Non-Scale Victories

Importance of Feeling Good

When you’re trying to lose weight it’s easy to get stuck in a rut in a lot of ways. One of those ways is taking care of your appearance. When I was losing 100 pounds I was definitely in a rut because I couldn’t really afford new clothes. I’d buy some new clothes but then I’d lose weight so quickly that often times I didn’t get a chance to wear my new clothes before they were too big. Some outfits even had tags on them still! Check out this old post about the topic: Losing Weight and Shopping.

One of the things I regretted was how much money I spent on new clothes I never got to wear. If I could go back and tell my younger self I would have advised myself to buy clothes at thrift stores to save money. Despite that, there was one thing about that whole experience that I think is important: when you’re losing weight it’s important to dress for your body type.

When you’re losing weight it’s easy to get frumpy. Clothes become ill-fitting and baggy. When I was at my heaviest I already wore clothes that were bigger because I thought it hid my size. In reality it just made me look even bigger. As I lost the pounds the clothes got baggier and looked terrible! I had workout clothes that were literally falling off my body because they were too big. It doesn’t motivate you or maybe you feel good when you feel like you’re walking around in clothes that are falling off.

I think it’s really important to reward your weight loss efforts with non-food rewards. Shopping for new clothes is a good one. You’re not sabotaging your successes by “treating” yourself to a hot fudge sundae. Instead, you’re rewarding your successes by buying a new outfit at your new weight to make yourself FEEL GOOD ABOUT YOURSELF.

Buying New Clothes at Your Current Weight

You don’t have to buy a whole new wardrobe at every weight you get down to. That would be expensive and ridiculous. But so many times I bought clothes that were too BIG for me OR too small, hoping that “one day this will fit.” Don’t do that. Just buy a few interchangeable outfits that fit well and look stylish. It doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy. Sometimes just some fitted black pants and a few colorful shirts is all you need to boost your self-esteem.

Since I put on about 13 pounds in the last year I found that a lot of my clothes weren’t fitting properly anymore. Sure I hadn’t gained a TON of weight but it was enough to make my clothes look odd. Pants were too tight. This caused a muffin top and my legs looked like they were busting out of my jeans. Fun times. Shirts were tighter, a little bit shorter around the waist. It was demoralizing. It made me feel BIGGER than I actually was.

It’s really important to pay attention to your body shape and buy clothes that are flattering for your shape. I found this chart that was really interesting too:

table

When I first got back from Hawaii and realized I’d gained some weight, I went through my closet to get rid of stuff I  knew I’d never ever fit into again. I kept the stuff that I knew I’d be able to wear again and then I bought a few pairs of pants and a few shirts in a larger size. Sure it wasn’t what I wanted–I hated having to buy clothes in one size up, but feeling comfortable in your clothes makes a huge psychological difference.

ladies-dresses

Recently Michael’s mom and stepdad gave me a generous gift card to Kohl’s for my birthday. I went out and bought some new shirts and even some new underwear and a bra. Not that I needed to buy a bigger size, they were all generally the same size I’d been wearing but I felt so much better about myself with some new clothes. They were cute clothes, they fit well, they were flattering for my current body shape and it just MADE ME HAPPIER.

Haircut

This is another thing you can do while losing weight. A new hairstyle! It’s something easy to do and can make a world of difference. A new hairstyle can change the shape of your face, make you look nicer and in turn make you FEEL better about yourself.

Like I said in a previous post, I’d let my hair get really long and hadn’t taken care of it. I felt super frumpy. I hated my hair. My clothes weren’t fitting right. It made me feel bummed out about my weight. I didn’t need to wallow anymore. A few new outfits and new hairstyle made a humongous difference for me!

Getting Your Nails Done

Going to a salon to get a mani/pedi can get expensive but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it yourself at home. I know that when I do my nails in colors I like I feel feminine and pretty. Again, it’s all psychological. Boost your mood in ways that don’t include food and you’ll be successful!

Accessories

I love earrings and necklaces. I have a large collection that I’ve accrued over the years. I have my favorites that I wear all the time and then once in awhile I re-discover something I had that I’d forgotten about and it’s like wearing something new!

Again, you don’t have to spend a lot of money. Go to thrift stores, antique stores, consignment shops. You can find some really neat, unique jewelry if you keep an eye out.

Celebrate Progress

I definitely recommend that people trying to lose weight take progress pictures! I wish I had taken more. I was not comfortable being in front of a camera when I was bigger and I regret not taking more photos of myself as I lost the weight. I have pictures of when I was over 250 pounds and then I have some pictures from my brother’s wedding when I weighed 200 pounds. Then there were more taken as I got closer to my goal weight.

LisaEireneBeforeAndAfter

But I think it is a positive, uplifting ritual to take progress pictures. Sometimes when you are looking in the mirror you can’t see the progress you are making. Photos will show you that!

Take Care of Yourself

The point of doing all of this stuff is to make yourself look attractive to yourself. Wear things that you like and think positive thoughts when you look at yourself in the mirror. Try practicing positive self-talk and tell yourself something you like about your appearance. So often we get stuck in a rut where we tell ourselves “I’m so fat” and “I hate my stomach rolls” and “Why can’t I lose this flab in my arms?” and it becomes a broken record in our mind. Before you know it, all you do is talk shit about yourself and that brings down your mood and self-esteem. I know, I’ve been there many times.

I am trying to silence that negative voice in my head that’s always pointing out my flaws instead of celebrating my victories…

Losing weight is hard and it’s a drag sometimes and sometimes it TAKES FOREVER. Anything you can do to boost your mood and take the focus OFF your weight and the number on the scale is a good thing for making progress!

What are some of your favorite things to do to make yourself feel good about your body?

Running is Hard

One of the things I’ve needed to remind myself of post-injury is the fact that RUNNING IS HARD. Running HURTS.

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Running HURTS. You will push yourself to the brink and then run a little further.  The funny thing about running is that it is often difficult to distinguish between legitimate pain (i.e. injury) and just the discomfort of pushing ourselves hard. For me I knew immediately when I was truly injured. It felt different than the normal aches and pains of running.

Running CHALLENGES. Once you reach a goal, there’s always another goal not far behind it. At first my goal was to run without walking or stopping. Then it was running a certain distance, then it was running a certain distance within a certain amount of time. Then the goal was racing. The challenges and goals were always evolving.

Running is MENTAL. I will think a million times during a run “I can’t do this” and “I want to stop! I can’t make it to the finish!” but most of the time it’s all in my head. It’s a mental block, something in me telling me I CAN’T when I know I CAN. I often tricked myself when I was running and starting to feel that mental block creeping into my thoughts. I would tell myself “One More Mile” or “Just run to that lamppost down the street and then you can walk” and most of the time by I got to that lamppost I had gotten over that mental block and kept running.

Running can be INCONSISTENT. Sometimes the food I ate the night before makes a difference. Sometimes the snack I eat right before the run can really effect my run. Weather, clothing, moods, everything can effect the performance of a runner. The important thing to remember is that not every run is going to be great. There will be ugly runs, slow runs, fast runs, great runs.

Running is NOT FREE. Sure, in theory it could be a super cheap form of exercise. In reality it’s not. Don’t make the mistake of skimping on the gear. Get fitted for running shoes at a real running store. It makes a huge difference for comfort and injury prevention. I am so serious about this one. Pay the extra money for good shoes. Same with socks. Don’t wear cheapo socks that will give you blisters. I like Smart Wool (available at REI, Nordstroms and online) and have never had blisters when I use those running socks.

Running is WORTH IT. The pain sucks. Sometimes it’s really sucky. When you’re running and tired and your legs are burning and your brain tells you you can’t make it, you wonder if it’s worth it. Is it worth it? Totally. Hood to Coast hurt. It was brutal and a lot of it was miserable. I don’t regret doing it at all. Would I do that particular race again? No. But I am happy I did it!

Running isn’t COMPARABLE. Stop comparing yourself to other runners. One thing my running injury taught me was to stop comparing myself to other runners, other bloggers. There will always be people faster than me, or slower than me. If I run a race, I’m a runner–whether I cross the line first or last.  Just because I’m not running a marathon every weekend or continually training for some race doesn’t mean I’m not a runner. I’m more than a runner. I’m a swimmer, biker, hiker, walker, weight lifter. All of those things make me a stronger runner.

“When all else fails, start running!”

-Dean Karnazes

QUESTION: In what way is running hard for you?