One of the things that I’ve sometimes found difficult with my weight loss progress is how to judge success. It’s a really malleable and ethereal concept at times – and I’m continually struck by how small and unexpected things often mean much much more than the massive ones.
Last week I (very unexpectedly) put weight ON when I stood on the scales.
I’m past the point now where I’ll turn myself emotionally inside out worrying about one week where things don’t go as expected – but still I’m likely to be a bit more miffed with myself if it’s a couple of weeks in a row. I still want a good loss on Saturday and I’ll probably be annoyed if I don’t get it.
I’m used to thinking like this now though – it’s been my weekly routine for the last 16 months. I’ve very much judged my success in life over the last year in terms of weight lost and fitness gained, and when I feel I’m not achieving ‘enough’ (whatever that is!) I still get a bit too self critical.
However there are other things that unexpectedly stand out as moments of triumph and I’ve had one of them today.
I realised whilst discussing with someone I’d never met before what I felt I’d achieved in the last year that my thinking (mostly within the space of six months) has changed significantly.
Six months ago (despite writing a frank and truthful blog) I still found myself agonising about whether to tell people face to face (that I didn’t already know) about my weight loss.
The reasoning (in my mind) was that I had let myself go for so long that people would suddenly grasp the truth – that I was actually a huge failure. They would realise in that moment of clarity that regardless of how I looked and behaved NOW that beforehand I was someone that had let their life fall apart in a dramatic fashion – and that they would think that it was only a matter of time before I did it again.
Paradoxically, despite my honesty in the pages of my blog I continually felt a lot of fear about such interactions and never knew quite how to handle them. Even if I decided to be honest (which in most cases I did) for days afterwards I would be terrified that someone was judging me and that ‘I’d let the cat out of the bag.’
However today I realised something. Whereas beforehand I carried shame with me all the time now I carry pride.
I can walk into a room with confidence on both a physical and emotional level, knowing that what I’ve accomplished so far and what I still plan to achieve is something that few people in life have done – and that just because I’ve failed in the past it doesn’t mean I’m a failure forevermore.
In fact now I think quite the contrary is true.
As my confidence and self worth have grown I feel like I have much more to offer the world than I ever did before – which is not something I thought I’d find myself saying before I started writing my blog – or (if I’m truly honest) for a while after I began.
So how do I measure success?
Well – having not stood on the scales yet this week I can’t confidently say that it will be measured in pounds and ounces.
Since I’m not climbing any mountains I can’t judge it with physical prowess.
Since I’m happy and emotionally on an even keel (and thankfully I am 95% of the time) I can’t say that I feel particularly more wonderful now than I did at the same point last week or even last month.
What I can say is that (probably for the first time) today I felt a genuinely swelling sense of pride when I told my story to some total strangers and I watched their faces change and saw them visibly sit up and listen.
I can say that when I told them that six months ago I wouldn’t have wanted to let anyone know who I was – and would have hidden from my past self I grew in confidence.
I can say that when I told them that everything I was wearing came from charity shops and that this gave me a sense of personal triumph my chest swelled.
I can say that when the words left my mouth and I said ‘I have lost over fifteen and a half stone, and I’ve gone from not being able to walk to the end of my street to climbing Snowdon’ I felt physically six foot taller.
So – who knows what will happen when I stand on the scales?
More to the point who cares?
Sure – I want to loose weight – but I’ve said it before and I will say it again – whatever life throws at me, and whatever changes come my way in the coming year I know I can face them, and furthermore I know I can beat them.
One thing I can confidently say internet is that I now have no limits.