A for Effort


     As we go into the first official “Weigh In Wednesday” tomorrow I want us to all stay mindful that though the scales can help us see how we are progressing toward our goal they should not be the only, or even the most important, measure of daily success.

     Weigh-ins are often very encouraging at the beginning of a weight loss effort. After a day or two of dieting and exercise the scales can drop by pounds in a day. However, this rate of change is temporary. If you have tried loosing weight before, you have probably noticed that often the pounds come off more quickly in the first days or weeks and then the rate slows considerably. Why is that?

     Part of the reason is that “water weight” or bloating begins to drop off as we begin to eat in a healthier way and exercise. The water can be lost rapidly. Fat burning, however, is not a quick process. It takes effort and time.  3000 calories must be burned to lose each pound of fat. 1 hour of Zumba or skating burns about 600 calories and even if you cut your daily calorie intake by several hundred calories, losses of a pound a day are unrealistic. In addition, if you have gone from a somewhat stagnant lifestyle to an active lifestyle, you will begin to build muscle and muscle weighs more than fat. Building muscle is a good thing. Keep this up! A muscular body burns more calories, runs more efficiently, and looks much better in a bathing suit.(wink)

     The above is not said to discourage. Quite the opposite. If you have seen weight loss be pleased! Celebrate! …but be mindful that as the rate of loss tapers off, that doesn’t mean you are doing something “wrong” or are “failing”.

     I want to encourage you this week to use a tape measure to take body measurements, if you haven’t already done so. Measure neck, bust, waist, hips, and thigh. As you go through the weight loss process and build a leaner body these measurements may prove to be a more effective means of noting your true progress.

     More importantly, I want you to shift your emphasis. Though you will continue to weigh and measure, I want your focus to be not on your perceived progress but on your efforts.

     The body can be unpredictable. Hormones, sodium intake, illness, and many other factors play into what the number on the scale reads. As long as you are eating a healthy reduced calorie diet and exercising at increased rates or frequency, you will lose weight. Start to measure your success not in pounds but in minutes, miles, and calories. Go back to your action steps. Review your journaling of calories or points or carbs or whatever you are using to measure your food intake. Take a look at what activities you finished from the blog suggestions. Did you write down what exercise you did?

     Each day that you met a goal give your self an A+! Seriously! Really! Right Now! Go to your journal and use a red pen or marker to give yourself an A.  Did you not meet the goal entirely? Give yourself a comment. “Good try!” “Getting Closer!” “Lots of effort!” Did you at least mark your results? Give yourself credit for that, too!

     When my kids were little I began to purchase stickers to encourage them in their chores. I liked the stickers, they were fun! I bought more for all sorts of reasons. I put them on envelopes, packages, in school lunches. I still have a bunch of those stickers. I have gone back thru my journal and have added stickers to celebrate success! Stickers that say things like! Awesome! Way to Go! You did it! I even have gold stars for extra special efforts!

     Got stickers? No. Got $1? Pick some up at Dollar Tree or Walmart. Learn to celebrate yourself, to give yourself credit for your efforts! Consistent effort IS an accomplishment and will lead to success!

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Anita
    Jan 10, 2012 @ 23:34:00

    Hey My friend…Do I use a scale at home or weigh at the DR. ? Can’t weight (lol) to start losing this big spare tire(s)…


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