In January, after I got home from Africa, I set out a list of goals for myself that ranged everywhere from clean eating to submitting essays for publication to saving money to continuing to say no to things that don’t advance my work, training, writing and relationships. One of my goals also had to do with weight. Last year, I lost about twenty pounds without really trying. I still see a layer of fat around my mid-section that I want to get rid of, so I set a weight loss goal. If I lost weight without trying, what would happen if I focused, at least in part, on weight loss as the goal? Towards that end, I signed up for a 12-week program at my gym that is part testing, part nutrition education and part cheerleading. This is the first week.
In the testing phase, I have learned that I have 30% body fat right now. That’s high. It’s not terrible, but it’s higher than it should be for someone of my size, and I think it’s higher than it should be for someone of my fitness level. I’m aiming for 24% body fat when my program is done.
I started to get really bummed by the 30% number, but I controlled what had the potential to turn into a spiral mind f*ck. It occurred to me that, of all the testing I did, my body fat percentage was the only number that triggered an alarm for the tester. Everything else, including cholesterol, blood pressure, strength, flexibility, and a host of other things that I don’t fully understand, was well within the normal ranges. Some were even quite low. I’m healthy and strong, but a bit on the fatty side. I knew that. This number is a bummer, but things could be much worse, and the number gives me assurance that I wasn’t making up fat in my head or being unfairly harsh on my body. People tell me I look great, and I feel really good about where I am, but I think I can get rid of that mid-section lard that I don’t love. This number tells me that I really do have room for improvement. So now I’m working towards a plan.