I made some notes the other day on my way to training with Tom. I seem to be at my most philosophical whilst sitting on the Northern Line. It may be the limited number of songs my phone will play underground that forces my mind to wander but never the less I came up with some good stuff the other day. Well – it’s good for me.
Firstly – see how a number of us are chasing goals? Goals are good. Agreed. BUT… if your goal is “I want to be a size 8” or “I want to be 15% body fat” or “I want to be 55kg” then hear me out for a minute and think about this. WHY is that your goal? Picture it. You hit your goal weight. You can now wear tiny jeans. What next? How do you feel? What has changed? Will you be exponentially happy when you can’t pinch an inch?
Don’t get me wrong… I’d love to have my abs back but this time I am trying to focus on the journey (gaaaaaaaay) rather than the finish line. Essentially what I mean is this. Actually no, I’m going to use my analogy/metaphor here. Here goes. So my mum climbed to Mount Everest Base Camp a few years ago. When she got back she told us what an achievement it was (OBVS) and she said she couldn’t believe how hard it was and how people must be mad to climb the whole thing. Ok so our starting out on a quest for a healthier life is climbing to base camp. With me? You get to base camp and you think “you know what? let’s step it up a gear – let’s climb to middle camp” (Middle camp doesn’t exist but whatever, camp three or whatever it’s called). Middle camp is pretty cool. There’s showers and life is comfortable with people to hang out with and fun things to do. Middle camp is your daily sweat sessions and your mostly eating good food but with the weekend glass of wine and the sunday pizza and pyjama day. One day you wake up in middle camp and you think “nah – fuck it – let’s go to the summit”. Strap on your oxygen mask and gather up your crampons. It’s time to take this shit really seriously. You’re in pain. You don’t have any wine. You get to the summit and you’re like “hell yes – look at that view! Shit I’m freezing. Get me off this mountain”. The summit is your super low body fat, your counting and weighing every calorie and macro, your lack of nights out, your gym chat 24/7. Living at the summit is really really hard work with it’s benefits of a ripped six pack but it’s negatives of pizza once in a blue moon and probably some obsessive behaviour (I am generalising here – don’t shoot me if you have abs and eat Nutella – we aren’t all that way).
So now you have two options. Throw yourself off the summit and land back at sea level for some serious fat storing and lack of activity – OR – get yourself back down to middle camp for a bit and live a life.
The point I am trying to make is thus: the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Chris says this a lot to me when I moan that I wanna do another Ironman and I don’t feel like an athlete any more. He says “yeah ok but you can train if and when you want, you can lie in, you’re not walking around like a zombie and you have social life”. Humph. Ok fine fair point.
You get to 15% body fat. Now what? When I hit that goal I was nuts. My disordered eating was having a ball. I was scared of nights out in case I couldn’t log the macros from the meal. I lived for cheat days when I could consume entire pizzas and tubs of ice cream only to feel like a total loser for “undoing all my hard work” aka complete bullshit. For me, it was not a long term lifestyle.
We already know it’s nigh on impossible to stay on track 24/7. Shit happens. We smash it some weeks we don’t smash it some months (if you’re me – ha). I read something the other day that has made me think.
Joking aside… I am going on holiday with my family this weekend. My sister is a wine buyer and we are celebrating my mum’s retirement. Now then, here is my train of thought “behave yourself Cat – you can have ONE night of champagne and treats and then it’s training on the beach every day and eating sensibly”… it’s been a few days since I had that mental chat with myself and I am now of THIS opinion “YOLO”. Seriously though. In a few months or a few years time I want to look back and think “shit that was funny when we built a pirate ship and drank rum and ran around being ridiculous when we were nearly 30 (in my case)”. I don’t want to look back and think “goddammit I wish I’d just LIVED a little”.
We have all the time in the world to be ripped with 6 pack abs – I bet a few of you are sitting there thinking “yeah but it’s nearly summer and I wanna be clean eating and HIIT workouting NOW” – and that’s totally fine. My main point is I think we, or rather ME/I, need to enjoy the day to day process. I love being sweaty and smashing a lifting session or getting a PB on my 100m sprints in the pool. I love prosecco. I love pizza. I love my bloke and I love my family (Marion Mac on half a bottle of champers is better than a stand up comedy night at the apollo).
It is so hard to fight the demons sometimes but ultimately it is not a race. Enjoy your training. Enjoy your food. The streets don’t turn to solid gold and the Thames doesn’t flow with champagne when you hit that certain body fat percentage. Get your balance right. Or at least try to.
I have taken a serious 180 on some of my previous blog posts but I swore I would always be honest…. and frankly this is where I’m at. Yes I want to be able to do pull ups. Yes I want to be a little leaner. It will happen because I will work for it but it will be a continuous mission… Not a “OK I’m lean again – I’ve achieved world peace and cured cancer”.