Monday, December 12, 2005

Precision

I'd like to start off by being horribly self indulgent, and quoting myself, from May.

If I can do 5km in 35 minutes now then if I get a bit faster maybe I can do 5.5km in the same time given time. And then take it from there.

Well, you know what? Today I ran 6k. In just over 33 minutes. It's amazing looking back at those old posts sometimes, it really rubs it in just how far I've come over the past year. Today I realised that I'm actually one of the fittest people I know. That shocked me. A lot. I still need to pinch myself, particularly when people tell me that I just don't look overweight or that I look like I'm a normal weight.

I keep on banging on about this, but it's something I never thought I'd be able to say. That I'm not overweight. That I'm just, well, normal.

Technically I may not be quite there yet. But mentally it feels like I am. This isn't just me copping out by starting to celebrate early, but I kind of feel like building up the next couple of pounds into a really important thing rather than just another couple of pounds on the journey isn't overly helpful.

Not given the fact that none of this is a precise science. I used to avoid scales, for nearly 10 years. But then I started weighing myself pretty much daily, because it was so exciting to keep seeing the numbers go down.

Now, however, the obsession is fading a little, which has to be good. I still weigh every time I go to the gym, but I no longer go to the gym just to weigh. If I fancy a swim or a run in the park then I do that, rather than feeling that I have to go to the gym to see what my weight is.

I'm also realising, as I hinted above, that the number isn't the be all and end all. I know roughly how much weight I've lost, but I'm not so sure that I know exactly and definitively how much I currently weigh.

What I do know is that for my height I'm meant to weigh 12 stone (168lb) to be at the very top of my healthy range. I'm currently weighing in at 12 stone 4 (172lb). But, is that what I actually weigh?

For a start, I weigh in with trainers and gym gear on. I'm not getting naked in the middle of the gym to weigh in. I know that when I weigh in with my trainers off that's pretty much 2lb gone in an instant. (On that I just can't be bothered getting them on and off just to weigh in, when all my historic weights are based on wearing trainers anyway). So that 172 is maybe more like 170, just for starters.

And beyond that, do I know that the gym scales are accurate? They're certainly fairly consistent, but are they actually right? I only use other scales very infrequently, so I don't really know how they compare. I read stories on a fairly regular basis about the despair when a different set of scales add stupid amounts of weight, so do I weigh 172, or 165, or 179, or something in between?

And there's the time of day. I might be 172 when I get to the gym, but I'm certainly not that weight in the evening, for example. Or the day after eating salty food.

So can I ever be definitively said to weigh any particular number? No, not really. I know that I'm not over 18 stone, and I know that I've lost a lot of weight. But I don't genuinely know whether I've hit that magical 24.9 BMI or whether I'm still languishing in the 25s somewhere.

This isn't a whinge about the capriciousness of scales. Far from it, it's just me finally accepting that a number isn't everything. It may not happen before Christmas, but certainly in the new year I expect to pass that 168 figure, even with trainers on. And I'll celebrate a little on that day, and walk round with a smile on my face.

But it won't change anything, and I won't suddenly look all fabulous (or more fabulous than I currently do), just because I've got to a specific number. Why wait til an arbitrarily chosen set of scales tell me I've reached a relatively arbitrary number before starting to act "thin" or "normal"? Why not just try to accept right now, starting today, that I'm there, more or less, and that any minor shortfall is just a minor thing, nothing like on the scale of what I've already done. Instead of spending my Christmas thinking about the 4lb that I might still be short, I want to focus on the 88lb that I've shed.

2 Comments:

Blogger Shauna said...

what a brilliant philosophy you have on all this. i mean, the proof is in the pudding. you look fantastic, you are fit and healthy and sounds like you FEEL fantastic... so that is a better indication than an arbitrary number. three different sets of scales would give you three different numbers, and that of course depends on what you ate for brekkie, hehe. besides, trainers weigh a freakin' tonne :)

2:48 PM  
Blogger SkinnyME said...

Congrats on running 6km in 33min!!! I can only dream of that time right now! :)

YP, I was wondering if you could give me some advice/tips on running. On Sunday I decided that I was once and for all going to start so my goal was to run 1.5 miles. I ran .5 mile then I HAD to stop, I was so out of breath, i took a break for 1 minute and walked fast then I ran the rest of the mile and took a break for 2 mine and ran the rest of it. I was SO out of breath, I felt like I was going to collapse. Did you feel like this when you first started? I know being overweight plays a big part, if i lost more weight i'm sure i wouldn't feel as exhilarated as i did. but i want to keep going, and keep trying. if you have any advice..please let me know!

9:16 PM  

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