For the past several months I’ve been writing this column weekly, following a year or more of making my journey toward health and fitness public on Facebook. Last week I had a visit from a young man I haven’t seen in a few months.
He did a little double-take, and said, “You’ve really lost a lot of weight!” People say that to me a lot.
Ironically, I haven’t lost a lot of weight. In fact, I have hardly lost any at all, something which frustrates me, even though I know why I haven’t. It frustrates me because I’m human. I have a goal of losing 100 pounds. So far I have lost 3 pounds. Grrr. Frustrating. Not too close to my goal.
The flip side is that I have lost two pant sizes and about 9 inches from my waistline. I lift weights a lot, and I am trading fat for muscle. I can see muscle definition in my arms and it’s even starting to show up on my abdomen. I’m okay with that.
Last week I went to a climbing gym for the second time. The first time was about two months ago. This time I felt stronger, more able to climb the walls, and not as quick to tire. All of that is exactly what this journey is about for me. I want to be stronger, and do things I couldn’t do before.
Still. The number on the scale refuses to budge and I find myself increasingly frustrated by that. Where is my magic wand? Can’t this all be done with already? But of course, the answer is no, it can’t be done with already, because what I am really talking about is making lasting changes in my lifestyle.
Not only that, but the whole journey is a process of one step forward, two steps back, then two steps forward,
one step back. A few months ago I was doing what I like to call “crazy dancing” at home maybe three times a week. Crazy dancing is just dancing around doing cardio-type moves, while weight lifting. Then my son moved out and I rearranged my house. So the super-duper dumb reason I haven’t done crazy dancing since August? My speakers are in the wrong room. I know. Two steps back.
But at the same time, my daughter emerged from the woodwork as the best gym buddy ever, and we’ve been to the gym together twice a week for that same period. That’s at least two steps forward.
My biggest struggle has always been keeping my feet in the face of constantly shifting circumstances.
Getting a Fitbit has also been enlightening for me, as I have come to realize a few things about my habits. I eat too much, and I don’t drink nearly enough water. And my work-out schedule is not heavy enough. So even though I’ve made progress, I still have significant changes to make in my daily habits. That feels so disheartening. Where did I leave that magic wand again?
Today as I finalized plans to head to the gym later, I got a glimpse of how much things have changed for me, and why I need to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I used to blow myself off far more often than I followed through. Who wants to go to the gym on a Monday? The work week looms, the couch is warm and comfy, and it’s oh-so-easy to stay home. But my “new normal” is that I go, not that I burrow into the couch. My gym bag is packed and in my car. I will keep that commitment to myself today. It seems insignificant—but that is probably the biggest change I’ve made so far.
A baby step seems like it won’t take me anywhere. But a baby step every day for months equals massive action, so I’ll keep celebrating the baby steps, even when I don’t live up to my own expectations.
What is your strategy for staying on track in the face of your schedule? Contact me at 505-286-1212 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Or join the ongoing conversation in my Facebook group, “I’m Losing It!” I’d love to hear from you.