I have a theory: the total weight of the Navy (all 321,053 of its active duty personnel) fluctuates twice a year. The one month prior to a Physical Fitness Assessment (PFA), the total poundage probably drops at least 3,210,530 lbs. The day after the PFA, that same weight probably increases by 9,631,590 lbs. Then that pattern repeats six months later. It is a fitness mindset that the Navy has ingrained in A LOT of us. Okay, so not everyone crash diets before a PFA, but I am constantly running into folks who have to do just that so they pass the body composition assessment (BCA). Even when I was in great shape and didn’t have to work about the BCA, I still gained about 10 to 15 lbs after a PFA just because “the pressure is off.” It is an unhealthy cycle created by a bi-annual fitness test. While the Navy is making strides to stop this (i.e. you have to be ready to pass a BCA on any given day), it is still a trained pattern.
Okay, so why am I writing all of this? Because I realize my goal cannot be: “To lose 40 lbs for the PFA.” Why? Because I have proven time and time again to myself, as soon as the PFA is over, the goal has “expired,” and now I am free to be unhealthy and gain all of that weight back. I know, I have seen me do it. Which brings me to my next point, you have to set achievable goals, that are positive in nature, and have a defined timeline. And it is best to state them in the first person. For example, my REAL goal is: “By 19 November 2012, I weigh 185 lbs.” The below book, among others, states that if you use a negative term, for instance: “I will lose 40 lbs,” your subconscious does not pay attention to it. Also with stating what you will be, you get a clear picture of what you will look like, how it will feel, and all of the associated positive outcomes. So back to the point, I want to be 185 lbs. I want to be 185 lbs before the PFA. After the PFA. At Christmas. On my birthday (3 Feb… I like Xbox games). During the summer (which is year round in Hawaii).
A great book to read about goals… or LISTEN to about goals.
So let’s ask ourselves a question. Is my goal realistic? Feel free to comment below after reading this next part:
This morning, I weighed 221.4 lbs. By the Navy’s tape method, I now have 25% body fat. By calipers, 21.3% body fat. (By the way, on 28 June, I was 231 lbs and 28% body fat). Alright, so let’s look at the numbers:
- 221.4 lbs times the body fat percentage= Navy (25%)=55.4 lbs/Calipers (21.3%)=47lbs
- 221.4 – the body fat=Lean Body Mass(LBM)=(Navy)166 lbs/(Calipers)174.4 lbs
- To get to 185 lbs, I need to lose another 36.4 lbs. And I don’t want to lose LBM.
- So by Navy standards, I will have 19 lbs of fat. By the calipers, I will have 10.6 lbs of fat.
- (Navy) 19/185*100= 11% Body Fat (Calipers) 10.6/185*100=5.7% Body Fat
Okay, so if I could get to 11% Body Fat by the Navy standard, then that makes me have an athletic body type. While that is realistic if I keep training for a marathon, CrossFitting, and eating Paleo, maybe four months is not realistic to get to that goal. 6% Body Fat measured by the calipers is considered “underfat.” And that is not healthy. Nor is it realistic to think I would be at 6% Body Fat in four months. So if the Calipers are more accurate, then another 36.4 lbs of lost weight and hopefully none of that is LBM, then that is certainly NOT achievable.
To be honest, I hate, Hate, HATE, HATE the weight goal. I know that my fellow CrossFitters probably gnash their teeth when they read about a weight goal. And to be honest, 185 is purely so I don’t have to deal with the Navy’s tape measure ever again. I am more interested in gaining strength (which REALLY doesn’t help losing weight… losing fat, yes…losing weight, no), losing body fat, and just leading a healthier lifestyle. I am curious to hear anybody else’s thoughts on the matter. Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think.