Your body isn’t always at it’s best and it takes time to build solid strength. Give yourself some grace considering the holiday week has been intense.
2. Nutrition- Bedtime fast!
A common question when trying to lean out is, “when should I have my last meal?” or “What time is too late to eat?”
That question is extremely complicated to answer because of the amount of things that need to be taken into consideration. However, to keep things simple: Play around with one of these two techniques:
1. Spend equal amounts of time fasted as fueled. In other words, if I eat dinner at 8pm, I won’t eat (am not hungry to eat) breakfast until around 8am the next morning. I generally workout early so I use BCAA powder to make sure I have a good workout.
2. Stop eating about 3 hours before bedtime. Simply put, somewhere around the 9hr evening fasted mark you begin to dip into your stored fat. In other words, if you eat dinner at 6pm, somewhere around 3 am is when some awesome, effortless, magic is happening.
* Because of my schedule, technique 1 is what works best for me, usually! However, look at the big picture…with either habit you are looking around a 12 hour evening fasted lifestyle. Don’t be afraid to flip flop between either technique to see what works best for you or to use BOTH techniques. You might find that on weekdays you work best with #2 and on weekends you prefer #1. Experiment!!! Either way, you are spending equal parts fueled to fasted.
3. Activity- Strength Workouts!
You spent these past two weeks with some very metabolic workouts. Now it’s time to settle down a bit and add more strength to your regimen.