In an effort to demystify what makes living a #ScaleFreeSummer so meaningful, I’m breaking it down into five major components: Consistency and Commitment, Compassion, Pleasure, Mindfulness, and Goal Measurement. One per day. Gotta keep up. (Thankfully, now that I’m free from school duty, I can finally keep up.) Don’t forget to tweet or instagram all your healthy habits using the #ScaleFreeSummer hashtag! Some of your fellow #bgg2wlarmy fam is already filling up the tag with their awesomeness, you should, too!
When I think back to my early days of when I first started my journey, there are few things that I really admire about the old me. Come hell or high water, I was getting out for my walk. I was getting out there for my walk/jog. I was getting out there for, what would eventually become, my almost-run. It didn’t matter what I had to leave behind, push back or set aside. I was getting out there. There was this dogged persistence that I lived and breathed, all because I’d felt like I was stepping into new territory, and it felt good.
I’d never been taught that people actually schedule this kind of stuff into their day, because I’d essentially never seen it modeled before. I’d never seen a non-athlete commit to a regular workout routine, and since I was a non-athlete, I never had a desire to commit to one. I even remember having a desire to become a member of the volleyball team in high school and couldn’t understand “why they work out so much.” Now, I can look back and giggle at the young me – whew, how little I knew – but the compassionate me understands. How would I comprehend that level of commitment? My idea of “activity” was 10 minutes on the gazelle my mom brought me from Goodwill. Hours upon hours of training felt like “too much.”
It wasn’t until months after the first day of my consistent training – not 28 days, as conventional wisdom would have it – that it genuinely became a part of me. I didn’t think about it, I didn’t debate it in my head, and I didn’t even take steps to dissuade myself from it; that daily walk became a part of me. 45 minutes a day, every day. No breaks. It had finally sunken into my brain, and became a part of who I am – I began to set aside 45 minutes a day towards fitness.
After that, commitment to other activities became easy – I quickly picked up yoga as a consistent part of my day. Multiple times a day, even. When Mini-me was hitting the high chair to eat her meals, I would hit the yoga mat to get my practice on. It presented its own challenges, far different from the walks, but because it means to much to my sanity and my recovery I learned to get with the program.
Commitment to fitness-based programs became easier for me after that 45-minute plan because I saw what happens to me after I make the choice to be consistent. Good things happen. Even when I couldn’t see them, couldn’t measure them, and couldn’t track them regularly, good things happened. I was going it alone – I didn’t really have much in the way of guidance at this point, and all I knew was “burn calories, lose weight!” – and was able to pick up new, activities and stick to them based on the faith that consistency would pay off.
Over time, I slowly picked up more and more activities and, through consistency, they paid off. Running, even without being particularly fast at it in the beginning (and still, quite frankly, are not), helped me burn tons of calories and develop more speed. Yoga helped me develop flexibility and agility, affording me the ability to move in ways I’d never been able to move before. (I bet you’ve never seen a 6-foot woman out-maneuver a group of kindergarteners like me on a basketball court.) Pole fitness helped me… well, ask my husband. Ahem.
I’m just saying. I feel more confident, more powerful, stronger, more agile and more flexible than I’ve ever felt in my life, all because I learned the power and value of consistency.
Why does this matter in a #ScaleFreeSummer?
Think of the last time you hopped on a scale and didn’t see the progress you’d wanted. For many of us, what happened next?
We throw our kicks out the bathroom door, pout, sob into a pint of ginger ice cream (!), and quit. Because, apparently, that is how you make progress… all that running and other stuff was just for fun, or something.
Sometimes, a consistent training program can result in weight gain. Something that was especially true for me, when I decided that I’d wanted to compete in a bikini competition, started shrinking down for it, and then realized I’d had nowhere near as much muscle as I’d thought I’d had. And, in order to develop that muscle, I had to gain weight to do it. So, when putting on 20lbs of lean, pure muscle means watching the scale go up… which, for many of us, is the epitome of a mind f– uhh, you get the picture. I had to let it go.
I had to trust my eyes. I had to trust my diary-keeping. I had to trust my measurements. Hell, I had to trust my commitment to my workouts to make that muscle development happen. Again, it had to be my commitment to my consistent training, not the “Good girl,” headpat-esque reward of seeing the number move on the scale, especially since I wouldn’t get that anyway, with a mindful and intentional weight gain.
That’s not to say that I gave up the scale completely – I’m more of a “check the thing every 3-4 weeks, and go on about my business” kind of girl, because now I know: my ability to see progress on the scale is in direct correlation with my ability to remain consistent in my training, consistent in my daily caloric intake, and consistent in my commitment to myself. When I lack in those, I slip on the scale. When I am strong in those, I am strong in my results.
Clearly, you see where the focus should be. That’s what makes consistency and commitment so invaluable to not just a #ScaleFreeSummer, but a Scale Free Forever. Putting our focus in the right places means that our energies, excitements, and efforts are pointed in the right direction. Like I’ve always said, our bodies will thank us for it!