Relax. This is not my goal though I respect the amount of effort she put forth to look like that.
After completing IronMan Florida I thought: “I can dream the impossible.” I searched for a short term goal while my 2014 triathlon objectives got ironed out (get the bad pun?). I still giggle at what I came up with because it sounds incredulous, challenging, and somewhat controversial: I am going to search for a six pack. As in abs. As in one thing I have never, ever, had in my life.
What I have always had is a hang up about my belly. There is a picture where I am eight years old sitting on a tree wearing a bikini. I hated both the picture and how I looked. From that early on I had body image issues.
In college I flirted with an eating disorder, and I know how serious that is. One of my best friends ended up dying of a heart attack in her early thirties after battling anorexia since our time together in college. I don’t want to go there again. Part of what I proclaim on this blog, and in my life, is that I want to be healthy, and I want to be a healthy example to my kids. I am not sure if for someone with this history having a six pack and being healthy are compatible goals. I am about to find out.
Now, you might be thinking … wait, didn’t you just do an IronMan? Aren’t you fit enough? Yes. I am fit, I am the strongest and fittest I have ever been in my life. I’ve lost some weight and now I feel like an athlete but I want to look like an athlete. I am not saying I don’t like who I am or how I look. I am not feeling pressure from anyone. If I don’t change one thing I will be perfectly happy because it never occurred to me to think that I could look much different than I do; I always thought “not me, never, just not built that way.” For all I know, those statements are true … but I am daring to think “what if they are not?”
Plus, the holidays are coming up and I need something to help me stay on track during them. You see, one of the best parts of training for IronMan is that you could eat copious amounts because of the sheer number of calories you burn. For the last year or so, I did not worry about how much I ate as long as it was generally healthy.
But now I am in the “off season” or in Miami we call it the “running season” and though I will be training for the Miami Marathon, I won’t be burning nearly as much as I have been. I understand that may sound crazy because a marathon is a big endeavor. But coming from training for an IronMan mathematically my calorie burning simply is not the same.
And I don’t want to yo-yo with my weight as I have in the past. Here’s a recap:
Do you see a pattern? I want to break it and stay healthy and continue on this fitness journey now that I reached what I thought was my ultimate goal.
Therefore I asked Gabe, owner of Fitness Together Miami and my sponsor, if he thought someone like me could have a six pack. He looked perplexed mostly because “why wouldn’t someone like you be able to have a six pack?” It’s not so much a question of can you but do you want to? Because it won’t be easy.
He explained certain things about how my strength training would change but that the most crucial part of the equation is nutrition. He designed a diet and training plan for me with my goal over the next few months to be a #SixPackMami.
He also explained that building endurance works against building muscle. As you are out there training for hours on end, your body uses first fat as fuel, but then it turns and “eats” your muscles. So basically it consumes part of what you build. My marathon training might interfere or slow my #SixPackMami goals. Yet I am willing to give it a try.
I want to know what it is like to go for a body image goal. I look forward to learn about myself in the process, and to share that journey with you. Because I am sure I am not the only mom out there who might want to try to have a six pack and so I want to show you what it really takes. It may turn out that this goal has less to do with abs and more to do with acceptance. We shall see.
I’ll post every two weeks and update on the blog, but I will be sharing this experiment more frequently as @TriathlonMami on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can also follow Fitness Together Miami on Twitter and Facebook for updates.
If you want to come along in this process and share accountability, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can think of ways of doing this together.
Either way wish me luck. I’m not sure what I just got myself into but being so publicly accountable will help me stick to what Gabe tells me.
How about you? Have you had issues with your body image and if so, where are you now with it?