As the New Year is rapidly approaching, I have of course been thinking about all the things I want to accomplish in 2020. In starting to set my intentions for the next twelve months though, I suddenly realized how important it also is to take a second and reflect on all goals I was able to cross of my list this past year. I think sometimes in the crazy, hectic, fast-paced world we live in we don’t spend enough time absorbing and praising ourselves for our successes before hurriedly moving on to the next item on our checklist. In thinking about the ways that I have grown and evolved this year, I was struck by how setting out on my journey to lose ten pounds almost two years has created such an unexpected but extremely positive ripple effect on my life. Two years ago my one and only motivation was to lose weight. I had no clue whatsoever that I would end up gaining so much more than I lost.
In taking a second to reflect back, the things that I have gained can’t really be qualified by a number on the scale or the size of the pants I now fit into but they have come to mean so much more to me than any number possibly could. I think back two years and I shake my head a bit at who I was then not because I had gained weight but because the only reason I decided to get in shape was that I was ashamed of the number staring back at me on the scale. It wasn’t because I was sick all the time. Or almost at the point of being a shut-in because my anxiety was so bad. Nope, it was because I was horrified that I had to buy pants two sizes larger than I thought I should be wearing. I quickly though remind myself that if it wasn’t for that version of me, the more superficial version if you will, I would not be here today wanting to shout from the roof tops about how making that decision to lose the weight was one of the best decisions of my life.
So today I wanted to talk about what has come to be commonly referred to as non-scale victories. If you have never heard that term before, it truly means exactly what you would think…. successes that have nothing to do with that stupid number on a scale. For me, when I sat down to write this post I was almost instantly overwhelmed by how many things popped into my mind when thinking about all of my own non-scale victories. I even find myself getting a little emotional sitting here writing this post today because these successes truly mean the world to me. I want to share a few of the NSV’s that have come to mean the most to me in hopes that if you or someone else out there is just about to embark on your own journey for the first of fourteenth time you will maybe be more inclined to stick with it even on the days you just don’t feel all that motivated to do so. So in no particular order, see below for my top 3 favorite NSV’s:
I regained a healthy relationship with food…
For years and years, food was my enemy. I hated to eat. I obsessed over everything I did eat and I was sure to count every gram of fat in everything that did make in onto my plate, every single day. Looking back now I probably had a borderline eating disorder. Ok, maybe not so much borderline. There was a while there I was sub-100 pounds and most definitely struggling with my body image in a major way. And then it was like a switch flipped. Because I had been so strict with myself for so long, because I had deprived myself for years and years, all of a sudden, I did a 180 and started eating anything and everything I wanted. For the year or so before I made the decision to lose the weight I had put on, my daily diet basically consisted of fast food for breakfast, fast food for lunch and Chinese take out for dinner. Oh, and don’t forget the two Venti Starbucks Caramel Macchiato’s I washed everything down with. Every. Single. Day. No surprise I gained those ten pounds huh? When I finally got fed up with myself and decided to start exercising and watching what I ate again, I was able to find a healthy medium. Nowadays, I don’t deprive myself or obsess over every calorie I eat but I do for the most part focus on eating whole, nutritious food that facilitates my ability to workout consistently, keeps my energy levels up and helps keep me healthy all the way around. Over the past two years, food has slowly but surely become my ally, not my enemy. I have started to really enjoy cooking healthy recipes and meal prepping so I am sure to stick to my goals even outside of my house. I eat without guilt. And I respect my body enough to be careful about what I am putting in it not because of how afraid I am to gain a pound or two but because I treasure my health so much that I want to do everything I possibly can to take the best care of it possible!
Got my mental health under control…
As I have talked about in previous posts, I have struggled with anxiety and panic attacks for many years. In the year or two before my “get healthy” journey started, I was REALLY struggling. Like at least one pretty debilitating panic attack a day struggling. Most days it was more than one. I was almost at the point that I was afraid to leave my house because it wasn’t a matter of if an attack was going to happen, but when and how bad would it be. I was embarrassed. I was shutting myself off from people because having an attack in public for me was completely mortifying. I felt weak, out of control and ashamed. A few months into me working out consistently and eating better I noticed my anxiety lessening. Over the past two years, I have weaned myself off the anxiety meds I was taking almost daily and to date haven’t had a full-blown panic attack in months if not maybe over a year. The most beautiful part is I feel fully in control of my life again. If you suffer from mental illness of any kind and have come out the other side of it you know how amazingly freeing and truly priceless having that control back is. Your mental and physical health are so intertwined you guys. Sometimes you don’t even realize how much your mind is craving an outlet for the stress it is under on a constant basis. My daily workouts are such a huge stress reliever for me and give me that outlet that keeps me calm, happy and feeling like there is nothing I can’t deal with anymore.
I am so much more driven to succeed…
In the past two years I have gotten a promotion, completed 2 certification courses and am currently working on a third, bought a car and even bought a house. Oh, and I started a blog! 😊 I truly feel like the sky is the limit for me at this point in my life and I honestly don’t think any of those things would have happened if I hadn’t decided to get healthy. Basically, pre-happy and healthy Beth, I was just getting by, barely getting by at that. I didn’t have much ambition, I wasn’t all that motivated to better myself or advance my life in any way, and because I just generally didn’t have much energy most days, I just tried my best to make it through the day. I was surviving you guys, but by no means thriving. Fast forward to the present day and I am almost bubbling over with energy and excitement about knocking down more of my goals. I want to use every second of every day putting energy into things that bring me one step closer to achieving the all the things I once thought impossible. I have grown and accomplished so much over the past two years that I now know there really isn’t anything I can’t do if I set my mind to it. Probably most importantly, I’m proud of myself for the first time in a long, long time. And oh man what a cool feeling that is!!
And those are just my top three NSV’s! I am also sleeping a ton better, I get sick significantly less that I had been before, and I’m all around just a happier, better human being. It really hit me how far I have come emotionally and mentally on this journey when I went to the doctors the other day to get my knee looked at (anyone out there have any advice about re-occuring knee pain when running I would love to hear it!) and of course got weighed upon arrival. I actually have gained about four pounds over the past six or so month and not only am I ok with this I am actually happy about it! I am putting on muscle mass and muscle well just flat outweighs something. It actually weighs more than fat so it makes perfect sense that the number on the scale is higher than it has been in a while. Seeing a higher number on the scale and not instantly freaking out is so telling of how far I have become because my previous self would have been utterly freaking out at seeing that I had gained weight. I probably wouldn’t have eaten anything but crackers for a week and obsessed about the calories even in those. The new and improved version of me gave myself a mental high five and thought how happy I was that the strength training program, Hammer and Chisel, that I had just completed over the past 8 weeks had paid off!!
What is comes down to you guys is that I am a much healthier version of me all the way around…. mentally, emotionally, and of course physically. I am focused on being healthy, not skinny. I have made the connection between my mental and emotional health and that of my physical well-being. My goal weight now is healthy, not rail thin! So now I want to hear about you!!! What are you proud of that you accomplished this past year? What are some of your resolutions for next year? Do you even make resolutions? I would love to hear about it all!And finally, Happy Holidays you guys!! Thank you as always for all your amazing support over this past year…here’s to a happy, healthy and successful 2020!!