How long does it take?

As you can probably tell, I enjoy reading the blogs of other people who are focused on their fitness goals. Typically I have found these blogs on Body for Life related websites. I stumbled across Tai-Kee’s (Aileen’s) Blog today. She has made great progress doing Body for Life; you can see her progress here.  However, she is sounding pretty glum today about her progress and how far she has yet to go to reach her goals especially when transformations seem to come so much more quickly to other people.

For the most part, I have come to accept that, given that I’m an endomorphic-mesomorph (you can take the body type quiz here), my progress will be slow compared to pure mesomorphs or ecto-mesomorph types. Am I jealous that other ladies out there can build muscle & lose fat so much more easily that I can, you bet. But I am building muscle slowly & steadily, I just know that it will take me a much longer time to reach my goals.

One reason that I  am doing this third 12 week challenge cycle as maintenance is to focus on those things that are good about my body. What can my body do? I am stronger than I have ever been in my life. It’s a great feeling. I can run far further and faster than I ever imagined. Right now I am exploring just how far and how fast I can go. So much of this is mental. Until a few months ago, I did not think that I could run 6 miles and therefore I could not. I do not think that I want to see whether I can run as far as Julie who is training for a 100 mile run but I am working to remove the mental barriers.

I think that after this cycle I will be ready to do another leaning out cycle to lose the last of the cellulite & reveal my abs. But I really needed a break from the continuous focus on what was wrong with my body & what needed improvement. Frankly I also needed a break from needing to buy new jeans every 4-6 weeks as well. Do you ever hit a point where you are completely satisfied or will you always look in the mirror and see improvements you want to make? How long does it take before you look in the mirror and are simply pleased?

3 comments on “How long does it take?
  1. Kyra says:

    Hey Cathy!
    Maybe looking in the mirror isn’t about being pleased. You should be pleased before you ever look. Looking in the mirror is simply about “looking”. Observing, noting, and then going on. Just another 2 dimesnional image to consider and discard.
    If you aren’t pleased with yourself, it has very little to do with what you see in the mirror. Likely, focusing on what displeases you about your body is a way of shifting your attention from something you feel you have no control over that is bugging you, to something you feel you can or at least SHOULD be able to control.
    Our bodies are safe targets. We think we have control over them – at least more than anyone else. And if it gets out of control no one is more affected by it than you. It’s easy to be angry at ourselves, it’s a lot harder to turn it outward towards the real issue that has more complex variables.
    I don’t think peace comes from a certain look we achieve. It’s something we feel one day when we walk outside in the sunshine, take a deep breath and realize that we are ok. No matter where we are with ourselves. And THAT is when you will look into the mirror and be pleased, because it has nothig to do with the reflection – just you, just as it always did.

  2. Cathy says:

    Thanks Kyra
    I agree 100% on the self-happiness/self-acceptance thing. That said, I’m of course for continually striving to improve, it’s the basis of my whole ‘works in progress’ worldview.
    In this post though I was thinking more about body image. Just pondering today really. I see so many women who have made amazing transformations but are so caught in where they want to go that they can’t celebrate how far they have already come. I’m finally at a healthy weight & body fat percentage. I could still easily lose another 10 lbs of fat and still be at a healthy weight & healthy body fat percentage for my height (but I’d be pushing the low end). If I got there would I still be thinking oh just another % of body fat? just another pound? What separates us from the anorexics who look in the mirror and see something completely different than what others see looking at them? What compels some people to goto extreme lengths to alter & control their appearance (think Michael Jackson) while others are happy in their own skin? For me, while I appreciate the cosmetic changes BFL has made to my body, my primary goal was health. I was getting far to many aches & pains with my sedentary lifestyle for my age. I did not want to develop diabetes, macular degeneration or heart disease as I got older. I knew that if I didn’t change that all of these were likely in my future.
    You had a great post a while back on the Body for Life Women’s board about focusing more on the process and less on the end goal. I think it is an important distinction. It’s so easy to get caught in the goal (just one more pound, one more mile, one more % of body fat) and lose sight the process of healthy eating, daily exercise, & how good the process makes you feel.

  3. Julie says:

    Hi Cathy!
    You state ‘so much of it is mental’. I couldn’t agree more. Once I remove the mental barriers such as “I can’t run a marathon, I can’t run an ultra, I can’t run a 100 mile race…” and replace those thoughts with “I can run a marathon, I can run an ultra, I can run a 100 mile race … ” the barriers fall and I can do whatever I set my mind upon.
    As you run your first marathon it will be the mental thoughts that will cause negativity during that race. You may find yourself saying things like “I can’t finish this. This is too hard. I’m not a runner. This is dumb. I’m never doing this again..” then you will change that thought process to “I can do this! I am doing this! I am running a freeking marathon because I am Cathy and I am STRONG! I have trained for THIS…” So much of it is mental.
    By changing out thought process we can change our perception and change our reality!