I recently (hmmm a month ago) posted something on Instagram that took a longer decision to make about posting than it should have. No, it wasn’t whether my smoothie looked too much like grey sludge (thanks chocolate almond milk) or whether someone had spotted me trying to take a surreptitious gym selfie. No, it was this.
There you go people of the world, colleagues, friends, family, strangers…HERE IS HOW MUCH I WEIGH.
It was an odd feeling. Strangely liberating. And yet for something that’s just a number, why did it take so much of a leap of faith to do it? Was I suddenly going to have people think less of me? Would people I don’t even know be judging me?
You know what, who cares.
I weigh 70kg. That, for those who still like to deal in imperial terms, is 11 stones or 154lb. SHOCK. To be quite honest, I’ve just got back from a week’s skiing and my body cheese % is probably higher than ever so it is probably more.
I also however fluctuate around 19% body fat, have the metabolic age of a teenager and my visceral fat rating is the lowest it can be. So why was I happy to shout about those numbers freely, where my weight was such a tricky decision? I’ve spent far too long in my life thinking along the lines of “if I could just lose half a stone then….” I don’t know why I magically thought that be the ticket to eternal happiness or that things would suddenly start happening differently. Hundreds of times has the “<70kg” been a goal of mine.
And you know what, I have realised now that, not only do I now not need to set my sights on a single number, but I’m happy enough about no longer doing this to tell you all about it. Which I feel is quite a big step in the right direction.
I’ve had countless people over the last year or so tell me I look like I’ve lost more weight. And you know what, I actually haven’t. Not significantly. Maybe a pound here or there which if I eat too much pizza it just goes back on again. But my weight hasn’t significantly changed, yet apparently I’m giving it the illusion that it has. And that all goes back to why weight shouldn’t be the be-all and end-all and that a broader range of factors need to be considered for health. You’ll all have heard the old adage about the majority of rugby players being classed as obese due to the differences in density between muscle and fat – and it’s true. My BMI is waaaay towards the high end of acceptable (I’m 5’7″) , but if you look at the rest of my vital stats, everything is ticking along just fine. Apparently my “ideal weight” is about a stone less than I currently am. Ideal to who?!
I’ve started tracking on myfitnesspal in January not in an attempt to lose weight, but just to have a better appreciation of what’s going in and out of my body. I train a lot and always seem to be hungry – but I’ve never really taken enough time to understand the exact nutrients and energy I’m giving myself, tending to take a more rough rule of thumb like “that was too many Doritos Katie, should probably not have a pizza for dinner AND a bag of giant chocolate buttons, leave them for tomorrow” I’m not going to start harking on about using exercise to reward yourself with food, but having a better idea of my calorie expenditure has allowed me to be more realistic – and not beat myself up for feeling hungry and wanting to snack between meals.
According to my history on myfitnesspal, I’ve tried tracking before. However, to my point above, it will have been primarily to lose weight. And this is apparently my weight history:
- 69.4kg on August 20th 2011
- 76kg 18th May 2015.
- 74.5kg 15th June 2015.
- 70kg on the 4th May 2016.
So really, it has come full circle and I’m literally no different to what I was 6 years ago and I think I’ve settled at my happy weight and come to accept that. Yes, there have been fluctuation. Guess it’s also interesting to point out that I ran a 3.33 marathon 3 weeks before weighing in at 76kg…so I wasn’t exactly slacking. I was still training hard and doing a lot – but something wasn’t clicking. Although I wouldn’t have considered myself a cardio bunny as I was still doing 2-3 weights sessions a week…technically I was. I would have been running 30-35 mile weeks, a 12 mile round commute on the bike 3 or 4 times a week. And I reckon my body just wasn’t handling it particularly well. But you know what – my clothes have fitted me all the way through (and yes, I do have clothes that have been with me those full 6 years). Maybe a bit tighter here, looser there, but never a “omg I need to make a conscious effort to change this”
(Also boo sucks to you if there is any judgement on my 76kg or any inbuilt assumptions around what different weights look like on different people)
Something I remember spending a lot of time doing was playing with “how much faster would you be if you lost x?” type calculators. I wanted to know how much faster I would be if I lost 3lb, 4lb, 7lb. You know what, I’ve just accepted now that actually, my body probably isn’t the ideal build for running marathons drastically faster than I probably can now. It does a decent job, and I’m mighty proud of having done 4 with a PB of 3.27 and a max of 3.41 (#humblebrag), but ultimately, just due to the laws of science, someone who has a smaller build than me will expend less energy to keep themselves moving over the 26 miles. So really, the marathon will never be my best distance and that’s why my 5k time predicts me being able to run it about 15 minutes faster than I currently do!
So that, my dear friends, is a rather long ramble, but it’s helped me get it off my chest. This also probably won’t be the last you hear from me on this, as somewhere in the back of my mind is still a little saying “imagine if you were 10 stone something” – so I’m not claiming to be totally Joe Wicks “throw away the sad scale” yet, but I’m feeling a damn lot better about it than I ever have previously!
And you know what my goals are for this year?
- Sub 20 min 5k
- Deadlift 100kg
- Be able to do a pull up, not just chin ups (I’ve done it already! Now to aim for 5)
- Seriously think about AG duathlon qualifiers
Note, for the first time in about 6 years, the distinct lack of And that’s what defines me. Not the number.
All thoughts of yours welcomed as always!