Maintenance Part Two: Losing the Leanness

Little recap… I have battled with diet mentality and obesity until I was 31 years old. Over the course of 10 years, I lost 135 lbs. During this time, I also had a child, got my bachelor’s, ran 2 ultramarathons and other race distances, became a personal trainer, got my master’s, and had a mommy makeover. All of this is to say that my life most definitely did not have a dedicated continuation of weight loss during that entire time. There were moments when I had to pause and come back to it. At the end of my 10 years, I stepped on the stage for a bodybuilding competition that had a transformation category. Afterward, I tried to go into maintenance for the first time in my life. Now that you are all caught up here…

Oh, how low my body went… For me at least. If I wanted to, I could have gotten it down lower before my show. But I wasn’t willing to make the sacrifices to go any further than I already had gone. There was a point during the last month leading up to my show that I told my best friend, my husband, and my coach that I wanted them to bring me back here. It was about 6 lb heavier than my show weight. I really liked how I looked, how my clothes looked and it felt like that was supposed to be my body. It was a moment before we really dialed in on my eating so even my lifestyle felt as though it worked well for me.

Side Note: “Ideal Weight, Not Goal Weight” Practice

This is one of those practices that I think honestly was one of the things that I succeeded in this process. Recognizing that point where both my body weight and how I felt about my physical aspects were pleasing to me and my lifestyle at that moment was also something that was pleasing to me.

I recommend reading the other blog that I linked here if you’re trying to set a goal weight for yourself.

But for my story, I still had four more weeks to go and I lost another 6 lbs. Getting as lean as I did was a little intoxicating for me. I was kind of chasing the low. And afterward, it really did take convincing to let go of that low. I had to be convinced that it was okay and helpful for me to start to lose that level of leanness. My three anchors did remind me and that’s what helped the most.

But the truth is here… Show or no show… The low that you get to is not necessarily the low that you’ll be able to keep. Not if you have different practices in your life that you don’t plan to maintain. Quite literally think of the process that you are performing and ask yourself if you are willing to maintain all of those things to maintain your level of leanness.

I was not willing.

This chart shows you my entire journey from prepping before the show to now.

After the show as I began to consume more, I didn’t notice as much of a visual increase as I did with what I saw on the scale (pictures included to help see it all). This was because, for one, my body was becoming hydrated again. And secondly, my body was storing more fuel again in the form of glycogen which is a mixture of carbs and water that is stored away in both your muscles and your liver for energy.

To give you actual numbers for perspective…

  • On June 21st, 2022, I weighed 132.06 lbs and consumed 1150-1250 kcals.
  • On July 3rd, 2022, I weighed 133.6 lbs and consumed 1800-1900 kcals.
  • On July 10th, 2022, I weighed 135.8 lbs and consumed 1800-1900 kcals.
At my leanest & 20 lbs later

I was able to on and off maintain that level until about September 9th with normal ups and downs that correlated with my menstrual cycle. For me, that meant a high twice of 138 lbs. My body would fluctuate 4-5 lbs throughout my cycle.

And then came the surplus. This was talked about with my coach but honestly, I didn’t follow what he guided me through. I was in a weird place… it was like I needed to just “be” for a while.

  • September 21st, 2022 – 138.4; 1800-2500 kcals
  • October 19th, 2022 – 141.8; 2500-3000 kcals
  • November 20th, 2022 – 146; 2500-3000 kcals
  • December 22nd, 2022 – 152; 2500-3000 kcals

Around this time, it really started to hit me. I was up 20 lbs in 6 months. I was beginning to really not be okay with it all and I was coming back around to being willing to be guided again.

Show weight & 20 lbs heavier

The start of maintaining…

  • January 17th, 2023 – 149.8; 1900-2200 kcals
  • February 19th, 2023 – 152.8; 1900-2200 kcals
  • March 20th, 2023 – 149.6; pulled back from tracking and to practice mindful eating
  • April 20th, 2023 – 150.2; 1700-2000
  • May 19th, 2023 – 152.8; 1900-2200 kcals

But then life’s curveball came and this is with weathering the chaos of a cross-country move and my husband’s retirement from the military

  • June 17th, 2023 – 154.6; 1700-2200 kcals
  • July 17th, 2023 – 152.6; 2000-2400 kcals
  • August 18th, 2023 – 155.2; 2100-2500 kcals
  • September 17th, 2023 – 154; 2100-2500 kcals

To read more about what that was like…

Leanness is not the villain. Maintenance and weight gain are not the villains either. They are both part of life whether they are intentional or not.

I set out to finish my weight loss chapter of life with a bodybuilding competition after a lifetime of battling obesity and yo-yo dieting. Then I needed to learn how to simply live. My loss of leanness was just part of it.

And really… I do think that leanness is a part of overall well-being just as much as anything else is. It has its time and place. I think we are just inundated daily with the unhealthy side/amount of leanness by the fitness, celebrity, and diet industry. We end up having different perceptions because we are constantly fighting against it almost but ONLY because of its unhealthy side. We are a bit tainted by its negativity.

Leanness is not necessarily vain… the perception or intent can be vanity-related though.

And the season of growth that followed my leanness was a part of my overall well-being as well. Again, there’s a time and place for everything. As I made my way through this last year of maintenance and growth, I was able to say that I was fully fed. I have become stronger and can do more than I could before. I needed to feel that after feeling the leanness, the push, and the fatigue.

What these seasons have taught me?

There’s a time and place for leanness, being still, and growth.

When the focus is growing, you physically grow to meet the growing challenges and that means things ALL go up. Measurements. Weight. Clothing size. Portion size.

When it is time to focus on leanness, things will change to focus on preserving all that the season of growth has provided while portions get smaller. Clothing sizes get smaller. Weight and measurements get smaller again.

But I think what is more important here is… I have had the chance to really feel what it was like to just live through leanness and growth.

And my perception of optimal health has a different personal definition now.

My Personal Perception of Optimal Health

It is about being able to run, live, dance & move.

Feeling good in my clothes and my skin.

Feeling like food is not dictating decisions but instead is something that compliments situations.

Sleeping well. Laughing more. Loving a lot.

This is now my anchor point that I am using to make my decisions for what is next.

My questions are…

  1. Will it allow me to grow in one of these areas more?
  2. Am I currently finding myself falling away from one of these and I need to course correct more?

The judge and jury to my decisions is no longer the scale.

There will be five more blog in the coming weeks, discussing more of my experience with all of this. And I’m just so appreciative of you getting to this point and coming on this journey with me.

Full Maintenance Series:

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