I am approaching my 14 month anniversary of having surgery and changing my life. As I start looking back at what I have accomplished – I am really happy and satisfied with my journey so far. Some days are awesome – some days I struggle with things – but I get up and do my best and that is really all that I can ask of myself. For the first eight months, it was really fun stepping on the scale and watching it slowly but surely head downward. I really felt accomplished and like I was doing something. Plus, seeing the number go down – not every week, but most – I knew that this was a way to measure success.
Speaking of measuring that success – I was also celebrating it. One thing about this journey that has been eye-opening is how much of my life I have had to change in order to be successful. You can not just change what you are eating or add any extra workout here or there. You really have to change your lifestyle and stick with your plan. You can alter things here and there….but there really is no abandoning your plan. You can’t just stick with it Monday through Friday – it’s got to be a total life change. So – one thing that I had to change early on – was how I celebrated things. Typically we celebrated big life milestones by eating. We would go out to eat and stuff ourselves and somehow eating this meal was supposed to commemorate something big in our lives. That doesn’t really work for me anymore. So – in the beginning I would set small goals. If I lost 20 pounds I would get myself something – a new outfit, a bag, a lipstick. When I lost 50 pounds I would up the ante a little bit and get myself a bigger ticket item. For 100 pounds I wanted to get myself something that cost $100. This system worked well for me – but honestly, I ran out of money and material things started to have less value.
Now I am in place where I am not losing weight – so how do I celebrate? Having a system set up was motivating and something to look forward to. I am finding that maintenance is – so far – the hardest part of my journey so, I really needed something to keep me on track and working toward my goals. What I came up with is pretty simple – but working for me. Now I celebrate Non-Scale Victories. A Non-Scale Victory – has – like it sounds – nothing to do with the number on the scale. Instead, you celebrate what you can do because of how far you have come. For example – I would never have been able to run a 5k in the shape I was prior to surgery. Well, actually, I think I could have – but I would not have been able to keep improving my running and times and enjoying running, period – if I had not lost the weight.
Another example would be recently I took my kiddos to the trampoline park. It was a total blast. When we went up to register and pay – I noticed the rules and warnings sign. One line on that sign immediately sent my heart rate soaring and I actually starting sweating. There was a 250 pound weight limit to jump on the trampolines. Before my surgery, I would have had to stand on the sidelines and watch my kiddos have all the fun. Anything with a weight or size limit made me feel sick to my oversized stomach. Even writing about it right now is giving me all the feels and NOT the good ones. The last time I went to Disney and Universal – I had the same moment of dread when I went on a ride and the safety strap was so tight I could hardly breath. Being able to enjoy these activities and not have an anxiety attack over if I will fit or break a fricken trampoline is a HUGE non-scale victory for me.
Recently I am realizing that I have more non-scale victories to celebrate. I can now walk up multiple flights of stairs without needing a break or being completely out of breath when I get to where I am going. I can play basketball (not well) for 45 minutes without feeling like I am going to die. Some other non-scale victories that I am now realizing are victories are being able to be comfortable in my clothes. Not having to wear something just because it fits. This feeling is glorious!! Life it way to short to be uncomfortable. Recently I have also realized that choosing healthier options also counts as a non-scale win. I feel this way because picking something healthy to put into my body reflects the lifestyle change that I have committed to. Being able to lift heavier weights and do a few more push ups are a big non-scale win for me too. Again, I am understanding that these things can happen because I am dedicated to working my plan and winning in the long run.
There is no doubt that this journey has been a challenge. That being said it has been filled with lots of positives. Each of my non-scale victories has almost been as exciting as stepping on that scale and seeing a smaller number. What I am learning is that I am so much more than a number that had defined me for so so so long. Being able to break that chain and focus on other things has been so liberating. I am feeling good about being healthy and I am not associating being healthy with a number – that is a big NSV for me!!