Jump to content

My observation about people struggling


Recommended Posts

  • Whole30 Certified Coach

During my dog-walk-in-the-dark procrastination this morning I've been skimming the older pages of this forum.  I click on the links that are of interest to me - the "why isn't this working?" threads :)  I just randomly clicked on about 4-5 threads from people who sound just like me: crossfitters, triathletes, runners, etc.  We all seem to have minimal weight to lose (10ish lbs - to look more like the athletes we feel like we should look like :) ).  People have posted menus and for the most part they seem "ok".  Usually the responses to the OP are to add more fat, more protein, more starch.  I just find it so curious as to why we all seem to struggle so much.  The OPs always seem to be women too.  

 

Is this some detrimental hormonal milieu that we create by being so obsessed with success?  Is it a calories in/out thing? Do we all see our naturally thin athletic friends eat so much that our sense of a "good" portion is distorted?  I just find it curious that the rules of clean eating --> weight loss just don't seem to apply to this subset of the population.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

hey littleg. Interesting insight. I think it is a lot of things. One, is that these people are usually trying too hard. They want it so bad (it seems SO CLOSE) that the restrict too much (or restrict carbs in particular) and work out too much and their hormones get out of balance or they binge or whatever and weight loss becomes impossible. Also, I think there is a real issue in our society where women who are perfectly healthy believe themselves to be overweight and want to fix that. The "ideal" according to society is actually only healthy for a select sub-set of the population. Others who get this lean run into all sorts of health problems and issues...lost periods, low energy, acne, etc. We need to get more comfortable with a variety of bodies and to understand that all bodies are good and healthy bodies do not all look the same. It's a big shift and it is hard to make but it is so important.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think Mary is right.  Our expectations of perfections are skewed.  I think I have ~10 lbs to lose to fit into the clothes I used to fit into.  Although I keep trying, I am also trying in equal measure to just be happy where I am.  It's hard, but it's better than stressing and obsessing.  I'd rather just eat what tastes good AND makes me feel good and exercise in a way that makes me feel good (running hurts my knees, walking relaxes me - I'll walk).  If that means I never fit into my nice work clothes, that will have to be ok.  They're probably out of style anyway.  I also try to keep it in perspective.  10 lbs means I have a few more outfits to choose from and I feel some pride, I guess, in looking a little better.  It does not make my family happier.  It does not make me a better wife or mother or friend or employee.  It's not enough to cause major health issues.  I have my moments of freaknig out over the scale, of course.  But, I'm working on being very mindful about how I talk to myself and how important I let that 10 lbs become.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I remember when I was a size 2/4 at 5'8" (on a good day) with a butt and was was running a lot, which is to say I still had muscle, curves) I could wear anything I wanted. I worked for a designer and could fit model the Italian samples. I still thought i "just needed to lose five pounds."

Always needing to be smaller is a symptom of a cultural disease. We are taught from day one that no matter what else, we must always be attractive. And we are bombarded constantly with the definition of what "attractive" is.

Athletes are no exception. I think women snowboarders are a great example. These women have worked so hard, they are amazing athletes, the best in the world, but they feel compelled to curl their hair, put on makeup and arrange it just so before competing. Nothing wrong with wanted to put on some makeup, but I always joke that they should get extra credit for getting up an hour before the men.

(I don't blame them. Half of the Olympics coverage is about "hot women of the Olympics," either implicitly or explicitly. Same as any sport or any endeavor women are engaged in.)

I am making no sense. I should sleep. But yeah, of course there is this compulsion to be smaller. Always. I think what I was trying to say yesterday is not to deny that compulsion, that drive but to acknowledge it's power and try to move beyond it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

Maybe we could set up a W30 exchange of nice work clothes. Maybe in accepting our bodies we could gift each other with beautiful things that no longer fit us but fit each other. How cool would that be?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Littleg, I know we have spoken about this frustration in previous posts. But i am glad you started a topic about this. I guess I am in the same boat. I think i eat super healthy even when not doing whole30 and doing the whole30 I can see I have lost some weight but like many crossfitters out there its really not about the numbers of the scale for me and more the tone and amount of fat i would lose, particularly around the stomach area. I have always wondered what the trick is, to having abs because I have tried it all really and still hold fat in that area.  The main thing pple tell you is eat more whole30 carbs, more fat, and I do (i eat enough im certain of this) yet i get to a point where it just stays the same... 

I totally agree with this "grass is greener" outlook we hold, you know we always tell ourselves to be thinner etc and that has a lot with this image we are fed throughout our life. 

But I really have been wondering the same as littleg... there must be something else.. do some people just have cells that hold on to fat more than others? (who has a science degree?!? hehehe) 
I often get frustrated when i see others who eat nothing but processed sugar and unhealthy food but are stick thin, while the smart me realises that they are skinny fat and by no means does skinny mean fit or healthy, a part of me feels annoyed. thing is I realise I am possibly in perfect shape, and fit but I still want to have less fat...
Okay ill stop now. hope i haven't hijacked this thread. hehehe

 perhaps we are all born to be a certain shape... no more than that. 
(dont get me wrong, i love clean eating. i feel healthy, i feel strong so i will keep it up past the whole30 :)

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My husband and I argue about this.  He says that weight is genetic (because you often see families being either larger or smaller).  I say that it is habits that run in families, not genes. His dad is very overweight with bad knees and reflux because he drinks whisky every night and eats huge meals.  My dad is thin and healthy because he eats healthy sized meals of real food and gets some exercise.  If they swapped habits, they'd swap shapes.  My argument to my husband is that he doesn't have to just accept that he'll be overweight and unhealthy like his dad someday and that he can do something about it by following my family habits rather than his family habits. 

 

But, that is the extremes.  I believe there is a wide range within "normal" or healthy shapes.  There are some people who are stick thin and some who will never be.  There are some people who develop muscle easily and some who do not.  People hold onto fat in different places.  I think our challenge as a culture is to accept those variations within ourselves.  I was never stick thin.  Even as a child.  I am just not built to be a stick.  But, that doesn't mean I can't strive to be healthy at a size 6 (what I want) or 8 (what I am).  Just because the people on tv are size 0, doesn't mean that is healthy for me.  I struggle with that but I keep striving to just be happy being healthy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I do think there is somewhat of a genetic opponent. My BIL eats nothing but crap (processed, candy, sweets) and at most he will have a tiny little beer belly. My husband will always have stick thin legs (and my son) but his weight hangs around his waist like a tire.

My husband always says my brother is six weeks from a six-pack and it's true. He seems to easily build muscle in that area. My son's friend's mom could wear cropped t-shirts--belly flat as a board--when her second baby was 2 months old. I will always have a butt. Genes!

That said, just because your dad is heavy doesn't mean you have to be. I think you might tend to hold weight in a certain area (or maintain a flat belly without exercise after having two kids--as the generic chips may fall), that doesn't mean you have no free will in the matter. I also agree with Jen that there is a wide range of healthy body shapes. I'm also constantly trying to reconcile the fact that the bottom of my healthy range is bigger than the impossible ideal I carry in my mind.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think another key component here is oppositional priorities.  We all have goals - especially us athletic types: we want to be leaner, faster, stronger and have more endurance.  BUT, to accomplish each of those goals requires different actions and the actions required for one goal may work in opposition to another. For example:  We want to be leaner. Generally, that tends to mean less starchy veggies and more protein and fat. BUT, cutting back on those starchies will make us slower in the gym and tank our endurance (especially CrossFit and distance running).  I think we need to identify our top priority and work toward that until we accomplish it, accepting the imperfections in the other goals along the way. Many paleo athletes make the lifestyle sound like a magic bullet - the perfect recipe for muscle building, fat burning and endurance - but unfortunately, they're also selling some ocean-front property in Arizona.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree we try too hard. I think we as a gender can be a little unrealistic with how we look. We see the crossfit and fitness models, women on TV, women in magazines, and want to look like them. But not all of us are built like that, and even some of them have to try really, really hard. When I was in my 20's, I was an aspiring figure competitor, and would eat 1700 calories a day when dieting. My mentor cut my calories to 1200 a day and my fat to next to nothing so I could get to that unrealistic body fat percentage, because that's what they all did (or it seemed like they all did that). That was the beginning of my metabolism damage. I think we all have to remember that our bodies might not want to be at such a low body fat, and to push it there isn't always the healthiest thing.

 

I think it's hard for some of us to find balance - I know for me, I'm either restricting or going hog wild, even on Whole30. I spent the 7 months leading up to my Whole30 repairing my metabolism and eating above my calorie requirements (but 90% Paleo and 100% real food, no processed), so I got to my Whole30 and I had a really hard time eating proper portions. I always make sure I have enough protein and ate a good amount of veggies but I know I am eating too much healthy fat. I originally did Whole30 to try and lose weight because I am terrified to go back to cutting calories and damaging my metabolism again, so I am trying another Whole30 and really going to try to eat to the template this time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Other's have touched on it here already, but I think the idea that Whole30 is about obtaining optimum health should be revisited.  This is something I mentally struggle with all the time.

 

If I do a 'perfect' Whole30, I no longer lose weight.  Why?  Because my current body composition IS healthy and I already eat Whole30-90 (meaning my inflammation is low).  I'm fit.  My body fat is in the normal to low range.  All my blood work is phenomenal and my body works on Whole30 like my car does when I feed it premium gas.  The thing is - I want more.  Robin hit on it above but the bottom line is that if I want to be leaner than what is natural or optimum for my body, I'll need to step outside the 'normal' box in terms of effort.  I want this so that I look good/better...but I also want this so that I'm a faster triathlete.  To get there, I have to be willing to do the things that are not comfortable.  I'm going to have to track my food.  I'm going to have to give up my best performance for awhile.  I'm going to have to be hungry a little more than usual. Am I going to have to 'destroy' my metabolism?  No.  Am I going to have to give up all fat and eat nothing but grilled chicken breast and steamed veggies?  No.  But Whole30 as it's written is not designed to get me to where I want to go so I have to be willing to accept that and make my decision with my eyes wide open.

 

I think this is hard to accept for a lot of women (in particular) because we often see the men get so lean and cut by just doing Whole30 (my husband is no exception!).  It's not fair, but it is what it is...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 if I want to be leaner than what is natural or optimum for my body, I'll need to step outside the 'normal' box in terms of effort.  I want this so that I look good/better...

 

GLC...so much of what you write is right on, I think, but this statement is kind of blowing my mind right now. Being leaner than what is natural or optimum for your body doesn't necessarily look better. I guess it isn't my place to tell you not to have that goal, and I get that athletic performance is at play here too, but ladies listen to me: HEALTHY LOOKS GREAT! It may not look like the media tells us we should look, but it makes me sad to see someone consciously come out and state the fact that they think being leaner than what is optimally healthy for their body "looks better" or is the only way to "look good". Really sad.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Miss Mary - I totally agree!

 

I should have prefaced my statement by "what I think looks best" on me.  I carry all my weight in my lower body, so until I get leaner than 'normal', I still look over-weight.  It's a very fine line to walk and really....if I lived in a world where floor length hoop skirts were still all the rage, I probably wouldn't care so much. ;)

 

The 'fine line' for me is about balancing looking fit on the bottom with looking too lean on the top...so I totally get what you are saying.  Oftentimes it's simply that we all need to learn to love ourselves for who we are and how mother nature intended us to be!  And really, most of the time, that's the biggest challenge of all.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Miss Mary, I love everything you have to say on this topic. So spot on.

The hardest thing for me is divorcing my particular aesthetic from ideas of health. I grew up wanting to be a ballet dancer, and I still look up to professional ballerinas as some of the most beautiful athletes in the world. It's easy to decide that because I find a body shape to be most attractive, it's also "most healthy"--and that's just not the case.

It's So. Hard. to make that mental shift, especially when the message out there in the culture is "thinness = health."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...