Monthly Archives: March 2012

How to Measure Success…..

First off, sorry for the prolonged absence from the blog these past few weeks.  Unfortunately, I was stricken down with a wicked case of walking pneumonia with double ear infections that knocked me, quite literally, on my ass. And it has taken me a lot longer to get back up and going than even I thought it would. Add on the minutiae of life and some other stuff that’s going on and all of a sudden posting on my blog wasn’t on the highest of priority lists for me. I apologize, dear reader, and hope to be much better about being on the bandwagon of blogging and sharing recipes and updating food stuff and talking about the paleo lifestyle.

One of the things that I’ve been thinking about a lot since we started to seriously change our eating habits and strategies has been “how do you measure victories, scale related and not”?   Obviously, when weight loss is one of your active goals for a lifestyle change, the scale figures into your life.  Whether you weight yourself obsessively 10 times a day, or you weigh yourself once a week, or even every two weeks, the little digital number on the scale going DOWN is the biggest “in your face” indicator of success.  (I would, of course, prefer to see the number on the scale go down in 10 pound increments on a weekly basis, but let’s face it, that just ain’t realistic.)  But the scale isn’t the only way to measure your weight loss success.  This is something that I’ve been struggling with over the past few weeks as my husband is losing weight at a much more rapid pace than I am.  Now, that’s not to say I’m not doing pretty well, too, it’s just that the number on that scale isn’t going down as much for me as it is for him. And honestly it can be somewhat demoralizing.

When we first started eating paleo, it was post holidays, I knew I had been eating like absolute shit (consuming fast food, starchy foods, pastas, lots of simple carbs, cookies and alcohol).  I also knew that if I stepped on the scale right away, I would probably have a heart attack at the number and give up immediately, thinking that there was no way I could make any type of progress.  So for the first 3 weeks that we were starting to change our eating habits, I didn’t weigh myself.  I gave myself an interlude, if you will, to start making healthy choices without the pressure of that digital number staring me in the face on the scale.  I did my first “official” weigh in on February 9, 2012, and even after a few weeks of eating better, and starting to feel better, I wasn’t happy with where I was at. But it spurned me on to at least keep trying, because I knew I had made progress in the past weeks. My pants weren’t as tight. I moved with more ease. I had a bit less back pain.

Since that first weigh in, we have continued to eat paleo (yes, with some slip ups and some cheat days and even an evening at a wedding where I ate some of the cake — and oh God was it delicious!). I try to weigh myself no more than once per week, since I know my body well enough to know that there are daily fluctuations depending on everything from hormones, period weight, having a cocktail the night before, etc. With these weekly (and sometimes even biweekly) weigh ins, I’ve hit the point where I’ve lost 27 pounds.  I see that number and have a  lot of different feelings about it — elation at the fact that 27 pounds is a big fucking deal and I’m not carrying it around with me anymore.  Disappointment because I wish it was a little bit more.  A lot of fear because I know that I’ve gotten to this point before, where I’ve had success at losing weight and then fall off the bandwagon again, thinking that I can afford a cheat day, which turns into a cheat weekend, which turns into a cheat week, and all of a sudden that forward momentum is gone.  There’s also fear, too, because I see the 27 pounds as just a drop in the bucket of what I’d like to lose and where I’d like to eventually end up. It is so much, and yet it really isn’t at the same time.

And then, a few days ago, something happened that made me see beyond the 27 pounds, to see that my body really was changing in a way that was moving toward my long-term goals — I put on my jeans, jeans that I wore almost daily, after they had been washed and dried, and would be at their tightest.  And they were literally sliding down my hips.  To the point where I had concerns that my pants were going to fall off, leaving me showing off my undies to the world, or maybe just my dog since I hadn’t left the house.  I thought it was a fluke at first (because of course my first thought is that it’s a fluke and my success isn’t showing in that way) and so I tried on another pair of jeans — a pair from my “skinner days” if you can call them that.  And they fit. Pretty comfortably.  They weren’t loose, by any stretch of the imagination, but they were comfortable. And I could sit in them. And stand in them. And not be out of breath wearing them.  And so I started to pay a bit more attention to my body in the mirror and noticed that the visible changes were there — smaller love handles, definitely loss of inches around my waist and a slightly smaller butt.

When I was going to Weight Watchers, they called these the “non scale victories or NSV” and the leaders usually made a big deal of them and we all clapped and patted ourselves on the back for them.  Once, one of my NSV was literally not eating cake that had been in the break room at work for someone’s going away party — at the time, it was a big fucking deal. I wanted to devour that cake, but I didn’t.  Over the past week or so, as I started to really pay attention to how my clothes were fitting, and how I looked in the mirror before a shower (and let’s face it, standing naked in front of a mirror and actually looking at yourself can be one of the most terrifying things in the world), I realized that while I had gotten hung up on the number on the scale, some of these little “non scale victories” were passing me by and that I needed to enjoy them too.

What are your non-scale victories, if you’re trying to lose weight or change your lifestyle? What types of things do you look to for inspiration when the number you see on the scale isn’t where you would like it to be?

One of my inspirations? Other people’s blogs. I read a bunch of blogs on a daily basis, for recipes, books, knitting, etc., but there are a few that have become personal favorites. The one I like the most is Holly Would If She Could. Patrick actually got me reading this blog by sending me a link from Reddit to one of her pages where she had listed 30 Paleo friendly crockpot recipes she wanted to try. After a bit of digging and about 3 hours of reading her thoughts, I felt like I knew her. Holly writes with an honesty about her body and herself that I would love to have flow freely and is funny and sarcastic and measures in just the right amount of self-deprecation and positivity. I highly recommend you check her blog out, and her twitter feed too.  She reminds me of Jennifer Garner in the way that I feel like if she lived in Chicago (or for some reason I lived in California) and we crossed paths, we would be friends.  Her blog, like Pioneer Woman, has become one of the ones that I save to read last because I know I’ll always enjoy it. So please, check it out:)