Sunday, October 9, 2016

The "weight" of IG and the Macros.

Summer throwback to Norway - these amazing kids, this amazing place, an amazing journey.
How to begin this blog...After not posting since May, it's challenging to pick this back up and launch into all of the thoughts I feel compelled to share.

Around this time last year I was 6% body fat. I could see every striation of muscle and ligament in my torso. I was hovering around 120lbs, weighing myself daily, and fit into my skinniest of skinny jeans. I tracked every morsel of food that I ingested in the MyFitnessPal app. My decision on what to make for dinner or where and when to go out with my husband for date night were guided by 3 numbers - Protein/ Fat/ Carbs for the day. My value became measured by how close I was to "0" on those three numbers for the day as well as whether I was making 'progress' in my weight, leanness and ability to see more abs.

I believed I was 'in control' and equated happiness with that notion.

In August we headed to Mexico for vacation and I stopped logging in the app. The fact that this was such a struggle, literally breaking away from an addiction, was a huge warning sign for me. A couple of weeks later we headed to Norway and I continued to eat 'intuitively' without the app. Instead I focused on enjoying the integrity of real food and the experience that was there for the taking.

Being in Norway was a huge turning point for me, for my self worth, my self esteem. Looking back, the biggest contributing factors were that I was not logging my food AND I was not on Instagram/ FB etc. much. Coming home I started to evaluate why this trip and process had such an impact on me.

I think it is absolutely something to be congratulated and revered when someone makes such improvements in their quality of life resulting in their body composition changing. It is great when someone feels inspired to post a before and after and be proud of this change and commitment. However, what I do question is the mindset that 'leanness is all that matters" that has become an epidemic and running rampant on social media. It's impossible to go on Instagram and not be bombarded with selfies of abs, lean bodies and veins popping out of abdomens. Let me clarify, it's not the picture or the progress that I have issue with, it's not the preference on aesthetics or the desire to post your pride to the public. It's the fact that this is spiraling out of control to peoples' value is boiling down to their absolute level of leanness.

And here comes the controversy.... I question the Macro obsession and its' role in this. Yes, you can lean out and dial in your food to a degree that creates ultimate consistency and consequently minimal body fat. However, when that becomes the primary focus and life is controlled by numbers, the reflection in the mirror and before and afters, it's a problem. It's a disorder.

In my experience, I think the Macro's are a wonderful tool to get people on track and to create awareness withe what they are eating. I continue to recommend it to athletes who are new to the notion of improving their diet and quality of life. I am not worried about these people. I worry about those of us who are experienced and who have taken it to an extreme. It's as if there should be a 3-month limit on Macro'ing. After that point folks should take a break from tracking and do a gut check on whether their mindset is becoming polluted with the obsession to track and get leaner.

"Intuitive eating" while having balance should be the focus. It has taken me 5 months to feel comfortable with not logging, and I still haven't managed to delete the app from my phone. I cringe at public figures in our community that are continuing to preach that it doesn't matter what you are eating because you can still maintain your abs. Quality has taken a down turn in every way. Quality of food, quality of sourcing your food, quality of cooking, quality of social interactions, and quality of mindset.

This is MY experience, my journey and surely there are many people who have a completely different take on all of it. However, I post here on the chance that there is someone who might share this struggle or frustration and that they might see this and feel relief. My intent is not to piss off the people who are happy, TRULY happy, with their selfies and abs and not feeling imprisoned.

I am more than my body fat percentage. I am more valuable than how many abs are visible to the eye. I am more valuable to my family when I am teaching my kids about a healthy relationship with food and their bodies. I want my daughter to see me leading by example. I want to practice what I preach when I tell her that she should not feel insecure, unattractive and compare herself to people on social media. Most importantly, I want HER to know she is more than her size, her body fat and her weight.