Tonight at my Weight Watchers meeting, we held a discussion about keeping track of our successes. Our leader encouraged us to write down non-scale victories and to look back at them when we need an extra boost or are having a bad day. As an avid journal keeper and list marker, I liked this idea of writing things down in order to return to it again and again. I also like external accountability. I considered using Facebook as my outlet – it’s a great place for little “snippets” and there’s nothing like putting it out there to the social media world for external accountability. But I certainly don’t want to be one of “those” people either (I am sure I have several FB friends who could care less about my weight loss efforts). I have a private FB group with a few friends where we keep each other on track and send regular updates. That works but I still wanted a larger audience. I considered Instagram but I’m a writer and needed a larger writing space. Then, the obvious occurred to me – I can use my blog to record and write about my experiences, questions, ideas, and general thinking about my weight loss/fitness journey! So, if you’re reading this I hope that you are interested in exercise, nutrition, fitness, weight loss or any other related topic. It’s becoming a significant part of my life again and I have a lot to say.
But back to the idea of recording small successes. I’m excited to report that I’ve had a lot of them this week! Before I get to what they are, I think it’s important to mention that focussing on and celebrating these small victories is absolutely key in the grander scheme of losing weight. (Trust me, I’ve been there and done it before!) Once you have even one small success, it drives you to want more. Than you have another, and you want more. Each step you take in the right direction just keeps propelling you and driving you to take the next step. It’s amazing how once you get the ball rolling how fast your motivation takes off! That’s exactly how I am feeling tonight. I have taken a lot of small steps lately that have sent my motivation into over-drive! It’s an incredible feeling, and although it took some effort to get started, it’s been truly surprising how quickly the momentum builds.
Here are some of my small (non-scale) victories this week:
1. Getting myself to the gym even when I didn’t really feel like going – I always tell myself that you never regret a workout but you nearly always regret skipping a workout. I knew on this night that if I had skipped the gym, I would have stayed home and felt crummy about it. Also, I have a pretty good gym routine going but I knew that if I skipped even just one night (without a valid excuse) it might lead to skipping another night, and another, and so on…. Preventing disruption in a routine that’s new is so important and I’m certainly glad that I was able to recognize this enough that I was able to get my butt out the door and to the gym that night!
2. Incorporating more vegetables (and some fruits) into my meals – I am a carb-lover. I could subsist on pizza, pasta, bread, crackers, and chips if you let me. But I haven’t been seeing the results I want and I knew what was holding me back. Too many carbs and little to no fruits and vegetables. Now, I’m really not a fan of fruit (I know. It’s weird – I’m still working on it), although I did eat a huge piece of watermelon the other day instead of the crackers I’d normally have had. But I’ve been making a point to include vegetables in at least two meals per day. The first couple of days I tried eating salads until the third day when I realized, I really don’t like salads. The next night I roasted my vegetables and realized I really enjoy roasted vegetables! So now that’s what I am doing. It really takes getting to know how things work for you and doing it that way. Sure, I will continue to explore other salad options and other ways to get my veggies in (oh, I do love an omelette packed with veggies!) but for now I’ve realized I do like roasted veggies and it’s working so why not stick with it?
3. I avoided temptations – I had two work events this week where lunch was provided. Knowing there are usually some pretty healthy options, I skipped packing my own and indulged in the provided lunch. The first day was lasagna (of which I enjoyed a small piece), house salad or Caesar (I chose house with light dressing even though I love Caesar!), white dinner rolls (which I resisted!) and then large brownies or large cookies for dessert (which I also resisted!) The key for me here was taking the time to consciously decide if I should have the bread and dessert or not. It worked in my favour that the cookies were pre-packaged and actually didn’t really look that appetizing (I know, right? I didn’t realize they could make a cookie that doesn’ look or taste amazing! Cookies are seriously my biggest downfall!) Anyway, I took a real hard look at that cookie (and the brownie which was also pre-packaged) and decided that likely what would happen is that I would eat it, it wouldn’t taste as amazing as I had anticipated, and then I’d feel enormously guilty afterward. It just wasn’t worth it. I passed. I SAID NO TO COOKIES AND BROWNIES, people! This is huge! It may seem insignificant to some, but I know the willpower it took to say no. Am I ever glad I did!
4. I drank a chocolate milkshake and ate some chocolate and didn’t feel guilty! – This is worth noting because so many of us beat ourselves up if we go off track even the slightest. We wallow in feelings of guilt which can lead to more bad habits. But what I’m beginning to learn is that to make this a lifestyle and not just a diet, nd to make it stick FOREVER, we have to indulge now and then. And we can’t beat ourselves up for it! You do have to take those few minutes to decide if the indulgence will really be worth it or not though. I knew as soon as I took the first sip of that chocolate milkshake on Saturday that it was worth it. I thoroughly enjoyed every. single. sip. It was delicious, it was amazing, it was so satisfying. Why would I let guilt take away all that? I finished the milkshake and moved on. I didn’t let guilt take over and write the rest of the day (or week or month) off. Instead I got right back on track at my next meal. (Again, this is HUGE for me because it’s something I’ve struggled with so much in the past!) Then, today during lunch there was a whole tray of desserts including these little tiny brownies that I’ve had before and that I know are absolutely delicious! I made the conscious choice that having one would be worth the indulgence. So I had one. And it was so scrumptious and wonderful that I had another one. And do you know what? I’m not mad at myself! I ate on plan the rest of the day and didn’t let those two little brownies throw my whole day off. (For instance, knowing I had had the brownies helped me to resist the potato wedges my husband brought home at dinner! I had roasted sweet potato chunks instead). It’s all about indulging in moderation, truly enjoying those small treats, and not feeling badly about it. Trust me, I know it isn’t easy to do which is why it’s actually a pretty BIG victory for me!
So those are my non-scale victories for this past week. It’s these tiny, but at the same time, momentous moments that keep me going. No matter what goal you are working towards, it’s important to focus on the small yet significant steps that get you there. If we can keep doing that, eventually all of those tiny moments will get us where we ultimately want to be.