Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Keeping Perspective: What Defines Progress

I don’t know about you, but I am super excited for fall!  It’s my favorite time of the year…football, cooler temps, changing colors, honey crisp apples.  Some people see this time of year as an end to summer, which I suppose it is.  I see it as a time of change and transition, which isn’t a bad thing.  Sometimes change is needed to gain perspective.

Just like everyone else, my clients (and me for that matter) experience plateaus, plummeting willpower , boredom and feeling  like their weight loss journey is an uphill battle.  Newsflash: it is, and it’s not over when you reach your goal.  Some phases are easier than others.  It’s important to keep perspective on what’s important in your journey (hint: it’s not the number on the scale).

First, take a look at how you feel when you are consistent.  This applies both for your food and exercise.  How do you feel when you are on track with your workouts?  Recently, I took a much needed break from the weight room. I knew I’d get back in there, but my body was in a rut and telling me to cool it for a little bit.  Instead, I enjoyed the weather with long walks, trying to beat my time on some of the routes.  I took yoga and Pilates classes, both at the gym and online in my basement.  I focused on increasing my flexibility and core strength and saw gains quicker than I anticipated.  I felt great!  The scale hasn’t budged, but my clothes fit differently in a good way.  My return to the weight room was also impressive.  Since I took a break and increased strength in other ways, I am now able to lift heavier weights, which will result in more lean muscle mass and increased metabolism.  I’m incorporating the flexibility training into my regular routine, instead of something only every once in a while (I'm bad about stretching regularly).

Same deal can happen with food.  The change of season is bringing new produce into season, such as apples and squash.  More substantial meals sound better when it’s not blazing hot outside.  Now I’m not saying load up your plate, but rather load up your plate with nutrients in the form of vegetables, maybe a new recipe for chicken on the side.  Most of us don’t get our daily dose of vegetables, and it’s amazing how much better you can be, physically and mentally, with those consistently in your diet.

It’s all about balance, and keeping balance in perspective.  So what if the scale doesn’t move?  If you are changing things up and continuing to plod in the direction of your goals, you will indeed get there one day.  Stress is counterproductive when it comes to weight loss.  Instead, shift your focus to how you feel, the pains you no longer experience, and how those clothes fit a little looser, that’s what matters.  Stay off the scale for a month and see what a difference that can make.

Enjoy this time of change, readers!