Some time, about 12 months ago, I bought a new skirt. I bought it to wear to work- it’s a pencil skirt, which is a miracle in itself- my body doesn’t tend to lend itself to the pencil skirt design. They never (ever!) fit. But this one did, and I bought it. I wore it a bit at first, but I found that it tended to ride up a fair bit when I walked, so I started to not wear it as much. Slowing down on the wears inevitably meant that I forgot it existed, until one day a few months ago when I came across it in my wardrobe and put it on.
But what was this? The zip was hard to do up. The front of the skirt was tight across my stomach and hips, and the lining was a bit too snug for my liking. it was harder to walk in, and it kind of felt like I was wearing spanx. As much as I hated to admit it, this was just another sign of the weight I’d been gaining.
Consequentially the skirt was relegated to the ’emergencies only’ section of my wardrobe- the place from where clothes only emerge if I’ve forgotten to do laundry for a few too many days. Tuesday was one of those days. My washing basket was overflowing, and I’d worn everything else in my wardrobe that was work-appropriate already. It was time to pull out the skirt. But low and behold, when I put the skirt on, it actually fitted. In fact, it’s a bit loose at the hips. It still rides up when I walk, but I’ve accepted that as just part of the damn thing’s design.
Having the skirt fit is a small victory. It means I’m back(ish) to the size(ish) I was about a year ago (yay), but the reality is that I was not happy at that size. I was heavier than I should have been, carrying excess weight (fatty weight), and I was unfit. Since then I’ve worked hard to built strength, and that’s built muscle, and that’s why I say I’m back to the size I was a year ago, not the weight. Regardless though, I’m still too big and I’m still too heavy. I’m still carrying fat in dangerous places, and I’m still trying to break some bad habits… but I do fit into that skirt again!
So, I’m more than half way through week four of the challenge. The image I’ve posted is one that’s been floating around Pinterest and Facebook for years, and I’m not entirely sure of how true it is, but it’s something that’s stuck with me. Given that four weeks is nearly up, I’ve started to reflect on my own change. Is it really there? Am I imagining it? What changes am I actually noticing?
Over the past week I’ve started to consider how I’m actually measuring success in relation to this challenge. At the start of the challenge I weighed myself and had a (very confronting!) photo taken of me, but I didn’t take my measurements. Perhaps I should have, because I suspect that’s where I’m going to see the biggest change given that I’m continuing to build muscle. This morning J took a second photo of me- a ‘week 4 progress shot’ (it was required of me by the Challenge organisers). I don’t think a random person would see the differences between the two photos, but I did.
So, having had the photo taken and done a bit of self reflection, here’s how I know I’m succeeding at the four-week mark:
- I have lost approximately 4 kg
- My jeans are feeling looser
- I have gone down three belt notches at my waist
- My friends commented on how tiny (ha!) my waist is getting over the weekend
- I can no longer feel the skin/fat folds on my back rubbing against other skin- the folds are shrinking
- The bulge on my hips is no longer an easy handful- it’s shrunk
- Looking at the photo, while my shape hasn’t changed much at all my skin’ s looking different. A little less ‘flubby’ on my stomach and legs perhaps?
And of course this challenge is not all about losing weight for me- it’s about changing habits too. I’ve been successful in that so far- but I’m definitely still in the stage where I have to work hard to continue the behaviours I want to set as new habits, and I still have to fight hard against the old habits. Here’s some recent successes I’ve had in terms of all of that:
- I haven’t had refined sugar since I started. The closest I’ve had has been honey and fruit
- I’ve had practically no wheat. There’s been a couple of bowls of minestrone that’s had a spoonful of pasta in it, but that’s it. Wheat’s gone (for now at least)
- I’ve maintained a healthy relationship with starchy vegetables- if someone else has cooked me something with potato/sweet potato etc I’ve not felt bad about eating it, but at the same time I’ve not actively cooked it for myself
- I didn’t eat any cheese in a social situation filled with cheese (cheese, of course, being my favourite food. It’s not gone forever- just for now)
- Having said that- I’ve also maintained a healthy relationship with cheese. If a salad comes with some fetta or goats cheese, well heck, I’d better eat it!!
- I’ve turned down delicious looking cakes and slices at an afternoon tea- because I knew they weren’t good for me, and I was still full from lunch!
- I’ve made the right choice when it comes to quick lunch on-the-go. Where I would have had McDonalds in the past, in the last week I’ve had two in-car lunches consisting of cut up fruit, veg, a little bit of cheese and one occasion a bag of shredded chicken from the local deli
So, I’ve got a long way to go. there’s 8 weeks left in the challenge, and it doesn’t stop once I get to that point. The real goal here continues to be the squashing of some bad habits and the introduction of some new habits, and I think that it’s going to take some work once I finish this challenge to maintain them. But that’s a hurdle for another day- for now I continue to focus on exercising at least four times a week, and as much as possible eating food made from fresh meat, veg and fruit. Baby steps.