At my lowest weight 8 years ago, I was 147 pounds and size 6. I was 26. I have not weighed less than 160 since junior high. During a different conversation, I told my best friend about my weight and she was surprised. We didn’t talk too much more about it. I suspected her surprise came from the fact a lot of women think they are “fat” at 147 pounds.
Like a lot of women when I see models, celebrities , and other fit women I can get caught up comparing myself. But my profession (and rational mind) quickly reminds me that there are several ways to achieve your ideal body- healthy or not. And your ideal body may not be the same as the woman standing next to you.
The fact I’m a female personal trainer comes the added pressure of having the “perfect body,” “ripped abs,” or “flawless eating habits.” It’s a stereotype that is like a ton-of-bricks on your shoulders. Absolutely, there are those men and women who devote hard work and time to being very lean and ripped. I do respect that. After being 147 I know what that “look” requires. (I will write more about what is required in a later post.)
I looked amazing (if I do say so myself) when I was 147. I had the advantage of starting with more muscle than a lot of women, so I started at 175ish and I’m 5’8. I achieved this 28 pound weight loss in about 12 weeks to enter my first figure competition. That was pretty reasonable weight loss progression. But what my body experienced at this weight wasn’t worth it.
I was 147 pounds and under well-under 16% body fat when I stepped on stage dehydrated. (In effort to show off your physique you have to cut water before stepping on stage.) I also hadn’t had a menstrual cycle in about 8 weeks. When I finished the long competition day all I wanted to do was eat and go to sleep. The admiration of family, friends, and clients kept me going during competition prep. But I didn’t have the energy to celebrate this journey.
I’m not writing this discourage weight loss, but to offer the process some perspective. A healthy goal weight for me wont be the same for you. I come from a long line of tall, athletic family members. I am a “foodie,” “food snob,” “kitchen nerd,” “food artist” (not to be confused with sandwich artist). For me dry broccoli and chicken 3-6 times a day for the rest of my life would be the equivalent to waterboarding. So some extra quality calories and being hydrated will keep me around 160-170. This makes me around size 10, because my thigh muscles require it.
I workout 5 days a week, because the benefits outweigh the cost of not being fit. I’m proud to say I can leg press 500lbs, run 3 miles a couple of times a week without dying, and I help teach others how they can be proud of their fitness too.
I’m still working on pull ups. I hate pull ups.
My 160-170 might be your nightmare. My weight might be your goal weight. But my best is different from your best. A healthy YOU is what matters. If you strive for good health, a reasonable weight is a side effect. If you want to be “ripped” by all means go for it. I know what it takes. I’m just not the healthiest, happiest, best version of myself when I’m there.