The Real Cost of Being Lean

Written By


Expert Reviewed By

Dr. Lauryn Lax, OTD, MS

Dr. Lauryn, OTD, MS is a doctor of occupational therapy, clinical nutritionists and functional medicine expert with 25 years of clinical and personal experience in healing from complex chronic health issues and helping others do the same.

Superthumb 1 | The Real Cost Of Being Lean
Want to get lean? Are you running towards #bodygoals? Consider the real cost with being lean. Consider what you give up in the pursuit of your “ideal”.

The Cost of Being Lean

For years, I thought being lean, fit and “fabulous” was all I wanted.

Here is what that really meant though and why “being lean” may not be so worth it after all…

Losing Yourself (What it really takes to be lean)

4:15 am

Beep, beep, beep.

(Groan). Time to get up.

Sigh…10 more minutes…

(Voice in my head): NOPE! GET YOUR BUTT OUTA BED LAZY! Youre burning day light/

Rolling onto the floor.

Drop and give me 100100 each of flutter kicks, scissor kicks, leg lifts, bicycle crunches and sit-ups to be exact.

Not one other move before that 10-minute circuit is accomplished.

Stumbling to the bathroom sink to wash my face and brush my teeth after the duty was checked off

Ugh. Look at you. Definitely not the sexy bed head waves or dont-need-makeup type. And that nose? Ew. Get it together.

4:45 am…already?!

Rushing now—gotta get there by 4:55 a.m. in case they open 5-minutes early.

Gotta lot of work to do.

Shake, shake, shake—my artificially sweetened protein powder in my shaker bottle. My candy I looked forward to every morning and one of my 5 safe foods I ate in a given day, along with:

  • Frozen turkey burgers (shipped in from my hometown back in Arkansas)
  • Crystal Light
  • Zucchini
  • Broccoli…
  • And oh yes, and occasionally 10 carefully counted almonds.

That’s it.

Chugging my pre-workout treat, I arrived by 4:56 am—just as Richard was unlocking the YMCA’s front automatic sliding door.

Gathering my Oxygen, Shape and Women’s Health stacks of magazines for some “light” reading, I bee-lined it to StairMaster #3 to station myself for the next 45-minutes.

You can go harder than that. Level 20. Level 20. Level 20!!!!

Alright, alright. Pick it up.level 20—here we go.

Holding on to the rails for dear life, I took each step, two steps at a time, busting my butt to get it in high gear.

Articles on “Whittling your middle”, “Sizzling for the summer” and diet plans of cover models distracted me in my magazines—even though I’d read that same issue two days prior.

I couldn’t get enough—information and insights on diet, fitness and shaping up fed my hungry (glucose-deprived) mind.

One day, you’ll be in there too Lauryn, I encouraged myself.

45-minutes later….ding. time’s up. Onto hit the weight floor. Another 90 minutes in the zone.

Full body today Lauryn. Get your butt in gear. Yesterdays workouts were pretty pathetic. Make up time today.

Whipping out my Shape mag to page 56, the Full Body Blast was mine for the taking today.

Head down. No excuses.

Every movement was labored.

Hopping onto the back extension machine, the world went black for a moment as my torso lowered and rose to the movement.

Hopping on the treadmill, holding on once more for dear life at level 10, I felt my stress fractured feet scream “Owwwwwwwwwwwww!”

Several moments throughout my 90-minute battle, my heart skipped a beat, and I felt an odd pain sensation in my chest—chalking it up to nothing; thinking, “Whatever, I am young.”

90-minutes to the dot passed.

Whew. Made it through another day. All that was left was smooth sailing: another 45-minutes on the StairMaster, and I could be done…for a few hours.

Back to the ‘Master, I stepped away—reading more magazines and counting down the minutes until I could go back home and have my breakfast treat: Another artificially sweetened protein shake and 10 almonds, toasted in the toaster oven, sprinkled with cinnamon.

By 8 a.m., I was out the door—running out the door. Thankful to be done with another marathon morning and eager to get on with the rest of the day until noon hit (workout #2).

Good job today.

Finnnnalllly patted on the back, I thought.

And the beat went on:

  • Carefully counting almonds
  • More marathon sessions at noon and 6 p.m. sharp.
  • Writing down everything I ate.
  • Meticulously planning the next meal, or tomorrows meals, or next weeks dinners.
  • Google searching things like: Cause of cellulite, How to increase your metabolism,and carbsgood or bad?
  • Treating myself to a pitcher full of Crystal Light twice per day
  • Thinking about trying some salmon, yellow squash or chicken breastsomething new and different from my daily turkey patty and broccoli
  • Seeing pics on Instagram or Facebook and instantly comparing myself in the back of my mind (unbeknownst to me)
  • Making excuses for missing out on social events
  • Avoiding
  • Staying home from vacations
  • Packing my own meal to eat at a restaurant
  • Flipping over the labels of every food on the shelf to memorize calories and fat grams
  • Guilt for not working as hard
  • Exhaustion in the striving

The cost of leanness comes with a price.

While it may not take you down the same dark rabbit hole as mentioned above… it’s taking you down a path disconnected from your authentic self (and others). The cost of leanness builds walls and burns bridges between you and others too—it’s all you can think about, it gives you a false sense of control, it leaves you never fully satisfied.

What do you really want and what are you willing to pay?

My two cents?

Don’t fall for dangling carrots.

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