• Jill

Not what I thought 16.5% body fat would be

Updated: Sep 19, 2019

Recently, I had my body composition done and I came in at 16.5% body fat. I was thrilled, but not for the reason you would think. The thrill came from knowing that I was able to achieve my theory of a lower body fat without having to count my macros nutrients (protein, fat, and carbohydrates) and just listen to my body and how it wanted to eat.

After, I got over the initial joy of proving my theory, I felt a little disappointed, because I didn’t think my body looked like I thought it should at 16.5% body fat. Don’t get me wrong, I am proud of how I look and at the progress I have made. Not many women my age (38) have achieved a low body fat like mine, but after years of looking at the pictures on the internet of women between 14%-20% body fat and seeing the abs and all their muscles popping I thought that is what I will look like when I achieved those percentages. Yes, you can see my abs and muscles when I flex, but I wanted to see it without the flex, just like in the pictures.

I felt foolish, because I knew better.

I know photos are edited and the models aren’t always what you think they are and that is when I realized that it is not really about the body fat anymore. It is about growing my muscles and becoming stronger. I almost stopped caring (unfortunately there is always that little voice that sneaks up on you to mess with your head) about percentages and was more interested in improving my performance

When I was younger I saw a TV movie called “Dying to Belong”. In one of the scenes, the main character wants to join a sorority and part of the hazing process for the freshman is to walk in their underwear on a catwalk for the sorority sisters. While, the freshman walk the catwalk the sorority sisters are judging them and taking a red sharpie (I will always remember that red sharpie) and circling where the fat is on the bodies of the women in front of them.

That scene is etched in my memory and I remember that is the moment my body dysmorphia started. I convinced myself I had to be thin and pretty to have friends and be popular. I would stand in front of my mirror and criticize my body. Mentally, I had a red sharpie in my hand circling all the fat I wanted to get rid of.

“Dying to Belong” came out when I was 17 and it took about 20 years to finally, love my body. What started out as a journey to be thin has moved into just living life and being healthy. A journey has an end, but life keeps going until it doesn’t. I look at things as achievements. I was able to achieve kneeling on a performance ball without support and my next achievement will be to stand on the ball without help.

I will always have body dysmorphia, because as much as I love my body there will be a part of me that will see something I don’t like and that red sharpie will be ready to circle “the fat”. When those moments come around, I remind myself of how far I have come.

Try (and I say try, because I know it is not easy) to not compare yourself to other people. Don’t be disappointed when you reached a goal and you don’t look how you thought you would. Not everyone gets six pack abs. Mine are more of a two pack with a plate. No one loses fat in the same place. My, fat is around my hips, thighs and butt. The point of my ramble is that you are you and your body changes differently than someone else’s. Be proud of your progress and if you have a day that you get down, know that I am proud of you because you are working on building the best version of yourself.