A six-pack reality check

A Six-Pack Reality Check
By Carolyn Richardson

A little over a year ago I had a six-pack reality check. After losing 50 pounds, I was determined to get a six-pack. After all, if I could lose that much weight in 6 months, I could definitely get my abs ripped, right? The answer is not so much. The primary reason for saying no is my personal trainer telling me it’d take at least another year to do it, despite the fact that I’d virtually reached my goal weight. I didn’t understand how extreme trying to get a six-pack was. Here’s what I found out about getting a six-pack, and why it’s no longer one of my goals.

Extreme Body Fat Percentage

Dave Zinczenko, author of "The Abs Diet Get Fit, Stay Fit Plan," told ABC News, “Guys usually have to get to about 12 percent body fat to see their abs… women can see them between 14 and 18 percent body fat." When I set my six-pack goal, my body fat percentage was into the “fitness” range at 22%. In my mind, another 4-8% seemed easy, but if Dave’s comment was true, somehow that meant I’d have to do even more than I was already doing to get it, and I truly don’t know how much more I could take.

Extreme Exercise & Diet

I wanted to know from my trainer what else I had to do. His answer was simply more. But the fact that I have a full-time job, and a social life, meant that I’d have to reconsider. Losing the weight had already consumed me. My husband endured my exercising twice a day, an hour each, everyday for almost five months, as well as my strict daily caloric limit, not to mention the continuous food logging on CalorieCount. Doing more than this for a whole other year meant sacrifice, and the sacrifice may have been my sanity.

Extreme Sacrifice

According to my personal trainer, I’d have to exercise MORE than two hours a day everyday, eat MORE restrictive than I was already eating, and lose MORE body fat even though I was in the “fitness” range. All of which has led me to where I am now. I do not have, nor do I care to get a six-pack anymore. After admitting to myself that my motivation was completely vain, I have come to my senses. The fact that I’d reached my goal weight, a great body fat percentage, and learned to eat healthier is enough. For me, I simply can’t afford to give up my healthy lifestyle for a six-pack.

No More Extremes

While a six-pack eludes me, I do have a new goal, and that is maintenance of a mindset that's confident that I can let go of extremes and still maintain my goal weight. I no longer workout two hours a day, or adhere to meeting a specific caloric number everyday. I have, however, taken what I learned in those extreme months to teach myself boundaries. I won't allow myself to get too far away from a weight and body fat percentage that will keep me healthy, but I also don't feel guilty if I don't eat something completely healthy, and I also don't feel self-righteous if I have a highly nutritious meal. Now, I truly eat to live, and I've never felt better inside or out.

Your thoughts…

Do you have a certain body part you want to change even after you reach a healthy weight?