Monday, May 7, 2012

weight matters ...

Being overweight has scarred me.

In ways larger than the stretch marks and loose skin.

Being overweight, and then losing weight, has forever placed fear in my heart that all my hard work will stop working and I will be overweight again.

I am constantly scared that when the number on the scale starts creeping up that it's not going to stop. That someday I am going to wake up, and without even realizing it, the scale is going to flash 220lbs back at me and I will once again be at my start point.

I know, deep down, that this is an irrational fear. But it's a fear nonetheless.

I know that I train my butt off and it's only making me stronger.

I know that my diet is mostly on point. It's minimally processed and full of whole foods.

I know that I make most things from scratch and I record EVERY SINGLE calorie that crosses my lips. I'm aware of what's going in and I know how much I am burning off. 

I know that muscle is more dense than fat and I know all my clothes fit just fine.

I know that weight is just a number and that it's not the best indication of health or fitness.

But I also know that I've gained 6 pounds since beginning my half Ironman training in December and it bothers me like nothing else.

I know that my height-to-weight ratio is in line with a MALE triathlete, not a female triathlete.

I know that when I run next to many of my endurance athlete friends, I have to carry around 40-50% more body weight with each and every step.

I know that a runner can gain a 1% increase in speed for every 1% reduction in body fat.

I know that when it comes to endurance sports, weight matters.

And that's why I struggle.

Not because I want to be rail thin or because I want to flaunt a six-pack (although that would be nice), but because I want to me the most competitive athlete I can be. And my efforts to fight that number on the scale are coming up short, regardless of how hard I work.

Perhaps I should just throw the scale out the window. Just stop fighting all together. But not knowing what I weigh is almost as scary as watching the number creep up.

It's a battle I fight daily.

One that keeps those scars from healing.

32 comments:

Mustang said...

Word.

anotherrunningmom.com said...

I can totally relate! Though I'm not quite where you are as far as weight or fitness, but i am getting there. However, when people ask me why I keep running so much or why my gym routine is so intense I tell them, "I live in fear of becoming that fat girl again." I'm not even entirely sure how to tame the fat girl fear because I am a repeat offender. It's different for me this time though because now I've learned that I can maintain but still that scares me because I do have more to lose and bigger goals I want to achieve.

Anyway, congrats to you on all your hard work. You inspire so many (including me)!!

Canuck Mom said...

I understand. My recent injury has that stuck in my head. I usually do not step on the scale, but with the injury I am because I fear my drop in cardio will cause more weight to creep back up. It sucks. This whole mental thing sucks.

Erika said...

I completely understand where you are coming from. I am about 50 pounds down from my heaviest and I still fear every day that something will happen and the weight will come back. I tend to even panic when I take a day off that I shouldnt' eat anything because I'm not "working it off". It's amazing how it plays games with your head, even years after... Thank you for posting this! you are amazing!

Karen said...

This. Exactly. I am average height / weight but I feel like I could definitely get closer to a "racing weight" and feel more competitive or more like I belong in that group of endurance athletes. It seems wrong to feel this way but there is a certain amount of fear that you will go back to where you came before the journey started.

Trish said...

I was injured over the last year and barely ran all winter, it's only been in the last month that I've been running....a whopping 10 miles per week now. But I'm building. Actually, I had a bit of running depression and gained back 17 of the pounds I had lost. 9 of them are gone again, but even before I felt like I had 10 more to go for racing purposes. Every one else thought I was crazy, but based on body fat, race times, and that I could feel a roll still around my waist, I knew I could lose it. I will eventually and be a speed demon! Point is, when you've been the fat girl, it scares the crap out of you to be the fat girl again. Sometimes, as hard as I work to lose that weight, which still would leave me weighing more than many athletes my height, I wonder if it's even possible for me to do that.

Lisa said...

I am so sorry you have to go through that. I wish that when you are where you are physically (a finely tuned athlete) you could just throw away the scale and go by feel. But I know it is not as simple as that.

Colleen said...

I fight the same battle Tonia. And it's a horrible fight to have to put up. I wish there was something that I could say or do to make you understand how amazing you are, but I know that if you are like me, those compliments often time fall on deaf ears. Keep plugging away... you are doing EVERYTHING right!xo

Run with Jess said...

I'm so with you on this one... and can completely relate to every word of this post. Coincidentally, my starting weight was 220 also!

Alili said...

Yes. I was at my heaviest (non pregnancy related) weight when I was training for my Half IM. Drove me crazy...then I had a kid and discovered a new heaviest. Now I'm adding another one...I refuse to let the trend continue.

Marnee said...

Thanks for sharing this, Obviously there are a lot who can relate, I myself am one. In fact I just had a major break through from this lie that I will eventually be back there a couple of weekends at the Eugene Half. I love being able to say I am NOT that overweight, out of shape mom I once was! I am a rockstar and I am ready to kick some A$$!

Keep up the training, you are an amazing athlete!!!

Shellyrm ~ just a country runner said...

Your frustration really comes across in this post. While I can understand the mental issues surrounding weight, I know from experience that for many people who are at a healthy weight those srtuggles stem from control. You are an amazing athlete. You are built like an athlete, a strong and powerful one. So you might never be rail thin. Me neither. We were not put together that way. Not if we want to continue to be strong.
Everytime I see my race photos and think, "Yuck! Look at my soft middle, thick thights, weak arms..." I look around at all those runners who just did the same challenging course I did only they did it faster than me. Yes there are a few who are lean and muscled but the majority of them are people who you'd never think could run 5 miles let alone 50. In that I am reminded that God doesn't use the same wrapping paper on His gifts.

Kurt @ Becoming An Ironman said...

I would support the throwing of the scale out the window. I might suggest opening said window first though. No need to break the window; just the scale.

With that said, I understand where you're coming from and how hard you've worked to get to where you are and maintain yourself ever since. But you have become such a fitness and health nut inside and out that I would nearly bet my life savings that you would never slip that badly even without a scale or calorie counting.

Ricole said...

Oh man I totally relate to this. I am in constant struggle with my weight and really would like to lose 10 more pounds simply for race reasons - I think I could be much closer to an ideal racing weight (and more competitive) if I lost a bit more. But it's SO hard. You are amazing for all you have already accomplished!

Katie said...

Totally relate as well. I really want to get my weight down more. To most people, I probably am a good weight, but on each run, I am reminded that I would be faster, reduce my chance of injury if I could just lose about ten more pounds (lost 20 3 years ago when I started running). I am not a calorie counter, but I have kept a meal log, weighed myself every AM, etc just to try to get my weight down. And it does add more stress in some ways than it is worth.

carrie said...

So True! I am 75 pounds lighter than my heaviest and I still worry that it will come back. I am afraid to buy new clothes (proper fitting clothes I might add) because the minute I do and get rid of the "fat clothes" my weight will come back. The only clothes that fit me right are my running clothes. I know EXACTLY how you feel!

MCM Mama said...

I'll admit I've never been really big except for while pregnant and a short time after, but I can let 15 pounds slide on easily if I'm not careful. I so understand where you are coming from. Even when all my clothes fit great, if the scale is creeping up, I worry.

FWIW, you looked awesome when I saw you. Try to rely on both the clothes and the scale and I'm sure you'll find that you are doing great. {{HUGS}} for the stress it causes though.

Paige (The Last Doughnut) said...

I could have written the exact words. You are definitely not alone!

Kortni said...

Your post hits home as I have been struggling with my weight...most in my mind. Hate it! Just know that you look amazing and are such an incredible athlete who inspire so many....especially those three sweet girls!

mrs.monica @ RTP_inHeels said...

I'm a recovering eating-disorder sufferer so I struggle with body distortion issues everyday. I always have fear it will come back and I'll lose control. I completely understand the situation.

Stephanie Anne said...

Totally understand. I'm at a constant struggle to stay disciplined & on track. I don't only want to lose it to feel & look better, but to be a better athlete.

Elizabeth said...

after recently losing 7 lbs and going on a wine and food binge in Cali last week-i refuse to get on the scale. for at least 3 weeks. but i fear (and know) the same things you do. i need to lose more to be competitive- and a 6 pack would rock. i need to be better about tracking my calories. but i hate doing it.

Penny said...

I to totally get where your coming from. My heavest was 250 and I never want to see that again. Just when I'm doing good I always think I finally figured out how to keep the weight off, crap hits the fan and I go back into old eating patterns. Everyday is a struggle, but know this your not a lone. THANK FOR PUTTING IT OUT THERE, BECAUSE THEIR IS A LOT OF US THAT ARE FEELING THE SAME WAY YOU DO.

Caroline said...

I agree with you it does matter. I think for people who have lost a significant amount of weight it matters even more because We have been there..to the dark side of weight. I used to be a size 16-18 and now I am size 6. I have been THERE. I get what you say 110%. The number on the scale can plau trick on us...the getting muscles part..it weighs more than the fat we lost..it would be easier if it was the other was around..right?!

H Love said...

Sweet girl...be kind to yourself. You do so much to be healthy...the list is long. Don't let fear hold you back and consume your time or energy. You have so many other places that you can put the energy. Fear is normal I know but can feel like a ball and chain! (I know!) Praying that you just keep doing what you are doing and the rest will fall into place.

fancy nancy said...

I couldn't have written this better myself!! You have described what I have been struggling with for so long and now that I am pregnant it is this irrational fear of gaining weight. Like a truck that I can't stop! You are in AMAZING shape Tonia! Thank you for this honest post!

Jessica (Pace of Me) said...

my gosh, it's so unfair that we have to live in this sort of prison in our minds because of numbers on a scale. i was never over 200 pounds, but my weight has fluctuated a lot in my life and i have been 25 pounds heavier than i should be (this doesn't include during/post pregnancy) a few times in my life. those were very unhappy times. for me weight gain has coincided with depression - not loving myself or caring properly for myself. the numbers on the scale don't "rule" me so much like they used to, but when they start creeping up i freak out too. this past year since having baby gus, i have been doing weight training at the gym twice a week. after i lost all the baby weight my numbers on the scale were changing - going up again. but they take my body fat percentage once every few months and that has gone down by 6% in the last year. that number has really helped me a LOT - because it shows me that i am getting stronger and leaner, not "heavier." and my running has improved so much too. i don't think i will ever throw out my scale, but i don't want to be a slave to it either.
you are so beautiful and strong - inside and out. if you ever need anyone to shout that from the rooftops, i'm your gal. you inspire and amaze me daily and i am so proud to call you my friend!!

Jason said...

The HoneyBadger in you will not allow that 220 to rear its head again for that I am not concerned.

The concern would come from trying to get down weight so hard and fast that you do more damage than good to yourself but again you are too smart to allow that to happen.

You work very hard at your craft and it shows. Keep up the great work.

Lindsay said...

Hi Tonia! HTC Teammate here.

I am so glad to read this post because I'm struggling with some of the same things. I have never tipped the scale that far, but juggling Type 1 Diabetes and Hypothyroidism led to easy weight gain and very difficult weight loss.

Since the beginning of the year, I've been training more than ever before, and I've gained 7 lbs. It's such a struggle.

I can't wait to meet you in August. Stay strong!

Jess @ Blonde Ponytail said...

I was nodding throughout this post. I am "dense" too and know the formula for endurance training as well.

Maintain that Honey Badger-ness and NOTHING will stop you T!

Thanks for being so honest!

Eisparklz said...

Once again, I'm grateful that you're willing to post about this stuff. I'd lost 40 lbs after giving up on hormone therapy, and then I started crossfit. I love absolutely everything about it, and I've actually become a faster runner, but I'm now up 10 lbs (not 8 or 9) in the three months since I started. Even though my measurements are better, my clothes fit well, and I'm stronger and more toned than I've ever been, I'm now back to "obese" on the BMI scale, and that pisses me off - especially when I'm eating right and taking care of myself. My hubs and i talked about it this weekend, and I've decided I'm not going to weigh myself anymore. The number clearly has no relationship to my health, and definitely does not define me.

Smart said...

I should have been based on all of those calculations for determining your metabolic rate. I was adding in for my workouts. And subtracting out 500 calories per day to create a deficit. I worked out more. I worked out less. I tweaked the numbers up slightly and then back down. Nothing worked. View news