Happy holiday season everyone. I felt like the timing for this post would be perfect amongst a lot of talk about weight gain, weight loss, food restrictions, accountability around the holidays, etc. Is anyone already thinking about weight loss as a New Year’s Resolution? Well I’m here to tell you that weight loss isn’t the best goal to set and it is certainly not the only measure of success when it comes to health and wellness.
I will admit that I’m guilty when it comes to weight loss being at the top of my list of reasons why I’m making changes. But the disappointment when the scale doesn’t budge is real! The disappointment leads to emotional eating, bad moods and wanting to quit. Anyone else?
I know my body very well after living in it for 36 years. I know that I retain fluid and my weight can fluctuate a few pounds pretty regularly. I know that it will go back to normal but it still pisses me off every single time! Back when I was training for half marathons I would easily be up 3-4 pounds the day after my long run. I knew this was going to happen but it still messed with my head and my positivity. I burned 1000 calories running 10 miles, why did I put weight on?
I was always focused on the wrong thing and felt like I was always a failure and that my weight was the determinant of my success. I know now that I had it all wrong.
About 3 years ago I was really frustrated with my fitness and running wasn’t doing it for me any more. My anxiety was at an all-time high, I was a little depressed, my weight went up to the highest it had been in a while as well. I started at a local fitness studio taking group classes on Valentine’s Day of 2015. The studio has mirrors on almost every wall and it was really hard for me to look in the mirror while I worked out. I was so hard on myself! I weighed myself every day forever just waiting for that scale to move because I was working so hard and thought my weight would drop quickly. Of course it didn't. I’m not sure how long it took but eventually it moved about 5 pounds back down to my normal and I’ve pretty much been there ever since.
What I didn’t realize until later were all of the little successes I had along the way that didn’t have anything to do with my weight.
- I gained confidence. This was a big one for me. Slowly I was getting better at these classes and it made me feel good about myself. When I started I would set up as far back in the studio as possible and I am now more confident to set up wherever there is an open spot.
- I gained some body positivity. I started out not wanting to watch myself in the mirror at all when I worked out but now I use them regularly to check my form and I don’t hate what I see. I try to appreciate what my body can do. Really great workout pants also help!
- I gained a lot of strength as I continued to go and work hard! I can do all the push ups in a class on my toes, even some triceps pushups. I’ve noticed some big changes in my arms and they don’t jiggle as much when I’m punching. It didn't happen right away but little by little I was getting stronger.
- I gained caring less about what others think. I pick up the heavier weights for some classes and I’m not ashamed if I need to drop to a lower weight because that works better for me. It doesn't bother me if I need to modify some exercises because it is better for my back pain. It’s my hour, my body and my workout.
- I gained dropping a few pant and shirt sizes. I am not a “skinny” person and probably never will be. I couldn’t believe the size of pants I could fit in for the 1st time in my life, even though my weight was really staying consistent. This can definitely be a measure of progress and why weight isn't everything!
- I gained more enjoyment in my exercise. It doesn't feel like a chore or like punishment for what I ate over the weekend. Exercise is helping me to achieve my smaller goals and ultimately help me to feel better.
There are so many more ways to measure success in wellness other than weight. Weight does not define you and weight should not determine how you feel about yourself in a day, month or year. A phrase I hear often in my workout classes is "let go of the things that are not serving you". This is just my personal story but how many of you can relate? Does anyone have any non weight related New Year's Resolutions or goals? Feel free to share.
I hope you all enjoy the holidays! Cheers!