Married to My Workout

I remember reading something in a magazine about losing weight that really stuck with me for some reason. It said “Don’t get married to your workout.” Basically this means change things up as much as possible. Don’t do the same workout every day. Try new exercises, increase the weight and resistance, change the mileage, try a different activity–anything.

When I read that article I scoffed. What I was doing was working. It worked well. I lost weight, I kept it off, I was getting stronger and faster. I was definitely getting a fitness level that I was proud of. And I liked what I was doing: I loved swimming and wasn’t going to reduce it.

In the end, I did end up changing some things around. Previously my swim sessions were 3 days a week. I was finding that I didn’t have enough time for other activities and reduced that to 2 days a week. It’s been that way for years now and as summer has arrived and I need to increase my cycling miles, I’ve reduced it to 1 day a week. But that’s not all–my swimming sessions were the same. I was most definitely married to my routine. I had three different swim routines that I liked to do and rotated between them but there wasn’t much variation beyond that. Was I doing intervals? Not as often as I should have been. What does this lead to? Plateaus.

When I first started doing a serious weight lifting program when I had to stop running for awhile, I lost weight almost immediately. In that first month I lost 5 pounds and several inches. It had been years since I lost 5 pounds in one month. In the two years I’ve been weight lifting I haven’t seen a change like that since.

I’ve been in a rut lately with my workouts. All winter long I was focusing on my weight lifting, swimming 2 days a week and going to spin class once a week. Now that the weather is better my goal is to bike to work 3 days a week. So far I’ve only managed 2 days but that’s partly weather related. Doing 66 miles a week (3 commutes) would be a major shake up to my routine. I’m looking forward to it and I won’t lie–a little part of me is hoping this change will jump start some weight loss.

When Michael was consistently biking every day to work he lost a lot of weight. Granted, he’s a man and they seem to have it easier when it comes to melting the fat, but I REALLY hope I see some movement on the scale if I’m doing 66 miles a week!

I HATE changing my workout routine! It’s so comfortable. It feels familiar. I’ve been able to maintain my weight loss by sticking to my schedule. But it’s time. I MUST change things up!

So how did I change things up recently?

Mileage, baby, mileage. In one week I was able to get my biking miles up thanks to starting the week off with a nearly 40 mile ride. The 40 mile ride was pretty good, at least for most of it and only a struggle those last 10 miles. Happily, I had no soreness the next day. It was almost as if I had done nothing!


A few days later, I biked to work. I was running late that morning so I stepped it up and went faster than I normally do. I also changed up my routine a bit–I changed my route to avoid that intersection that makes me crazy every time. The new route was so much better–a tad longer, but so much better! Morning Stats: 547 calories burned.

It was a hot ride home. I was a bit sore from the previous day’s gym session but not cycling sore from my 40 miles. I had my eye on the prize: would I be able to do 80 miles this week??

I was doing well and then as soon as I hit the entrance of the Springwater trail near downtown, I heard a loud pop and then I fishtailed to the side of the trail. Yep. Tire exploded. Literally. It wasn’t quite as scary as the first time it happened, but it still sucked. Thankfully it didn’t happen downtown in traffic or somewhere I could have gotten hurt.

I pulled off into the shade and texted my Knight in Shining Armor. We are currently completely out of tubes so even if I had the savvy to change my bike tire, I didn’t have anything to change it to. Also lame.

I’d barely gone 2 miles when it happened. I was bummed. I stood in the shade and waited for Michael to pick me up. It was a disappointing ending to my day and cut my training short for the rest of the week.

Total mileage for the day cut short: 14.24

Total miles for this training week: 50.84

Total miles for the last 7 days: 73.44

Sigh! Here’s to next week being better.

QUESTION: Are you married to your workout and if so, how do you change it? Can you change a bike tire?


Sometimes when the weight loss process is dragging on and perhaps there are plateaus that we get stuck in, it’s easy to get discouraged. Seeing the same number on the scale is frustrating. Whenever I saw that scale stuck in one place, I tried to tell myself “at least I’m not gaining weight.” That was a positive spin to the disappointment I was feeling.

But I worked so hard this week!

But I made my calorie goals every day this week!

Why isn’t the scale moving?

It’s easy to get obsessed with a number and one trick to get over that is to celebrate something else. Weight loss isn’t ALWAYS about the number on the scale. True health is a combination of things:

Are your clothes looser?

Did you measure your body and see INCHES lost?

Did you buy jeans in a smaller size?

Did you check your blood pressure and it was dramatically improved?

Is your belt too big now and you need to make new holes in it?

If you are keeping track of your weigh-ins, measurements, exercise and goals, I suggest recording all the other things that you see too. Keeping track of positive changes is encouraging. In your journal (electronic or paper), track the inches you lose, your improving moods, landmarks in your health like if your cholesterol levels improve, etc.

Weight Watchers has a term called “Non-Scale Victories” or NSV and I think it’s a fantastic practice to do daily or weekly. Or, if you’d like, keep a gratitude journal. Write down every time someone at work compliments your weight loss.

How to Celebrate Non-Scale Victories

Go on a shopping spree. Buy new clothes in your smaller size and show them off!

Make a goal. For example: “If I lose or maintain ___ weight, I will splurge on expensive running shoes” or “I will hike that local mountain I’m always intimated to try.”

Sign up for something. If you’re noticing your stamina has increased with weight loss, try signing up for a 5k or a walk/run event that you’ve always wanted to do. Getting a t-shirt or a medal for something you’ve accomplished is really encouraging!

Treat yourself. How about a mani/pedi? Or a spa day? Or a day trip to somewhere you wanted to visit? You can reward yourself with anything that makes you happy and celebrates your progress!

Share your success. Tell your friends and family of your NSV and don’t diminish it! Say “I lost 2 more inches!” instead of “I have a long way to go.”


Do I Celebrate Non-Scale Victories?

Of course! In fact, I celebrate those EVEN MORE now that I’m in maintenance mode. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a change on the scale, which is a good thing because I want to maintain what I’ve lost. But I still need those daily encouragements to keep going on my path. I think it’s even more important now.

I count my calories every day in an app and I include my exercise calories burned. I love seeing those numbers and seeing that I’m on track. I celebrate days when I am under my calories.

I also measure my body once a month. This became much more important when I started a strength training program two years ago because I wanted to see progress; I wanted to see if I toned my body up. I took before pictures to compare and I measured my hips, waist, arms and legs.

I’ve had several NSV’s lately. The first one was fitting into a dress I didn’t think would fit me. It was the “tiny” pink dress I took to Vegas and it was on the clearance rack in the juniors section. I had no hope that it would fit me but loved the pink sequins and HAD to try it. I was shocked and ecstatic when it fit! And looked good!

The second NSV was the progress I’ve made lifting weights. Each week I’ve been able to increase the amount of my weights, or reps, and it made me feel strong and successful. Seeing those physical changes in my body inspire me to keep trying and keep working.

The last NSV is my return to running. After an injury and a break from running, I decided to get back into it. It’s slow going but I’m now able to run over 2.5 miles without walking, or without any pain or discomfort. I LOVE that!

Celebrate your progress!

QUESTION: Please share some of your non-scale victories you’ve had lately.