Thursday, August 20, 2009

Measuring up

Yesterday was my 2nd monthly body composition, weight, and measurement jubilee at my Healthy Inspirations program. This is done every 30 days, presumably to inspire us tireless (tired) warriors with tangible evidence that our many and varied efforts of personal restructuring are working. The trainer, a fireball names Jess, does the measuring and a Tanita scale/computer that can read bare feet does the rest of the calculations. I was psyched for the assessment, given my weight that actually started with a "1" yesterday (and happily today, too). Essentially it was all good news I received from the little cash register-tape printout; the trainer was beaming and proclaiming my progress "EXCELLENT!" But I have managed to parse carefully all the data as explained by Jess and find negative stuff on which to focus. WHY DO I DO THIS???!!?

It's like receiving a performance evaluation at work...9 out of 10 categories I'm deemed superior, while 1 area I'm merely satisfactory, and all I focus on is the one thing that isn't superior. Intellectually I get the futility of this faulty thinking, but it gushes up from somewhere within that hasn't yet been reached by the years of therapy, sobriety and new age self heart the Leslie in the mirror! Maybe this tendency is a universal human trait as I also know I'm not alone in this, but I wish I'd knock it the hell off.

So I have officially lost 19 and a half pounds on their scale (mine says 22lbs which is why I heart it, too) and my body % of fat has gone down a total of 15% since starting in June. One thing that is irritating is that my lean body mass, which is bones, tendons, muscles and water has also gone down a teeny bit, as it did the first month. This is supposed to go up body, get it? This is driving me crazy, but Jess says not to worry..."it happens." Well why to me, since I'm doing weight training for the first time ever. But actually I've had to cut back on upper body weights because an old tennis elbow has been reacitivated, resulting in some right arm pain and muscle strain. All the other body comp. items met with my approval, but then the measuring tape was pulled out and it revealed some interesting data.

First, if anyone has been professionally measured, you already know what I didn't...that the true waist is considered to be at the bottom of the ribs, not across the belly button circumference. That gets measured too, but it's considered something other than the waist. My bust actually got 1/4 inch bigger, when last month it had gotten 1/2 inch smaller. I can live with that...maybe my bra that day was thicker, the tape pulled tighter, whatever. But my true waist increased 1/2 inch also! WTF? And the kicker is that my bra band has felt as tight as ever, and just the day before I was thinking that was strange given all my weight loss. Jess explained that "it happens sometimes because the body can truly redistribute weight as it is burning fat", which my body has clearly been doing. Then my untrue waist, the one around my belly button stayed the same. I was steaming at this point, until she measured my hips, which are down 2 and a half inches. Thighs also 1/2 inch down, upper arm the same. So there was definitely loss of inches overall, but the lower body is shrinking while the upper is holding on to its girth for dear life. "This is a body type", Jess chirped encouragingly. Yeah, it's a body type I didn't used to have...big boxy top half, smaller bottom half...the body of a post-menopausal woman!!!!!!!! DAMN, it's happening to moi!

How many times over my life did I lament my pear shaped body, cursing my hips and especially my thighs! And I remember someone saying to me once that it could all change someday and I'd better stop complaining about it. I should have seen it coming. I used to be pretty small chested, but 3 pregnancies, nursing, and weight gain of about 80 pounds since I got married (that didn't fall off when the babies fell out) has gradually inflated not only my bra band circumference but also the girls themselves. This storing of fat in the upper body and around the middle didn't just start happening's actually a trend that's began maybe 20 years ago, and now that my ovaries have long since breathed their last gasp, my diminishing estrogen is putting the last nail in the coffin of a girlish pear shaped physique!

I have to say that as I'm writing this, I'm starting to feel much better about it all. Isn't that interesting? The processing and digesting of new information with the recalling of my past tendencies is making this state of my body understandable, even inevitable, and not in a bad way. What is, is. And knowing what is and accepting it means I have something concrete to work on. There's that Serenity Prayer accept the things I cannot change, change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference between the two. I can't change my genetic make up, but I can whittle and winnow away at the soft adipose deposits surrounding said genetic composite in order to be the healthiest version of myself possible.

1 comment:

  1. I think you've done amazingly in losing 19 1/2 lbs (or 22!) and body fat going down 15% is great. Nothing to feel down about at all! I'd be really happy if I'd achieved that.

    I've also noticed the strange shift in body shape from pear shaped as a teen to hour glass in my 20s and now to "boxy top half" in the last couple of years - even though I'm only 37 !! All my life I thought my thighs were too big for the rest of me - not now!

    Best wishes,