Wednesday, July 03, 2019

A Drop in the Bucket: small steps toward weight loss

I have been thinking a lot about my progress on my journey to get healthy, fit and lose weight.   It is so difficult to not get bogged down by the utterly slow pace.  It is so difficult to be positive when it feels as if I am not progressing.   It gets old.  But lately I have been thinking about my journey in a different manner.  And while I still want my progress to be faster, these thoughts really shed a new light on this journey.

We live in a society where we want things right here and right now. Instant gratification is the concept that we tend to live by.  And that’s not a bad thing...for the most part.  However, it sets us up for failure in ventures where there is no such thing as instant gratification!  Unfortunately losing weight and getting fit are some of the ventures in life where instant gratification is not usually an option.  It takes hard work.  It takes perseverance.  It takes continual effort.  Results don’t come overnight, even though I/we want them to appear like magic!

I posted my June goal results in my last post.  I didn’t want to post my weigh in results. I have a lot of weight to lose and only losing 1.2 pounds for the month isn’t exactly stellar.  It’s kind of embarrassing actually.   You see I would have loved to post that I reached my goal in the month of June.  I would have been tickled to post that I lost 20 pounds....but 1.2 pounds?   Are you serious?  But that is the instant gratification thought process working within me.   I lost 1.2 pounds.  Baby steps, small beans, not what I wanted.....but progress nonetheless.  Maybe the scales didn’t show a huge weight loss but my food tracker (myfitnesspal) shows that my food intake was solidly in the healthy range with healthy choices.  I was exercising and walking and moving as much as possible.  It wasn’t for lack of trying that I didn’t show a huge loss.  So maybe...just maybe I should be happy....tickled even with that 1.2 pound loss.  Sure it’s only a drop in the bucket as to what I need to lose, but enough drops in that bucket WILL eventually fill that bucket!

I want to be able to hop on my bike and ride the trails like a pro....or at least without huffing and puffing like a steam train!  But that’s not the way it is right now.  I struggle.  It’s tough.  It isn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination.  I want it easy though, I’m putting in the effort. I want it to be easy NOW!   It isn’t though, each ride is tough.  Each ride kicks my behind!  BUT, each time I go out I can see improvements.....if I look hard enough.  You see the improvements are not huge strides.  They are small subtle steps in the right direction.   Some rides it is so small that I really have to look to see the improvement.  It is is only when I realize that I only stopped to walk my bike up a hill 3 times during a ride...when the last ride it was four places that I have to walk that I realize that I made a small improvement.   Sometimes it’s hard to see the victory in completing a trail without stopping because I am breathing so hard and my legs are screaming in freakish agony.  I want to complete it with no major struggle.  But guess what?  While I want it to be a breeze, it is still a victory because I did it...and I did it just a bit better than the last time I tried that trail.  Small baby steps. 

Jason summed it up the other day when I was lamenting about how difficult it is and how I just want to be able to ride these trails without the struggle.    He reminded me that up until recently 99% of our rides were on flat trails....(and we didn’t ride much during the winter months so we were already at a deficit).  We have only been riding these difficult trails consistently for the last month.  One month.  He gently said ‘I didn’t expect you to be sailing smoothly along only one month in, it takes time.   But I can see you improve each ride.  I can even see the muscles in your legs come back to life!  You also ride faster, further and harder each time and I don’t see you struggling as much. The improvement is there....just look for the SMALL improvements because they will eventually add up to the result that you want.’ 

Hmmmm. Isn’t that the truth?   This goes for so many things.  My shoulder ache...I want it to be better NOW...but that’s not how things heal....they take time, but other than when I aggravate it (such as in a bike accident  I can see that it aches less and less each day.    My riding.....I want it perfect now...but I can see it getting better each time I ride (and I enjoy it more each time also!). Weight loss is the same.  1.2 pounds is still progress and movement in the right direction!   My  efforts will eventually result in the desired physical health that I desire.  But I have to be patient. I have to let the process work.  I have to keep pushing forward and stop lamenting about the slow progress.  I have to stop downplaying the 1.2 pounds in one month.   I have to celebrate each tiny step that I make in the right direction!   Those small drops WILL fill the bucket!