I do a monthly weigh-in, and I took a deep breath before stepping on the scale the other day. I reminded myself of what I wrote last week (about rethinking maintenance), including that while the number on the scale is an indicator of how things are going, it’s just one of many.
The big picture is that I’ve done – and continue to do – incredible things, so I’m gonna try to not equate a smaller number with success, or a larger number with failure. Nor will I make any judgments regarding self-worth, positive or negative, after reading the scale.
And with that reminder coursing through my veins, I stepped on the scale.
Down one pound. I won’t lie – it felt good. But I did what I promised myself, and refused to attach any greater significance to it. And, when I drew the new dot on my weight loss chart, and the downward line to connect it to the previous dot, it felt even better. The point of my weight loss chart is to see the big picture, all at once, so I relished adding this loss, because it will always be there, on my wall.
A weight of 246 pounds means I’ve lost a total of 156 pounds and kept off for over four years. Nice.
(The blue section of my chart that you saw in my maintenance post was, like the dinosaurs in “Jurassic World,” computer-generated imagery.)
The other half of my monthly data-collecting is my Workout Progress Report, and I actually wasn’t looking forward to crunching those numbers. Turns out, though, that I had a couple things to celebrate!
I log all my workouts on a calendar. Each workout gets a dot, and I scribble some notes alongside to remind myself what I did. At the end of each month, I count up my dots. My goal is to work out 6 days every week, which works out to be 85% of the total days in a month.
Here’s July, with my toesies sneaking into the picture:
Count up the dots and there’s 25 of them. 25/31 is 80% – a tad low, but pretty good.
The reason why I wasn’t looking forward to this progress report is because I had a crummy day on Friday, the 31st. I went to bed on the 30th with big workout plans for the next day: my first time swimming laps in two months (read about my last pool outing here).
The next morning, I felt achy, tired, and sore. I’ve been at this long enough to know when my body needs a rest day, and I’m good at listening to it, so I decided to take a rest day. By early evening, though, I realized that I felt good – and was actually craving a workout – but by then it was too late. I had to finish work stuff and had plans that night, so there was no time to exercise.
I gotta be better at rolling with the punches, because this situation gnawed at me for the next two days. Ultimately, I know it’s fine that I took that rest day. I know I’ll resume working out the day after – I’ve worked out every day since – but I let feelings of inadequacy and guilt (for not pushing through and exercising when I had the chance) fester for days. It wasn’t until I had two excellent workouts under my belt that I felt better about myself.
As I said in that maintenance post last week, I set high standards for myself, and this is the perfect example of how I need to focus on letting go of the little stuff and celebrating the big picture. One missed workout isn’t going to ruin me. And, even if I had done it, I still wouldn’t have reached my 85% goal – I’d be just shy at 84%.
So it was a pleasant surprise when I realized I had set two other 2015 personal bests in July.
One was that 12 of the 25 workouts were weightlifting workouts – beating my high of nine in February. I had done lots of cardio in June and early July, on my trips to Sweden, Denver, and Michigan, so I was ready for some strength training. The Bowflex Summer Strong Challenge (today is Day 29 out of 30!) is strength-based, and that really helped, too.
The other personal best involved my Cardio Miles. I log the distance I cover doing all forms of cardio (running, biking, hiking, elliptical, etc.) and add it up every month – and occasionally use the data to write really fun posts about maps.
I started July with 1,654.5 total miles, and ended it with 1734.9 – that’s 80.4 new miles during July! That’s a new 2015 high, beating 71.2 miles in June! The number is high because while in Michigan, I borrowed my dad’s bike and went 35 miles during three workouts. Since I don’t even have a bike of my own, this number will drop this month. But that’s fine, because I have something new to think about…
The stair racing off-season is over. Today marks the first day of training for the upcoming fall races. Don’t you worry… I’ll be sharing much more about this in the weeks and months to come!
Keep it up, David!