How I went from 11-21% body fat and got “leaner” in the process.

The title sounds off, doesn’t it?

I mean, who in their right mind ends up gaining weight and feeling leaner during the process?

Let me explain….

In 2011, I measured in at 11% body fat in the midst of my triathlon training which typically looked like the following:

LOL.  Kidding.  Let’s just say I was putting in 2-3 hours of hard training a day, living off little sleep and pounding back the jet fuel consisting of 8 cups of coffee throughout the day.  Sure, it worked for a period of time and yes, I did get “leaner” yet, my life as I knew it completely revolved around exercise, food and honestly, whatever it took to stay as lean as possible.

As a female, if your goal is to stay around 11% body fat I can guarantee you will get to a point of obsessing over every morsel of food that goes into your mouth, worrying about how many hours of exercise you’ll get in for the day and if you can stay in those size 2 jeans throughout the holidays.

Hey, if that’s what you want, by all means, stay with it but I can promise you’ll look back at some point and wonder what the F you did with your life.

Let me go ahead and shoot it to you straight, at the end of the day, you and I both know trying to control our body fat has nothing to do with our body fat, and everything to do with our self-esteem. Quite candidly, the leaner I became, the more I obsessed it wasn’t enough.

How easy is it to say, “I’m going to lose 10 pounds” and then at that 10-pound mark we decide it’s not enough and we should probably go ahead and drop another 3 and so the insanity continues.

I often question my clients who are absolutely fixated on losing another 5 pounds what that would do.  They often think it will make them happier, feel more confident in their clothes, etc.  and while I hear that, I can promise if we can’t be comfortable with “what is” at the moment, we’ll never be comfortable 5 pounds lighter.

Listen, it’s much easier to fixate on losing that 5 pounds versus learning how to communicate with our husband about our current marriage issues, isn’t it?  Because we think we can CONTROL our food more.

For men, I find their worth is based on how much money they make, their status in society, etc.

For women, it’s all about our body and appearance that matter.  Are we getting attention from our partner?  Nope. Well, let me go ahead and drop more weight to get his attention or that affection from another source.

As women, we can absolutely control what we do with our bodies and we can.  However, we often fail to recognize we can gain that sense of control in other areas of our lives too.

We are ridiculously strong, powerful and more than capable of achieving so much more than low body fat.

So, how do you go from gaining body fat and getting “leaner” in the process?

I’ll tell you how.

You lean out the noise, you trim the drama and you thin out the need for perfection. 

Leaning out the noise means to literally shut off the negative chatter in your head.  Instead of choosing to listen to that little voice inside your brain telling you-you’re not good enough, we instead choose to let the thought go and replace with a new thought.  Remember, the brain automatically enjoys going to the negative place and it takes time and practice to divert, reframe and reframe again.  It’s that 3:1 ratio.  Postive to negative thoughts.  It’s the only way to break the cycle and a 1:1 ratio isn’t going to cut it.

Example:  “I’m Fat.” reframed to: “I’m enough.” “I’m right where I’m supposed to be, even if I’m uncomfortable, I’m doing the best I can.”  “This space is temporary and I will continue to work through it.”

Trimming the drama is literally that.  You trim out the excess drama which no longer serves you.  Maybe that looks like you do what’s in your best interest and choose to trim out those that do not offer any enrichment in your life.  It might look like those from your past that are still obsessive, relentless on discussing how horrible their body looks or someone that might trigger you in some regard.  They say we make up the 5 people we spend the most amount of time with.  Pay attention to that, again ask yourself, are the people I’m choosing to surround myself with helping or harming my self-esteem and positive growth?  We are who we choose to spend time with.

Thinning out the need for perfection is about getting uncomfortable for a minute, especially if you’re someone like I was that constantly felt the need to do more and more thinking that was the way life was meant to be lived.  Logically, we all know perfection doesn’t exist, yet so many of us still feel the pull in that direction.  Why?  It’s another control mechanism and it’s our way of trying to be “just right” and if something is imperfect then that means we’re not good enough.  BS.  We already are good enough, and I find the more pressure we put on ourselves to be above status quo the more we will come up empty-handed and feeling inadequate.  Rather than viewing perfection as the end result, focusing on consistency and doing enough is good enough.  Maybe that means instead of us hitting the EXACT hour mark in our workout routine, we decide 55 minutes is just enough.  I challenge you to get uncomfortable with enough.  It’s okay, you won’t be viewed as lazy, you’ll probably find yourself happier that you don’t stress as much.

In conclusion, we can aim to be super lean on the outside but during the process, we’re definitely headed in the direction of gaining feelings of unworthiness, inadequacy and downright misery on the inside.

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