Have you ever wished you could have six-pack abs? Me too. But I have come to accept the fact that I’ll probably never have fabulous abs, and here’s why.
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My health and fitness journey
I spent a good part of my life wishing I was thinner, but I never had the guts to actually do something about it until a few years ago.
I gained weight after having each of my kids, but the last pregnancy was the worst. By the time I gave birth, I was up to 183 pounds on my 5-foot frame. It was awful! After my daughter was born, I started working out and eating healthy in order to lose all that baby weight.
Currently, I am 58 pounds lighter and in a much better physical form that I’ve ever been before. I’m stronger and fitter, which is a huge advantage when you have three kids, like me.
I’m also healthy. My blood sugar and cholesterol levels are normal. I have no pains or aches in my knees or back. My digestion runs like clockwork. In fact, I feel better than when I was 20 years old!
You could say I’ve made it to the end of the journey, right? Wrong.
I’m still overweight-obese
Despite all these victories, I don’t have a lean-looking body. I still have a pooch in my belly and you can see my fat rolls when I sit down. I don’t have defined cheekbones, and I certainly don’t have six-pack abs.
In fact, I recently had a body fat measurement and I’m at 35%. All those years of hard work and I’m still in the “overweight-obese” category. I can’t help but think I should be depressed about this.
But to tell you the truth, it doesn’t really bother me to know that the body fat test is telling me I’m a big ball of blubber. I know I’m healthy and I feel like a million dollars.
I’m not settling for being fat
Technically I do have a six-pack, but it’s buried beneath a thick layer of body fat. To be honest, I don’t think I’ll ever dig it out of there. Nobody will ever see my six-pack, I’m sure.
But that doesn’t mean I’m settling for being fat. Not at all.
First of all, even though the body fat test places me in the “overweight-obese” category, I did lose a lot of weight. That proves I’m not settling because I’m certainly not the same size I used to be. Not even close.
Also, I’m still losing belly fat. A couple of months ago I had the same body fat measurement test and I was at 39.7%. I would say that is a huge improvement.
Simply by looking at me, you might think I’m not doing anything to reduce those fat rolls, but you’d be wrong. In truth, my fat rolls are getting smaller over time because I’m still eating healthy and exercising. Weight loss is a marathon, not a sprint.
Why I don’t want six-pack abs
Finally, as much as I like losing body fat, there’s only so much I can take. I have to draw the line somewhere.
You see, in order to have a visible six-pack, a woman needs to have less than 15% body fat. That’s crazy! That’s a body fat percentage only suitable for athletes training for competition. And even then, a lot of women athletes are unable to maintain such a low body fat percentage.
This means that if I was trying to have a visible six-pack, I would have to train and eat like a professional athlete, but do I want to be a professional athlete? No, I don’t.
Let’s make this clear. I’m a 40-year-old mother of three who simply wants to be healthy and stay healthy, that’s all.
I want to be able to indulge in certain things now and then. I want to sleep in during the weekends and the holidays. I want to have a glass of wine on the weekends. Hell, I need that glass of wine. I also need lots of chocolate in my life.
Giving up junk food and sugar were huge changes for me, and it was fine because those changes made me healthier. But I refuse to start counting calories and macros and taking supplements. I don’t want to pay for a personal trainer, and I’m sure as hell not going to train for two or more hours every day.
That’s what professional athletes do, and they have six-packs. But that’s not who I am and that’s not what I want to do with my life.
Being fit and healthy on my own terms
This is what I’m going to do. I’m going to keep eating healthy and working out for 30 minutes a day in the comfort of my own home. I’m going to keep avoiding junk food and sugar. I’m also going to keep indulging every now and then, and I’m still going to have a glass of wine and some chocolate on the weekends.
I’m going to be thankful for my body and for everything it can do. I’m going to continue to take care of it because it’s the only one I’ll ever have, and I’m going to keep striving for health and fitness.
But I’m not going to torture myself in order to achieve something that’s not going to make me happy. My weight loss journey is about loving myself no matter what I look like. I don’t need six-packs to love myself.
In spite of my decision, I believe having a six-pack is possible, and anybody can get one if they work hard enough. You just have to pay the price.
Do I want to pay that price? No. Should you? It’s your choice. Do whatever makes you feel good.
But if this means I’ll never be able to show off my hidden six-pack, too bad. I’ll still be healthy and happy, and that’s good enough for me.
Would you like to have six-pack abs? or a little less belly fat? Share your thoughts in the comments!
This post was originally published in my Medium publication, The Word Tree.