Thursday, January 03, 2013
I got a fortune cookie a while ago, and I saved the little fortune so I could put it on my Spark Page. It just made so much sense:
"Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently."
I've always thought of myself as a fairly intelligent person, and yet this simple truth has escaped me on more than one occasion. Failure is not the end. Failure is only when I stop trying. So if I keep starting again -- whether it's after making some progress, or starting waaaaay back at the beginning -- then, by default, I must have learned something along the failure path that will enable me to be slightly more intelligent in the restart. (Really, I'll take any intelligence increase I can get my hands on.)
I guess when I think about it, I have learned many things that _don't_ work for me in the quest to lose weight and be healthy. "Fast and easy," for example, does not work. I repeat: DOES NOT WORK. I would repeat it one hundred times if I had to, because...yep, it DOES. NOT. WORK. Whether in weight loss or any other area of life, that which comes easily is rarely appreciated or treasured. (Think of when kids save their own money to purchase something they really want -- they agonize over each dollar spent, and take extra-good care of the item because they know exactly how much it cost them in money, effort to earn the money, patience in waiting for enough money to accumulate, etc.)
As I started to list my plans for this year's personal goals (something I've never done before), I thought it might be a good idea to take a look at what I changed this past year to see what worked and what didn't. I'm pleased to say that most of what I looked at was a vast improvement from the Old Me, mostly because I started trying. Going from nothing to something will always show positive results, so I win in that category by default.
*I lost 25 pounds from January 1, 2012 to January 1, 2013. I actually lost a little more than that, but put on some weight during the Christmas/New Year time. Live and learn.
*I lost a total of 13.25 inches overall in body measurements. OK, maybe another 1/2 inch because I think I'm getting shorter, but let's not dwell on that. The good inches lost are broken down to 4.5" off my waist, 4.5" off my hips, 1.25" off my thighs, 2" off my calf, and an inch off my upper arm. This translated into losing almost two clothing sizes. Victory!
*I started to exercise regularly, and for the past 7 months have not logged under 500 exercise minutes per month. Many months were higher when the weather was nice, but at least I'm still being consistent with what I can do inside with videos.
*I biked 1,163.63 miles in the past 8 months. Yes, I found an exercise I enjoy! My average bike ride increased from 4 gasping, exhausting miles per ride to 20 or more exhilarating miles per ride with time being the limiting factor, rather than endurance.
*I began to do strength training 2-3 days per week and stayed semi-consistent with it. Not a total victory there, but getting better.
*I started logging in my nutrition and became much, much more aware of what I'm eating, how much water I'm drinking, and what splurges are worth it (or not). (For the record, eggnog is worth it. Halloween candy is not. My own baking is worth it. Most other people's baking is not. Not bragging, just choosy.)
There are victories all around me if I'm willing to look at them in light of where I was this time last year. I didn't meet all my goals, vague as they were, and I could probably pinpoint exactly why, without looking too hard.
*I didn't meet my weight loss goal of 62# by the end of the year. It may have been unrealistic, but I think the initial weight loss was easier (most of it was during the first quarter of the year) and I got lazy about being disciplined in my eating. Had I been more consistent, I think that total would have been reachable.
*I didn't always fit in my strength training days. Again, this was more a matter of forgetting (the habit is not ingrained yet) or just not using my available time efficiently.
*I didn't always stop eating when I was full, and didn't always stop eating when I was out of calories for the day. This is something I've always struggled with, and while I am not where I'd like to be, I do rejoice in the fact that I am much better about it than I have ever been, and I don't let the bad meal become a bad day or a bad week or a give-up-forever moment.
I'm going to declare 2012 a victorious year for me. To misquote Ronald Reagan, "Are you better now than you were a year ago?" I am definitely better. And I hope to say the same next January.