Tale of the Tape

Sometimes, I wish my mid-life crisis were more normal. Most people going through a mid-life crisis can be satisfied with a new car, or a new house, or a new spouse. Why couldn’t I be satisfied with one of those? No. Not me. I needed a new physique.

At mid-life, this was not such an easy task. I could not shop for it, order it online or even seek out somewhere to go to get it. I was solely responsible for it only through hard work, discipline and setting restrictions on myself. I needed the help of others, too. I wasn’t just trying to “get in shape” or “tone up.” I was seeking to get on stage and compete against other women half my age in an itty-bitty bikini. And to that I respond: “Well, why not?”

My last entry talked about the Tale of the Tape. Let me explain this in more detail. Women are addicted to the scale. It almost seems sometimes like we measure our worth by the numbers that the scale shows. It can make or break our day when we stand on it in the morning (preferably at the ideal time—you know, after you go to the bathroom, but before you eat or drink anything and completely in the buff). It can leave us wondering whether that salt we had on dinner last night was to blame for the results or whether the wine is the real culprit.

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Alas, there are other tools that can measure success. Tools such as the mirror, clothes, body fat testers and the tape measure are actually more valuable than the scale. The scale is one measure, but, for most women, the tool that is overused.

Just as a carpenter uses many tools in his toolbox to build a home, so, too, must a dieter or bodybuilder use many tools to measure progress. The scale is a help, and, believe it or not, there are times when a bodybuilder wants to gain weight to evidence muscle growth, but maintain a minimum bodyfat.

For me, the better measurement tools for success were the tape measure and the body fat calipers. My starting stats were:

Weight: 139
Bodyfat: 25.4%

What does this mean? This means of the 139 pounds I weighed, 35.3 pounds (139 x 25.4%) were bones, skin, fat, tissue, and 103.7 pounds were lean mass (muscle). The rest of the tale of the tape played out as follows:

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Shoulders (relaxed by my sides) 42 1/2”
Chest/bust (arms down, at armpit level) 35 ½”
Biceps (flexed) 12”
Waist 29 5/8”
Hips (widest part) 37 ½”
Calves 14 ½”

You saw my starting pics in my last blog entry. Check them out if you haven’t seen them yet. While I am not totally mortified at having my “before pictures” posted on the DT website, I am anxious to unveil something more visually appealing, if to no one else, then to myself.

If like so many people, you have committed this year to get in shape, do this for yourself. Take measurements, take pictures and weigh yourself. Now, you know where you are starting. Also, maintain a journal that tracks your food intake, exercise and attitude. Sometimes knowing I just had to write something down kept me from cheating on the program.

Is your New Year’s Resolution to get in shape (or maybe get in better overall health) for 2011? If so, let me know! Send a comment to this blog or friend me on Facebook and send me your specific goals and share your action plan for how you intend to accomplish it! You’ll notice that, just by writing it down and sharing it with someone else your commitment is heightened and you become more aware of what you are doing about it on a daily basis.

All the best in health to you in 2011!

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