Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Weight Dilemma

I have struggled with my weight for the past 10 years. I went through a difficult time and like so many people I used food to comfort myself. At my fattest I weighed 143 lbs. For someone that is 5'2" with very little by way of muscles, that is a lot. It is funny how a photograph can motivate you. When I looked at the photographs from my sisters wedding I was horrified. I started working on it immediately. It took me around 6 months but I dropped back down to 111. Fast forward to our move to North Carolina. Once we moved here I started eating more bad food because it was easy and fell out of a work out routine and then gained weight. Thankfully, I stopped it before it got anywhere close to what it was before. Now I am at Crossfit and gaining way more muscle than I have ever had before. I am not really sure what kind of comparison you can make between Romanian dead lifts and the regular dead lifts we do. I can tell you this, my one rep max for a dead lift as of yesterday is 173lbs. The most I could do of the Romanian dead lift when I was in Tallahassee, was 55lbs. Now here comes the question: What should be my target weight? I know I will or should weigh more because I want to be strong like Sarah and Mandy.


  1. Bea:

    I’d just HATE to be the one to burst your weight loss planning bubble…but not really ;). I think I’ve talked to you about this before, but I’m going to go ahead and say it again. There is no “ideal” body type in the world—especially not in CrossFit.

    When I first started CrossFit back in February, I was obsessively combing through the forums, blogs, and journal articles trying to settle long-standing CrossFit debate: “Paleo or Zone?” I ran across a question posted on one of the discussion boards that was the exact same as all the other questions. It went a little something like this:

    “Hi, my name is Bob Tom. I am 5’ 6”, and I weigh 140 pounds. I eat X, Y, and Z on a daily basis. What is my ideal weight at this size and what do I need to do to get there?” The responses seemed to all be the same at first too, “Oh you DEFINITELY need to gain weight—try the Paleo diet!” Or, “the Zone diet would be PERFECT for you. Trust me—I would know.” And even the occasionally absolutely retarded response was present, “Listen. You should eat nothing but watermelon and toothpaste for the next 5 weeks. That should get you to your ideal weight.” And then…there it was….a response that forever changed my outlook on CrossFitting and my body. This guy wrote something along the lines of:

    “There is no “ideal” body type. If you want to know what your body SHOULD look like, when you hit a sub-3 minute Fran…look at yourself. You’re probably pretty damn close to what you are SUPPOSED to look like at that point.”


    It was a sad, sad day in the life of Mandy when I came to terms with the fact that I’m never going to look like Adriana Lima or Eva Mendes or any of the hundreds of examples that we are bombarded with on a daily basis of what is beautiful or attractive to look like as a woman. But, it was a significantly cooler day when I realized that my goals were more badass than that. I want to be strong and fit, and I want my body to look whatever it is going to look like when I’m happy with my performance in my workouts.

    SO—Bea, you aren’t SUPPOSED to weigh 99 pounds or 170 pounds. Your “ideal” weight is probably somewhere in between. And when you hit all of the PERFORMANCE goals that you have, I’m guessing that’s exactly where you’ll be. Feed your body what it needs to perform, and keep working your ass off everyday. You will get where you want to be.

    As for me-- I’m excited to see what my body will look like when I’ve reached all of my performance goals…but I’m more excited to hit a 3-minute Fran. ;)


  2. I am painfully aware that I am never going to have the super modle body. For one thing I am short. It is just that I use to know where I was happy at stopping. I have no clue any more. I want to bulk up ;). I was thin but kind of wimpy. I know I don't want that again. The problem is that it is hard to get in the mind frame of not caring about the scale. I guess I think if I had a number that it would be a good way of knowing when to stop feeling gross about oneself. I am aleady happy about the progress I have made in my strength developement. Maybe it is just the issue of being a girl. You never feel comfortable in a bathing suite. It really is not something I thought anyone could answer. It is more a question resulting from yesterdays body weight WOD. I was told by another girl, who has a down right amazing body, how much she weighed. It was no where close to what I would have guessed. Which brought to mind the muscle ways more than fat thing. That led to more of an "Oh crap, what should I weigh then?" I think I have been aimimng for something I do not want: skinny but wimpy. So what should the lean, mean, bad ass Bea be? I have no clue.

  3. Bea,

    I'm glad you posted this and while I completely agree with everything that Mandy said (I actually read the exact Q&A she mentions while doing the same neurotic diet search), I know exactly how you feel and am struggling with the same issues myself. Last Monday I went to the doctor and weighed in at 138 (137 on my home scale). I am 5'5". That's the most I have ever weighed in my life. In fact, I've been gaining weight pretty steadily over the past few months. It's been actually kind of scary, like every time I got on the scale I weighed more. To be honest, Jack and I have been eating terrible. Lots of pizza and beer and wine. We would say we were doing the zone but only a few days a week or only the first half of the day. Still, it seemed odd that I was suddenly gaining weight so frequently especially since we were being pretty good about working out. I can only hope that some of it was muscle gain. Anyways, after I left the doctor's office on Monday I decided to get serious about the Zone before things got out of control. I've been on the zone since last Monday and in the first week I lost 5 pounds (I'm now at 132 on my home scale) but I'm sticking there pretty steady. That tells me that the first five pounds were definitely not supposed to be there, but I don't know how much more I need to lose. In my "skinny days" I always felt best between 118-122, but I didn't have much muscle and I don't really want to be skinny anymore, I want to be fit and toned. I used to say I didn't care what the scale said as long as I could fit in my old jeans again, but I'm starting to wonder if I gain muscle like I want to, if that's even reasonable. Maybe the new me when I reach a 3 minute Fran will still not fit in those jeans, but will look damn good in a slightly larger pair? I started looking at the profiles of all the crossfit girls at the games to see what their weights were. They actually weigh less than I thought. I figured around 135 with all that muscle but a lot of them weigh 125, so I started to set that as my goal. Then again, in my girl muscle mag, all the girls profiled weighed between 135-140 same height as me. (By the way, I could write a whole blog entry on the difficulty of finding a good women's workout magazine - went to four places before I could find anything other than "walk your way into your skinny jeans").

    So, to answer your question, I have no answer, just wanted to say I understand. It is both frustrating not to have the scale to guide you and liberating as well. I think if you stick to a balanced diet plan like the zone and you do crossfit regularly, your weight will eventually settle where it's supposed to be. 3 minute that even possible (for me)? Of course, that's what I used to say about pullups, so who knows?

  4. "I guess I think if I had a number that it would be a good way of knowing when to stop feeling gross about oneself."

    Bea, this hurts me to hear. You can beat yourself up at 100 pounds just as much as you can at a heavier weight - and I don't think that shooting for a particular number is going to result in the mental shift that it seems you really want. My perspective on this comes from spending way too much of my life obsessing with a number, so apologies if I'm inferring things that aren't there. That said, it's not easy to change your relationship with the scale/food/eating and it doesn't come overnight - it took me years before I could eat certain foods and not feel crushingly guilty about them.

    The thing about Crossfit that I love and think is incredibly healthy, especially for those of us who might sometimes be overly influenced by the number on the scale, is that it throws out the "you work out to lose weight and get super skinny" ideology that predominates women's magazines and normal gym-going. Weight loss is incorporated in that if you started out not being able to do a pull up you will probably lose excess weight and gain muscle by the time you can bang out unassisted kips - but that's not the point. (if it were we'd see kettlebells with calorie counters) The point is to get stronger and move faster. For some that will mean a net weight loss while for others it will mean an overall weight gain.

    Overall, I think you should choose a number to focus on - but not for the scale. Whether that number is 1 kipping pull up or a sub 2:00 row or a 250 FGB or whatever is totally up to you. Performance goals feel amazing when you hit them and most likely your body will get to where it wants/needs to be to do the badass things you are asking of it. Once you get a lot of your goals accomplished, then it might be time to play with the number on the scale - do you improve even more if you lean out or is adding weight with lean muscle mass going to get you to hit your goals?

  5. I think the misconception of weight can go either way. It took me looking at a photo for me to think: Crap, I have gotten fat. When did that happen? One of the things I love about Crossfit is the usefulness of it. About a month ago I was shooting a wedding with a girl that is younger and thinner than I am. We both had our bags, which way about 30lbs on, and had to walk about 3 blocks up hill. I did not even notice until she started breathing heavy. I thought to myself, well that is definitely functional. I love that I am stronger. I never want to go back to being pewny. At this rate I will be able to beat up Mitchell in no time. It just would be nice to have something concrete to aim for. As for the other goals: muscle up by Christmas is what I am aiming for and a 7 min mile.

  6. I know this isn't what you want to hear, BUT I think those goals are concrete enough in and of themselves-- no number necessary. Besides, none of us have a number to give you-- even if we liked the idea of handing them out. :)

  7. Oh, I also want to be able to jump high enough so that I can reach the pull-up bar without a stool.

  8. I just want to say one thing: Hooray for celebrating what our bodies can DO as opposed to what we think they "should" look like!

    That's actually one of my favorite parts about Crossfit: no mirrors. In gyms with a full wall of mirrors, I tend to do what every woman alive does - overanalyze how they wish their butt/legs/stomach/arms/cheeks/fingers/toenails were perkier/longer/tighter/thinner/better. I mean, I'll be doing knees to elbows and instead of thinking "wow, I am strong enough to do this, good job core!", I'll get a glimpse in the mirror and think "I wish my waist was narrower." I mean REALLY?? Unfortunately, that's just the world we live in.

    BUT at Crossfit, it is so inspiring the way that we are pushed to our physical limits - limits that remind us just how rad/hot/smoking/badass/AMAZING our bodies actually are.