I’ve been struggling to find what I want to say for this post because, in all honesty, I’ve been a bit discouraged this week. I think what I need to share on this second post about finding my beach body is the truth: sometimes going on a fitness or health or any type of journey can be discouraging. If I were to give this post a subtitle, I’d call it: Pushing Through Discouragement to Find the Sunshine.
If you didn’t read my first post, feel free to jump backwards and take a look at it before you see how my one month update is coming along. To recap, I invited all our amazing readers to join me on a three month challenge to find your beach body. Again, I truly think every body is a beach body and you don’t have to hide yourself if you want to go enjoy the beach (or the pool or the lake, etc.). For me and maybe for others, the decision to go on a health journey stems from wanting to create better overall health and avoid the potential health problems I’ve seen crop up in my family over the years. So I decided this was the year I would work toward better overall health, and to do that, I’m working on developing a better diet and creating a sustainable exercise habit that will continue long after I achieve any aesthetic goals.
So moving right along, I wanted to share how my first month of this challenge has gone.
My initial plan was to focus on regular, daily exercise and to monitor my weight weekly to make assessments on my progress. In the last four weeks, I saw some good progress by doing daily exercise on my exercise bike and alternating that with workout videos from the FitOn App. I’ve seen some increased muscle definition, which was a pleasant surprise, and I dropped three pounds. I was very pleased with this slow but steady progress until…I weighed in last Thursday and had gained back two pounds.
You can imagine how difficult it was for me to come back and admit that I worked really hard for four weeks, exercised daily for at least 30 minutes, and then can only really say I lost one pound in that time. I’m sure if you’ve ever dieted and/or exercised you’ve experienced the same disappointment from having a gain instead of a loss.
If you can relate to this, I’d love to share a few tips to give you some encouragement on your own journey. The great part about this is that you can apply these tips to many different goals, not just fitness related ones.
One of the things that has kept me on track during my fitness challenge has been keeping a log of both my meals and my exercise. I generally write down what kind of exercise I do, the duration, and what meals I eat along with any snacks in my planner. This is a great way to keep track of any changes to my routine without having to be incredibly strict about calorie counting on MyFitnessPal. Having a loose record of my eating and exercise habits definitely helped me see when my nightly snacks became a bit bigger, like over the last week and a half when I started eating more peanut butter than usual. (I blame the delicious dark chocolate and white chocolate flavors of the brand I’ve been buying!)
Another thing that helps me out with my challenge is journaling. I spend my mornings writing in a journal and jotting down things I notice about my body and my challenge. I don’t put too much thought into it, but it does help me be more mindful about what’s happening inside my body because I’m writing down things like how well I slept or if my stomach felt funky the night before. Recently I’ve noted things like how awful I felt after we had some McDonald’s for dinner on a night when I didn’t feel up to cooking. Other things I’ve written down have included those times I felt more bloated than usual. Writing all this down helps me to piece together evidence of why the scales may not be doing what I want, and it calms me down from my tendency to obsess and stress when the scale number increases.
Last but not least, I like to remind myself of different “non-scale victories” (or NSV for short) I’ve achieved and continued to see. Think of these as ways your body changes and the evidence you see outside of a number on the scale that tells you you’re making progress. This is a very popular way to track your fitness progress in forums for diet and fitness, and I’ve visualized and written down some of the NSVs I want to see or continue to see as I go on this journey. As an example, just this weekend I got to experience the NSV of wearing shorts that don’t fit me properly anymore because they’re too big. What a great feeling, y’all! Another one that I’ve noticed and continued to experience is having more visible collarbones and hip bones. Knowing I have these NSVs to give evidence to my growing health and fitness is such a boost when I’m feeling down.
I sometimes have to remind myself that the number on the scale isn’t the end-all, be-all indicator of health. Health and fitness have many different measurements, and if I focus on just one number, I tend to become obsessive. I know the how-to of weight loss that works for me, and I’m committed to continuing this challenge.