It seems when it comes to the subject and actuality of weight loss and health improvements there is a common thought that it should be big, bold, and dramatic to be counted as worthy and notable.
What? You only lost one pound this week?
Throw in the towel.
Have you ever seen one pound of fat? You may rethink that idea.
Yet, we approach our attempts to lose weight and get healthy like that, we dismiss the seemingly not so important looking for something bigger and more grand.
We want that dramatic 5lbs gone in one week like the ad on social media promised. We want to be able to run faster and longer after just a month of starting to run. We think we can lift heavy like the guy at the gym ( only he’s been at it for a lot longer so he can lift more than you)
Stop being dramatic
I really write that in a joking way, but really, stop looking for the big and dramatic as “proof” there’s something going on for all your efforts.
When you or I or anyone decide we are going to take steps to start changing our lives, our bodies, or our mindsets, it will take time.
You don’t want some of those “instant” results. They just don’t last.
Progress IS progress.
Why have we been trained to think if we don’t always have big impressive things going on, it’s not worth our effort?
I was out on a ride a few weeks ago thinking about how I have to work my way back up to a level that I had last year before the duathlon. Sometimes I think it’s “unfair” that if I back off ( as I have to at a point ’cause I can’t stay in peak forever ) that I have to begin to build back up to that level of fitness again.
Like, why can’t it just permanently stick?
Ok in all fairness, even in my not “peak” condition, I still have a higher level of physical fitness than someone who doesn’t work out, but I also have tons of room for progress and improvements in my game.
This was brought to my mind a few days ago in a new way as I took on a fairly huge hill, scaling it quickly and barely being out of breath that I had made progress since I started getting back at it a little over a month ago.
Building up your fitness level takes time, consistency, and uh, some more time.
Trust me, I took a brief moment to celebrate that victory at the top before I was plunged down the backside of that hill at full speed, before I turned around to head back up.
I was making progress.
The self improvement game
Maybe my progress is more than you want to think about or nothing you’d ever do. But you’re still gonna have ways of assessing how you are doing when it comes to your health and fitness goals.
We need to stop dismissing small victories as if they are nothing, when the reality is, they lead to larger victories.
Trust me, it took lots of smaller hills and lots more miles before I got to the point I am today.
If you start to focus and pay attention to those small things you will not only feel more grateful for what you are doing but you will appreciate reaching the bigger goal even more when you get there.
It’s such a journey for me to mentally look back at what I’ve had to do, to get to where I am today. I can see those smaller things so much more clearly as learning opportunities.
As you move forward whether it’s a process of losing weight, training for an event, or just wanting to be able to do something new on your own, be aware of those small steps leading you there.
What does progress look like ?
Each of us could answer that in a hundred different ways. But overall, progress should involve a forward movement towards our specific goal.
Let’s consider losing weight. Setting aside the scale, or clothes fitting looser, which is everyone’s overall idea of “success” and “progress”.
Maybe there are other areas you haven’t considered….
Have you learned to listen to your body better and eat when you’re hungry and not just bored?
Or learned to eat enough to satisfy you without being self indulgent?
Did you bypass the fast food place on the way home for a “snack”?
What about making better food choices over poor ones you used to have?
Are you learning to speak kindly to yourself if you are used to speaking negative self talk?
Have you learned more to value and appreciate your body even if you don’t like something about it?
Do you celebrate more moments of self awareness and stopping yourself from impulsive choices?
Can you step on the scale and see a pound lost and celebrate that as being a bit closer to losing a 5 lb. goal?
Have you let go of old, tired food “rules” and “guilt” to embrace living and enjoying life, which also has food as a part of it?
Have you learned to see food as, food? And not label it “good” or “bad”?
What about in the ways of physical fitness?
If you couldn’t even get the desire to get off the sofa before but now you are at least going for an evening walk, do you see that as progress?
Do you see overcoming obstacles that challenge you and you push through as progress?
If you could hardly walk a mile when you started but now are doing 3 and considering signing up for your first 5K, well yeah, I seriously hope you see that as… progress 😉
Do you do strength training? Can you lift things now that used to feel like you could barely squeak out 5 reps before you fell apart?
Do you feel stronger?
Can you lift more, go longer, push through things you previously didn’t?
You my friend, are making progress.
Of course we don’t want to dismiss things like…
good lab results at the doctor as evidence of changes going on in you from the choices you’ve been making.
Or the fact you have better mental clarity, feel less anxious, are more focused and perhaps are sleeping better because of choices you’ve made.
Perhaps you’ve gotten your relationship with food in order. Maybe now you have it in the proper place it belongs and you call the shots, not food.
And ok, yeah, it is cool when you’re jeans get looser, let’s be honest.
So many things we do are actual steps to progress and improvement with our health and fitness. We just need to learn to appreciate them and not minimize them as not as important as “just” losing weight.
If we take a careful look at all we do, it can encourage us to continue to press on in our journeys and not become weary and frustrated and make the ( not best) choice to give up and go back to our old, unproductive, unhealthy ways.
Choose to see progress and not instant results. It will make your journey far more enjoyable.
Tell me. Do you look for progress in yourself, or do you want to jump right to the end results quickly?