Home LIFESTYLE A Year of Health: the importance of celebrating small successes

A Year of Health: the importance of celebrating small successes


Tamara Markard
Greeley Tribune, Colo.

Well, it’s been nearly two months since I started my journey into living healthy and the war on weight.

And while I would love to say this process has been a breeze and the weight has been falling off in droves, I have had some ups and downs over the past couple weeks.

The second week of February I was on fire. I was working out 5 days per week, I had prepped 30 days of meals and I added running to my exercise routine.

I was so committed to this process that I had no doubt that I was going to see a big ol’ loss on the scale.

Nay, good friends, nay.

I stepped on the scale and saw that I had lost a whopping four ounces. FOUR. OUNCES.

After confirming that four ounces is indeed larger than a Tic-Tac, I told myself that a four ounce loss is better than a four ounce gain and all the ounces add up.

The next week, I hit a bump in the road where I had a bit of food poisoning and couldn’t keep anything down. That, combined with the freezing temperatures and lack of desire to leave my house to go exercise, I ended up gaining 1.7 lbs.

After gaining back a bit of the weight that I had lost, I had my doubts when trainer D’Ann took my girth measurements the following week.

While she wasn’t surprised that I had lost inches, I surely was after experiencing a disastrous week.

At my initial measurements on Jan. 11, my waist came in at 41″, hips at 47″ and chest at 46″.

Nearly a month later on Feb. 15, my waist measured 40″, hips at 45″ and my chest measured 45″. Those numbers combined with the loss of two inches in my thighs totaled an overall loss of seven inches and 3% of my body fat.

While I gained in weight, the loss of inches reminded me that this process is more than just numbers on a scale or measuring tape. Unfortunately, we tend to focus so much on the numbers and not on what really matters — how you feel.

It’s counting the little wins like successfully meal prepping, sleeping better, breathing easier when I run and feeling more focused and alert.

It’s congratulating myself for not beating myself up for a setback or seeing myself as a failure, and being proud of myself for readjusting my attitude and refocusing on my goal.

I had the fire back in my belly and I was determined to lose those pesky 1.7 lbs. I had gained.

The next week showed my commitment to this project and myself because I ended up losing 5.6 pounds.

Believe me, I was shocked when I stood on the scale and saw 201.2 flash across the screen.

I am not a person who luck tends to favor (I’m a Minnesota Vikings fan), so I stepped off the scale, reset it and weighed myself again.

Same result —201.2 pounds.

I changed the batteries just to be sure and grabbed Don Luigi, whose weight consistently stands 22 pounds, to see what the scale showed for him.

Yep, 22 pounds flashed across the screen.

Because the third time’s a charm, I took a deep breath and stepped on the scale.

Again, 201.2 lit up the screen in light blue numbers.

I called my mom to tell her my findings and to inform her that my scale was probably lying.

“It’s not lying, you’ve been working really hard,” my mom reiterated to me. “Look how many times you exercised last week and you stayed on your meal plan. I’m not surprised you lost that much.”

Obviously, my mom is biased so she can’t be trusted — and she’s never met my lying scale, so there’s that.

I sent trainer D’Ann a report of my weekly exercise log and current weight, along with a note that I was skeptical about the large loss because, again, scales lie.

“When you do everything right, you will see results,” trainer D’Ann assured me.

I have spent so many years doing the wrong things — crash diets, not varying my exercise routine, not caring about my health— that when I started to do the right things and see results, fear crept in and made me doubt my success and hard work.

So, beginning at 214 pounds in January and weighing in at 201.2 in the last week of February, I have lost a total of 12.8 pounds, which puts me slightly over my 5-pound-per-month goal.

Some of the things that these past two months have taught me is that I have to be able to live and not become a slave to my weightloss. As in anything, there will be ups and downs, losses and gains, good days and bad days, and that is all part of life.

Losing this weight and getting healthy isn’t just a yearlong process and that’s it, I’m done. This is a lifelong process that I will need to continue forever. Eating the right portions, continuing to exercise and monitoring my weight, both on a scale and using a tape measure, are what’s going to help me stay healthy and keep the weight off.

This process isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon and there will be times that I hit a plateau, feel frustrated, and not move any marks. That’s life. The key is to not give up and keep moving forward. Remember, this isn’t a “diet,” this is a lifestyle change.

As a serial dieter whose weight has yo-yoed over the years, I am well aware that it’s way easier said than done.

But it’s taking those successes, no matter how small, and using them to fuel your determination.


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