Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Muscle Weighs More Than Fat

Before you get all literal on me, let me say that I do realize that a pound of muscle weighs the same as a pound of fat - just like a pound of feathers weighs the same as a pound of bricks, etc. I get it.  Just read on -  I promise it will make more sense. Or at least I hope so.

I received the following text from my friend Laurel a few weeks ago:

"Was just looking at some pics from early in 2013 and you have lost so much weight! You know I've always thought you looked great, but I know how hard you've been working and it has really paid off!"

Immediately after sending her a response informing her that she was the BEST FRIEND EVER, I hopped on the scale to see that I'd lost...wait for it....five pounds. Yes, a whopping five pounds over the past three months. Woo-f'ing-hoo. 

So when Fairview opened this week and I was forced to be out in public in my bathing suit I was feeling pretty insecure.  I know, I know, I'm forty years old and should be over this shit by now, but being okay with your body doesn't happen overnight (or apparently over 40 years). 

But then the strangest thing happened.  Three different people, on three different occasions complimented me on how great I looked.  I, of course, ran home on all three occasions to hop on the scale.  I had, after all, been working even harder than usual, taking four classes per week at Clay several times in the past month.  Certainly I'd lost something significant since the last time I stepped on the scale, right?  


Two more freaking pounds.  

I won't lie to you - I was feeling super discouraged. Thoughts like "Why am I doing this if it isn't making a difference?" and "I really want a Hot Fudge Brownie Sundae from Dairy Queen RIGHT NOW!" went racing through my mind. That's where I am used to going to - the negative, "might-as-well-give-up", place.  Flashback, however, to the beginning of this post.  If people are noticing - and being nice enough to say something to be about it - it must actually be making a difference.  My appearance is changing, even if the numbers on the scale aren't.  I'm replacing fat with muscle (duh!). Often it's hard to see those types of changes on your own body - especially when you're used to looking at it with such a critical eye.  The numbers on the scale are tangible - factual - objective.  Whittling waistlines are intangible - abstract - subjective. I'm a science geek, A theory is just a theory unless it can be proven as fact, right?

So here's where I stand today.  Time to get over myself.  No, I'm not bikini-ready. But that wasn't ever my goal was it? Since I started on this "journey" I've always claimed I wanted to be stronger, healthier, better (physically and psychologically). Then that, my friends, is where I need to focus! 

There are actual, tangible, ways for me to assess whether or not I am achieving my "stronger, healthier, better" goals, as well.  At Clay I can do an Assessment, which will measure not just my weight, but my percentage body fat, and several physical tasks that I have done in the past.  I can compare what I was able to do 6 months ago with what I can do now.  I'm fairly certain that I will be able to run hard, faster, and longer than before - do ball squats for way longer than I had in the past - and push-ups? Going to knock those babies out of the park! Guess it's time to schedule that thing, huh?

Another way for me to assess if I am physically healthier is at the doctor's office. I'm fairly sure my cholesterol and blood pressure have improved over the past year. Sure, they're going to weigh me, too, but if I dress just right (I still have my teeny, tiny 'weigh-in underwear' from my Weight Watchers days!) the results just might be in my favor.  And if not, well, I will call Laurel and ask her to tell me how great I look. Aren't friends wonderful? 

There are ways to measure psychological improvement too, but I think we'll save that one for another day...

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