Week 119: Reality Can Be Frustrating

Social media, blogs and the like are usually a method for people to show off the highlight reel of their life. When you follow somebody on Instagram or Facebook or just read their blog you usually only see a curated version of things they want to brag about. Sometimes a blog may just be somebody’s woe is me complaints or rants but usually you just get the best of their life.

My goal with my blog is to help people achieve their big goals. If I just talk about the most positive aspects of that process I am doing an incredible disservice to my readers and may actually be hurting instead of helping. So this week’s post isn’t about all the fun, positive parts of my journey. This week is a different message.

Sometimes reality in a fitness journey is frustrating. There are times when this new healthy and fit life doesn’t seem to be going the way I would hope. And that is just reality.

This week I saw the memory of social media of when I achieved my 50 pounds lost milestone just 2 years ago. I shared it and celebrated that I lost 50 pounds in just 100 days. I was super excited and felt unstoppable back then. Every morning I would step on the scale to see just how much weight I lost since the previous day. I would always lose and was just melting away – thus the name Operation Melt.

The fast daily progress during my weight loss journey was amazing. Every day I would hit some new low weight, some new exercise milestone or some other achievement. It felt great and I became pseudo addicted to constant, measurable progress. This is just how my competition-focused brain is wired. Unfortunately that level of daily success is absolutely unsustainable. Fast progress and daily achievements are a thing of the past. And that sucks!

Starting with my weight, which I know is just a number, I am not exactly where I hoped I would be right now. Once I hit my low weight at the end of last year (194) I decided that I was going to maintain in the 189-199 pound range. Unfortunately that has turned out not to be practical for my body. As I started building more muscle mass my lowest practical weight is a little higher than I expected.

My maintenance weight is closer to 200-201 pounds which is still 125 pounds lower than where I started. It is healthy and I am proud of it. But it isn’t where I wanted it. Plus I feel like my weight goes up a pound overnight if I just look at a salt shaker because I am very sodium sensitive from a weight perspective despite consuming over 140 ounces of water per day (a sign that I am at my lowest healthy weight). This is all super normal, it is reality, it is nothing to be frustrated about but that isn’t how my brain is wired.

I logically knew that the weight loss was unsustainable but maybe I wasn’t as emotionally convinced.

As I have talked about many times I became a runner through my weight loss journey and have learned that I love running – I also love long (4+ mile) walks. When I first started running I was predictably slow but I kept getting faster and faster. I got consistently into a 9:00 to 9:30 per mile pace. I was expecting to get to a consistent 9:00 or faster pace for 5k and 10k runs. That has turned out to also not be the case. I am not getting much faster as I am running. There is nothing wrong per se, this is healthy, but that doesn’t feed my hunger for achievement.

Increasing my running speed is going to require a committed effort and it will be slow. When I impatiently try to force myself to get faster the result tends to be pain. Overdoing things in attempt to achieve a quick victory is a recipe for disaster. So much so that I fear that I may have given myself a foot injury, potentially a stress fracture, just a few weeks before my next half marathon.

On top of not speeding up in my runs I have also taken a break from ramping up my weight lifting capacity. I need to focus on correcting some things with my lifting form before going back to ramping up the weight. If I don’t do this I could injure myself and that isn’t what I want. Pausing on ramping up weight to ensure I stay healthy is the smart, safe, right decision but it doesn’t help feed my achievement hunger either.

Through my fitness journey to date my body has changed. I have see a significant increase in muscle size and tone. I have seen a massive decrease in my size. I continue to see my body taking shape and am happy with my progress. But as you can imagine, I tend to focus more on the problem areas that I don’t’ make me as happy. Those are the areas I see by default.

Yes I am happy and proud of my progress. Yes I am living my healthiest life ever. Yes I love where I am. But my love of rapid progress with self improvement still tends to dominate my emotional brain. So that means that reality can be a little frustrating.