Monday, July 18, 2011

When Progress is Slow

I lost two pounds this month. Yes, this month (not week). That seems painfully miniscule in the context of the 65 or so I have left to go. The fact that my measurements haven’t changed appreciably and that I haven’t needed new clothes contribute to a feeling of stagnation – like I’m not really making much of a difference. Sometimes I just want something quantifiable to look at and say, “see – things are changing!” Within our culture of immediate gratification, it’s easy to get discouraged by slow results.

Then, I take a moment to do a reality check. Overall, I’m 28# lighter than I was at the end of January. Those 6 months would have passed regardless and I’m happy to be well on my way towards a healthier, happier mind and body. Besides, what’s the alternative? Give up because it’s not working fast enough? I can imagine how I’d feel had I’d gained 2 or more pounds this month from treating myself badly. I’ve committed to changing the way I live (eat, sleep, and move) for the long haul and for many reasons above and beyond weight loss.

And those intangibles are lining up. Waking up in the morning raring to go without coffee or any other stimulant is a gift. Finding myself out and about enjoying time with the Cute Man and not constantly thinking about food and worrying about when I can next get something to eat or at least a latte is a gift. Walking into a pie shop and being able to look around with curiosity and appreciate the sights and smells without feeling tortured or powerless to resist is a gift. Looking in the mirror and seeing clear eyes, clear skin peering back at me is a gift. I could go on and on…

Numbers on a scale can be fun to look at and give an inkling of some of the progress that is taking place. But it’s not the whole story and shouldn’t be barometer of success. It’s just data: neither good nor bad. It’s the (usually too much) meaning we ascribe to it that has the power to lift us up or tear us down. So, today is a good day in my journey to better health and a higher quality of life. I’m thrilled to already be reaping the benefits of this way of life.

That all being said, I was going to quantify all the little ways I intend to tweak things in order to spur things along. I certainly could do that – maybe eliminate the bits of cheese or fruit I “indulge” in from time to time. Or perhaps it’s the almond flour creations that are causing the slow down… But then I remember, it’s about raising my quality of life. Nowhere is it written that it has to be a perfect plan to get perfect results. Each day that I choose to treat my body well is a successful day. Each month that I see myself moving towards my goals is a successful month, whether it shows on the scale, measuring tape, or pants size. As long as the choices I make are steeped in love and the desire to take the very best care of myself, I can declare my plan a success.

This is not to say that I’m never going to change things up or try different approaches. I think that kind of adaptation is important. The food thing is working for me right now so that’s not something I’m going to mess with too much. There’s more to eating “right” than perfect macro-nutrient ratios. I love what I’m eating and it’s making me feel great! However, I am starting to focus more on the movement side of the equation. Now that my energy levels are rising, I’m excited to start working out more intensely. While walking and yoga are enjoyable and definitely a good start, I’m looking to take it up a notch. I not only want to lose weight but look and feel strong and capable. I started a high intensity interval training (HIIT) class last week and I think that will help me along towards those goals. I’ll have the class each week at work (early morning class – that NEVER would have happened before) plus one workout on my own.

The most important lesson I’ve found is that it’s incredibly key to focus on the positive – what benefits am I seeing every day – rather than harping on how things could be going better or faster. In the end, I have no control over results, really. What I can control is how I choose to live each day and how I choose to look at my life and actions. I choose happiness, gratitude, and respect for all I’ve done to turn my life around.


Christie Inge said...

Just wanted to say that I love this post. <3


Thanks so much, Christie!