Two nights ago, I had my first "Fatmare". I dreamed that I was working with a personal trainer. He was young, blond, handsome, and fit, and I knew that he was going to find me... unfit.
That's right, unfit physically and unfit to be a trainer myself. I remember thinking in the dream, "I mustn't let him know that I don't believe traditional cardio is effective, and I certainly mustn't let him know that I eat free range eggs, butter from grass fed cows, and extra virgin coconut oil, and I certainly can't let him know that I avoid sugar and wheat."
What did this handsome blond trainer do? He looked me in the eye and seemed to say, "I know you're keeping secrets from me." But what he really said was, "We need to get you on the scale."
Right. On the scale. "Alright ." I thought. I knew this was going to happen eventually- that I'd finally have to get on a scale again with a witness, and not a compassionate witness, but someone who was there to judge and who couldn't wait to tell me that my methods were wrong.
Brief digression, have you ever heard the theory that everyone in your dreams is you? I guess that would explain the feeling of judgement I was getting from Blondie in my dream wouldn't it? Try this theory out with your next dream and see what you discover.
At any rate, I climbed up on the old fashioned doctor's scale, and the little metal counterweight moved slowly and inexorably over to:
Now, I'm 5'1, and 172 is the weight where I initially stalled after I gave birth to my son Colin. All of the work that I did over the course of seven long years to get to a normal healthy weight was wiped out in one moment in that dream. What a horrible nightmare.
Then I woke up. Wow, what a relief to discover the the 2 and the 7 had switched back, and that I was back at 127 not 172. 127 is significant number because although it's healthy and I can fit into all of my clothes, it's still not where I want to be. In February of last year, I briefly weighed 118 and I felt fantastic, and my fantasy weight in all honesty is 109. What I realized when I woke up from the dream of 172 is that I've been taking my actual weight for granted.
A few months ago, I wrote a blog post about escaping the Fat Trap. That post was a response to Tara Parker Pope's article in the New york Times that discussed at length the severe difficulties people face in maintaining weight loss. Here is a link to that article:
It is experiences like Tara's, (in spite of being the Times' health blogger and gaining fat loss knowledge all the time she is still 60 pounds overweight, and she is completely candid about this) that make me realize how grateful I should be for the fat loss I have maintained since 2008.
I believe that one of the reasons that women in particular have so much double maintaining fat loss is that our real successes are rarely enough to get us to our fantasy weights. Because the fashion ideal today is based upon the body of a very slender adolescent female, the ideal is almost impossible to achieve without resorting to extreme dieting- or maybe building a time machine. Men do not have to become skin and bones to get to the right size, so they can happily go on to a maintenance eating plan while we, or at least I, keep chasing a size zero ideal.
This post to Style List from Franca Sozzani about her Harvard speech is enlightening on the subject of the perils of our current fashion ideals.
So what do I do now that I'm awake?
It's time to be grateful for how far I've come, and to use that gratitude to make me a better trainer and coach. I have to remember that we transform our bodies one day, one step, one positive action at a time. It makes no sense to fret over a fantasy number on the scale, of a nightmare number for that matter, when I can't do anything about the last five fantasy pounds until I address the first five right in front of me.
Better still, and I tell this to my clients, is to address the next inch. I read recently that on an average 5'4" woman the loss of 2 inches around the waist without a scale change means that she has exchanged 6 pounds of fat for muscle. Now that's what I call a fair trade!
So now it's time to take my own advice and address the next inch by doing the Turbulence Training Big Five plan for the next four weeks, abstaining from my trigger foods, and giving my self a break every once in awhile. We all deserve a break from self criticism- asleep or awake.