Monday, August 1, 2016

Beyond the Number on the Scale

This time around, I knew that I wanted to get to a healthier weight.  Fortunately, after my third pregnancy, I was starting out at a number that was one of the lowest it had been in nearly 10 years.  I had additional reasons for wanting to get healthier.  I wanted the boost in energy, confidence, mood, and balance.

It took me several tries to get going and to keep with it.  Over the past nine months I took many breaks.  I found that when I missed one day, it led to missing two, then three, and then it became weeks.  When I missed a day I truly began to miss the workout.  Why?  Because I felt better afterward.  It was a release for me and it gave me the energy to face the rest of the day.

I will admit, more often than not, I would get focused on the number on the scale.  I would try so hard to meet my weight loss goals...usually five pounds over the course of the month.  Totally doable, if I stuck with it.  But I began to plateau for weeks at a time.  The number on the scale didn't change, I would get frustrated, then choose to eat unhealthy and in excess.  I have learned that when I am stressed or filled with emotion, I eat (usually something sugary) and I eat in multiples (not one or two cookies, think like five or six, multiple times in a day).  Not so bad every now and then.  But daily, not so good.

These last two months I have remained at the same number, 165.  Still a good number considering 9 months ago I was at 183.  But I had made an overall goal that by the time my youngest turns one, I would be down to 155.  I haven't been there since I got married 11 years ago.

Because I got so focused on the number changing, I was stressing myself out, which is counterproductive.  Not to mention, if I looked at my diet and lack of exercise it told a lot more of the story.

But even beyond that, I began to realize really where I was at truly.  You see, I have a shirt that I love to wear for bed.  It's really comfy and it makes nursing easier.  However, the shirt that I wear for bed, I used to wear right after my son was born.  When I used to wear it, it was tight and probably not real attractive.  Now, it's probably two sizes too big and slides off my shoulders.  This means that my body shape has begun to change.

Even more so, I went shopping for shorts this Summer.  You are probably thinking big deal, shorts for Summer.  Well for me, I am typically not a fan of shorts.  I never felt comfortable in them and never thought my legs looked good enough.  Most Summers I wear capri shorts if I am going anywhere.  But this Summer, I finally have the confidence to wear shorts and I love it.  Looking more at shorts, I recently got a pair that are a size 9.  A size 9!  I've not been able to wear a size 9 since, high school maybe even middle school.  That means I am loosing inches.

Luckily, during one of the times when I was on a plateau for my weight loss, I decided to take my measurements.  Because when it comes down to it, those numbers can be even more telling.  In four months I've lost 2 inches around my waist (belly button area), 1 inch in the area between my hips and butt, 1 inch around my hips, 1 inch around each arm, and 2 1/2 inches around each leg.  To me, these numbers are even more telling than what is on the scale.

While it's good to see the number on the scale change, the inches around areas can really do more.  I am able to fit in sizes, both shirts and shorts, I've not fit in for well over a decade.  Beyond the inches and numbers, I find my energy level is better, my mood is lighter and more balanced, I have more confidence (not only in what I can do, but how I look and feel), and as long as my kids sleep well, so do I.

Getting healthier is a lifestyle change.  When we stumble, sometimes we snowball.  But keeping a bigger goal in mind is what it takes for us to keep going.  Sure, I have a goal weight that I want to get to.  But beyond that, the outcome of the lifestyle change far outweighs any number than can show up on the scale.  The boost in confidence, energy, mood, perspective.  For the first time, in a long time, I truly feel beautiful.  Not because the number on the scale, but because how I feel and the long term perspective.

I encourage you to look beyond the number on the scale, especially when it isn't going the direction you are hoping for.  How do you feel compared to when you started? What is your mood like now?  What are your measurements? How do you feel: mind, body, spirit?  These are some things to think about.  But above all, remember that you are beautiful, strong, and confident.