When it comes to fitness and weight-loss (yes, those are two very different things) I know I’m not alone when I express the thoughts and feelings of being frustrated when the weight-loss isn’t happening (or isn’t happening as quickly as I imagined and hoped). For the most part I’m in a good place with my fitness and performance spectrum. My little “motto” of “It’s about an active lifestyle, not an elite performance” is my true attitude and belief 99.9% of the time. Those times I forget to embrace the spirit of those words are times when I get caught up in my negative self-talk because I start to think whatever “went wrong” was due to my weight.
How do I stay upbeat? I look for stepping stones along my much longer path. I love the monthly challenges various teams, groups or friends start and share. From burpees, to sit-ups, naps to well OK, maybe not the naps, but you get my reference. Lately I’ve been loving on Roni’s What You Can, When You Can (#WYCWYC). She started it as a compliment to those challenges and essentially is encouraging people to remember to make smart choices, even if they seem little, because the little efforts matter, the little efforts add up. Maybe it’s taking the stairs instead of an elevator? Going for a walk while waiting for the car to be fixed? Swapping out a “poor” food choice for something “better”? Remembering doing SOMETHING is always better than doing NOTHING. Need other ideas? Follow the hashtag on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. There’s even a specific website for it now!
When it comes to fitness I’ve learned how to appreciate the full spectrum. However, I am not at a place where I am OK with the full spectrum of weight-loss and body image.
I want to be thinner and I want to be thinner NOW. Much like training for my first race, I didn’t want to practice with one mile before moving up to three. I don’t want to document what I eat and make ‘smart choices’. There was a time I couldn’t imagine doing a double digit long run “just for training”. Now I question, why I should eat well 90% of the time or only allow 1-2 “cheat days”. Of course years later, double digit long runs are as common and as natural as blinking. Hopefully, one day healthy eating will be the same.
Back then, I neeeeeeded validation, I neeeeded a medal, or at least to have someone witness my efforts. Similarly, I find it easier to eat a salad when I’m with coworkers, versus sitting alone on my couch. Maybe on some small level the need for others to know is one reason I started this blog during my first training. Maybe for me “support” is just a fancy way of saying “justified bragging”.
Enter Non Scale Victories.
If you’ve been around a time or two on any type of weight-loss support group, you will know the term ‘Non Scale Victory’ (#NSV). These are moments and milestones allowing a person to celebrate movement toward a goal when the numbers on the scale don’t seem to reflect any movement. A common physical NSV is often a favorite piece of clothing fitting better, but lots of people go as far as to consider any achievement in their life a NSV, in order to lessen the emphasis on connecting looks to self-worth. I remember a lot of mine over the years, finishing various race distances, all of my school and work milestones, or when my family and I did the Drenched 5K and I was able to help with the bin of 100+ water balloons. I never could have done it in a previous lifetime.
Lately it seems all I have to go on are my NSV’s. My two weeks without sugar M-F, sleeping better, being less moody, cutting my food budget nearly in half, increasing days/duration of gym times and honestly, finding the spark to write more on this blog. Not to mention things like being chosen for being part of the FitBloggin Keynote (soooo excited!). I see all these beautiful things happening around me and all I can do is stare at my scale, stare at myself in the mirror, and want to cry. I want to cry for not losing weight “fast enough”, I want to cry for allowing things to get to this point, and I want to cry for not being strong enough to appreciate the good things I have instead of dwelling on a few carrots just out of my reach.
Honestly, I feel badly complaining about these things, because I know others “have it worse”. There are people trying to lose 100+ pounds instead of 20-30. There are people with serious medical needs to lose weight, instead of vanity. It’s my life though and I want to live it my way. People who know me know I am a jeans and “Life is Good” tee-shirt type of girl. Sure, UGGs and sweaters look cute, but I feel like an alien when I wear them. I might know current events and politics, but I’d rather talk about TV or celebrity gossip. Having this extra weight on me is the same. I have a range I see myself as and I’m not currently there. I might be able to hold my own and it might not be fully ruining my life, but I don’t see me as me and I don’t want to change my self-view. I want to change my behaviors to better reflect the person I know.