Friday, January 31, 2020

Celebrating Non-Scale Victories Important to Weight Loss

Hello everyone! I hit a new milestone this week: Down 75 pounds! That’s since March 2019! I still have a long way to go (55 more pounds), but I’m so happy with how I feel coming this far. Especially because January wasn’t a kind month. Lots of gloomy clouds and little snow or sun. I spent a week hardly moving because of back pain, and then I got a stomach virus. That may account for some of my weight loss, but I’m determined to keep it off now that I’m starting to feel better. Oh, and the Chiefs made the Super Bowl! Whoo-hoo!

I’ve learned in this journey it's important to celebrate non-scale victories (NSVs) along the way. Why? Because the scale is a fickle instrument that doesn’t always tell the truth! You can do everything right and still not lose weight, or, the horror of horrors, have a gain. There are too many variables such as fluid retention, medications, and exercise that impact scale numbers. So, it’s key to look at the big picture through NSVs. 

These NSVs can be large or small. I’ll give you some examples from my trip to Hawaii in November when I was down 65 pounds.

First NSV: No seatbelt extender on the airplane! I fit in the seat just fine! That was the first time in years I wasn’t embarrassed to be on an airplane.

I met the weight limit to go on a helicopter tour of Kauai! 

I was also able to walk up to 20,000 steps a day without a problem. Sure, I was tired at the end of the day, but a year ago, I couldn’t walk a quarter of that way without having to take a break because my hips and knees hurt. 

I could buy souvenir shirts in a size L or XL instead of the hard-to-find 2X or 3X I needed before. I also hung out on the beach in a swimsuit without feeling embarrassed! Big NSV for me!

However, my biggest NSV on the trip was climbing to the top of Diamond Head. (That's my boyfriend, Greg, who was on the trip with me.) Now, if you’re a serious hiker, this is probably an easy journey for you. But for a beginner like me, the 560-feet climb was a challenge. My biggest fear was the steep 99-step stairway close to the top. However, I heard there was an easier way to by-pass the steps, so I planned on doing that when the time came.

The trail consists of switchbacks up the steep slope. I started at a steady pace and stopped for water breaks every so often. While more-fit hikers passed me along the way, I was happy to see others needed to stop for breaks, too. 

The first challenge was 74 concrete steps that lead to a narrow tunnel. They weren’t too bad, with areas along the way where I could stop and catch my breath. Once I made it through the 225-foot long tunnel, it was decision time.

I looked to the right at the 99 steps. They seemed to go straight up! The stairway was narrow, so there would be no stopping or I would block the people behind me. To the left was the easier path, which looked more like a regular hiking trail. That would be an easier way to the top. 

Decision time: Which way to go? As I took a break and drank more water, I realized I wanted to challenge myself to take the stairs. I was tired of doing things the easy way! Wasn’t this whole weight-loss journey about pushing myself to the limit to see just what I could accomplish? Trying new experiences? No longer taking the easy way out?

I took a deep breath and said to myself, “Let’s do this!”

About 10 steps from the top, I hit “a wall” much like marathon runners talk about during a race. I was pulling myself up with the handrailing. My thighs were screaming at me to stop. I was done and seriously thinking about turning around.

Then, some hikers at the top who were waiting for the stairway to clear so they could start down began to cheer me on!
“You can do it!”
“You’re almost there!”
“Keep going!” 
When I reached the top, they cheered! I wanted to cry! I did it! 

Of course, there was still more to climb, including a spiral staircase to an old observation station. But I made it to the summit! The view was spectacular, but I was also in awe of what I’d accomplished!

One year earlier, I couldn’t walk a quarter of a mile without stopping. That day I climbed to the top of a Diamond Head! 

After we reached the bottom, I bought a t-shirt proclaiming my achievement! LOL 

Big or small, NSVs are an important part of a weight-loss journey. I would say the most important part! Be sure to celebrate them along the way. They will keep you going when the scale data doesn’t go your way. 

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