In July, I decided to visit my first ever WW leader (coach) at one of her Friday morning workshops. When she saw me, asked how I had been doing. Over the summer, I basically maintained within a 2-3 pound range, but at the time, I was down about 15 pounds.
“So, you’re down 1 to 2 sizes?”
I wasn’t. My clothes really weren’t fitting any differently at that point. To be honest, I was a tad frustrated. After all, you always hear stories about people who are getting smaller, but not seeing progress on the scale. I was seeing progress on the scale (15 pounds in 3.5 months). I wasn’t seeing progress where it actually mattered.
However, my leader’s reaction- something about the look on her face- hurt. I felt ashamed for something I wasn’t sure how to fix.
During Brianna’s Tuesday Night Livestream a few nights ago, we were talking about body love, body postivity, and self-love. I mentioned that I was working out now, not because I felt like I needed to, but because I actually wanted to. I have gotten to the point where I actually enjoy how it makes me feel. I said that the fact that I feel better is more important than anything else.
I didn’t force myself to start exercising because I wanted to burn calories. After all, I’ve been doing this thing long enough to know that nutrition is more important than exercise when it comes to weight loss. I also didn’t force myself into it because I thought I “should” do it.
I did it because I saw how excited Brianna got when talking about her Body Pump classes. I wanted that. I had always heard that exercise was supposed to make you feel better, but it never actually happened for me. I thought it might be some kind of urban legend. Seeing Brianna’s passion for her Body Pump classes gave me hope that maybe it wasn’t some myth. (Though, I wasn’t quite convinced it would actually work for me).
So, I started working out daily beginning September 22, 2019. Every single day I did something. In mid-November, I cut back to working out 6 days (now, I do 5-6).
The first time I actually felt good after finishing a workout was on Thanksgiving Day.
It was sporadic. Some times, exercise made me feel great. Other times, it made me feel terrible. Often, it didn’t really do much of anything. It wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago that I actually started feeling good consistently after working out- to the point where I actually get excited to work out.
When I mentioned that I was focusing more on things like how exercise made me feel, Brianna asked a question that I never answered, in part because I didn’t realize what the answer was until the next day:
“What is happening because of those things?”
When I did my restart in September, I switched my focus to my mental health. During my Whole30, I suspected eating sugar impacted my anxiety, so it made sense to switch from PointsPlus to SmartPoints to see if cutting back on sugar would make a difference. (I didn’t trust myself to cut back on sugar on PointsPlus). I started working out because I thought it might make me feel better (and because I realized that it might help me manage my anxiety by training my body to respond to that stress).
The number on the scale? The size of my pants? Those were secondary.
In October, I finally started to see physical changes in my body. I had only been working out for about a month at that point. I was down about 5 pounds from when I restarted; 15.4 pounds from my starting weight in March- just 0.4 pounds under where I was that morning when I was made to feel bad about my lack of progress.
I don’t think 0.4 pounds makes that big of a difference. I also don’t think 4 weeks of Leslie Sansone videos was long enough to see that kind of progress.
I think it was more than that. I think it was simply the fact that I stopped looking. My focus became my mental health. Weight loss became a side-effect of the actions I was taking to help myself manage my anxiety.
And when I stopped focusing on what the number on the tag on my jeans said, that’s when it started to change.
I’m down just under 40 pounds from where I was a year ago (nearly 25 pounds since September). However, I still stand by what I said Tuesday night. How I feel is far more important than what the number on the scale says.
Does this mean I’m not frustrated that my losses have slowed down right when I’m so close to hitting the 25 pound mark? Of course not! I’m only human. However, despite my frustrations that I’m so close to hitting that next milestone (and not that far off from getting into the next decade) and I keep missing it, I still feel really good.
If the scale needs a little more time to catch up to how I feel, then that’s fine. Until then, I’m just going to focus on how amazing I feel.