Non Scale Victory Friday!

If you’ve never heard of a Non Scale Victory (or NSV for short), it’s basically exactly what it sounds like, healthy victories in your life that don’t have anything to do with the scale! As I was thinking about a way to track my progress on my blog this seemed like a no brainer. It’s the perfect way to keep track of all the positive outcomes that are a result of my lifestyle changes.

I’m going to devote Fridays to a reflection on the past week and to list out the various non-scale victories in my life. This isn’t just about me either, feel free to share your own NSVs in the comments below, I’d love to read about them! And so without further ado….

  1. I threw away my scale! I already wrote about this here, but it’s worth repeating. Doing this and starting this blog is my first step of many towards a life of positive and healthy changes in my life.
  2. When the thunder and lightning started up on Tuesday evening, ruining my running plans, I made the best of it and did a 40 minute Jillian Michaels workout video at home instead. My abs are still killing me!

jillian michaels

  1. While going through my summer wardrobe I found I can now wear shorts that I haven’t been able to fit into for years! I’m excited to rock my bright pink shorts this summer!

20140529_225907

And lastly…

  1. I’m running my second 10k tomorrow! I’ll be in Annapolis for the Zooma Annapolis Half Marathon and 10k. This is my first year running this race, and I’m very excited. You’ll be able to track my progress on twitter so make sure you’re following me @ScalesDown!

I’d say overall it was a pretty good week. Feel free to share your non-scale victories in the comments below!

Why Last Week Was One Of My Best

Last week felt like everything kept going downhill without stopping. I was an emotional wreck and by the end was just trying to take everything one day at a time. Thankfully, everything is resolved and I can move forward with a smile on my face confident everything will be okay.

Having said that, it probably means the title of the post is confusing. How could last week have been one of my best if it involved me being an emotional wreck? I certainly don’t wish to relive last week, but I learned some really important things about myself that make me feel even more encouraged regarding my health goals.

In the past I have always allowed bad days, weeks, or months to take over and consume me. I’m an emotional eater with a sweet tooth so my typical mode of operation is to go home and bake lots of desserts, or buy junk food, and sit on the couch watching lots of TV. It was an unhealthy practice that, a majority of the time, was the reason I didn’t succeed at my goals. Score one for me though because I didn’t do that last week.

That isn’t to say that I didn’t want to. I came to work last Wednesday morning with my running gear and every intention of going for a run after work and by 4 pm the last thing I wanted to do was put on my running shoes and go for a run. I kept reasoning with myself that I could put it off, one day off wouldn’t kill me.

I was right, one day off wouldn’t kill me, but I knew it wasn’t a smart decision. Ultimately, ten minutes before the end of my work day I dragged my butt to the bathroom and changed, reasoning if I decided in the car I didn’t want to run I didn’t have to. Then I drove to the park and I had one of my best runs. A slow and steady two miler, it allowed me to clear my head and really take in the beautiful springtime scenery around me. I felt so much better and refreshed, and was able to put some things into perspective.

That run was definitely a win, but the wins didn’t stop there. I was starving after running and remembered I was out of food at home. So I needed to go to the grocery store, while hungry and in a depressed mood, definitely not a safe move. I knew that junk food would be calling my name, and I was right.

I went to the grocery store determined. I was going to shop the perimeter of the store. I would only enter the aisles for a bottle of olive oil. Well wouldn’t you know it, I succeeded! I purchased a cart full of fresh fruit and vegetables, some meat and eggs and I didn’t even try to purchase anything unhealthy!

This was a HUGE win for me, and I was able to prove to myself that I don’t need food to help me feel better emotionally. It sparked a series of healthy decisions that continued throughout the week. I went for a five mile run that Friday, when again, it was the last thing I wanted to do, and I cooked lots of healthy and tasty meals to enjoy instead of junk food.

I know this isn’t the last time something difficult will come my way, so it’s encouraging to know that I can successfully handle my emotions without having to turn to unhealthy habits. Wallowing with sugar and lethargy may feel great in the moment, but it’s always left me feeling gross in the days that follow. Now when I think back to last week I’ll be able to remember how I didn’t let my negative emotions screw up a positive routine. Excuse me while I celebrate this major victory

I Threw Away My Scale!

Scales are the devil’s form of torture. I firmly believe this. There is nothing worse than feeling great about yourself after a successful day, week, month or hour (who hasn’t been guilty of the “AM I SKINNY YET!” an hour into healthy eating.) of eating right and exercise only to have the scale tell you that either your weight hasn’t budged a pound or, even worse, you’ve gained weight.

I know, I know, there are several reasons why your weight can fluctuate (or not fluctuate at all dammit!). A quick Google search can explain away whatever weight gain or stagnation you’re experiencing. Water weight, muscle mass, that time of the month, I just ate five pounds of candy in one sitting. I’ve read it all, and it makes you feel better, until the next time you step on the scale and nothing’s changed.

Sure the scale isn’t all bad, there are times when it seems the stars align and the universe works in your favor and the numbers will magically melt away, and each time you step on feeling optimistic and step off elated and excited ready to conquer the world. For some people this is the relationship they have with scales, they know how their body responds to certain things, they’re honest about their habits and they’re realistic about what to expect. For those individuals the scale is a tool, and a useful one at that. It helps them measure progress and decide what works for their body and what doesn’t. But for others the elation that comes with seeing a lower number (or higher number depending on your goals) can turn into a high that leads to unhealthy habits and behaviors when things don’t go in your favor.

Scale picture
RIP bathroom scale

I am one of those people. My relationship with the scale started off well enough. I adopted what I thought were healthy practices hoping to lose just one pound a week.  I would step on the scale once a week, every Tuesday morning, bladder empty and definitely naked. I carefully logged every calorie that passed my lips. At first this worked, and I watched as the pounds slipped off week by week, until they stopped and I hit a plateau.

I can hear it right now “Elizabeth! Everyone hits a plateau you shouldn’t let it get you down!” That’s easy to say, I’ve said it myself, but that attitude only goes so far.  When your self-esteem is tied to a fluctuating number then it’s only a matter of time until you’re eating an entire bag of Reese’s peanut butter cups (YUM!) while sitting on the couch watching episode after episode of Gilmore Girls. Oh wait, that’s just me? Never mind then….

This cycle came to a head a month ago. I had just completed my first Whole 30 (Check it out, it’s awesome!) and I felt great! I hadn’t had a headache in a month, and everyone was complimenting me on looking thinner than they could remember. Part of Whole 30’s rules is that you can’t weigh yourself, so I was suffering from withdrawal and I was understandably eager to find out what the results of my hard work were. I mean I had to have lost at least five pounds!

I hadn’t lost five pounds. I hadn’t lost four, three, two or one pounds. My weight didn’t even stay stagnant. My weight had gone up two pounds, and I was devastated. All the positive changes I had made in my life before this (I ran my first 10k a week before this, GO ME!) dissolved to nothing because I placed too much importance on the combination of three digits underneath my feet.

That was a month ago and I am deciding today that it’s all changing. I’ve thrown away my scale, and I’m going to stop tracking every calorie I consume (or feel guilty for being too lazy to track, oops!). My measure of success is going to be how I feel both physically and emotionally. I’ll dedicate my energy to eating whole foods, exercising regularly and developing a positive body image, because everyone should feel beautiful regardless of their size. I’m putting my scales down and laces up