When I started two years ago, deciding to track healthy habits instead of a number on a scale or clothing size was unfamiliar territory for me. I decided I wanted to be open to whatever outcomes would come.
Last year, I listed the following outcomes I experienced after one year along on a habit-based, weight neutral health journey:
- I feel confident in my ability to care for myself with compassion and curiosity, without shame or fear.
- I feel confident in my ability to improve my relationships
- I have developed a degree of patience
- I have learned to show myself the same compassion and curiosity that I would show to a student or anybody learning a new skill
- My home is more organized and than I have ever been able to maintain before
- I have come to terms with some painful things from my childhood and am working to break my family’s cycle of self-hate, dieting, secret eating, and binge eating.
- I have learned how to incorporate movement that I LOVE into life.
- I have learned the value of slow and steady winning the race
- I have learned that I am a valid person NOW. Not “if/when/after I lose weight.” NOW.
- I have learned how to fuel myself appropriately without judgment
- I have given myself time and space that allowed me to relearn my hunger and fullness signals, and to trust them.
- My energy levels increased and my blood work improved.
- back pain is gone
- depression is gone
- brain fog is gone
- self confidence has increased
- strength has surpassed my pre-pregnancy strength
- I have found a fun hobby/obsession
- my kiddo sees movement as something I do because I love it, not because I “have to”
- I am sharing what I have learned with others
Looking back on what I wrote last year, I am happy to say that most of those outcomes have continued throughout year two. I did have some depression and back pain creep back in when an injury required me to stop lifting for a few months. With adding lifting back into my life, both of these conditions are improving again.
I also experienced some other cool things in year two.
- I received a medical diagnosis for some symptoms I had for a long time. Turns out I have a serious, but very treatable condition. Using a CPAP machine has been an amazing experience for me. My performance at home and at work has improved tremendously, and I felt well enough to help others more, too. I’m very grateful for body positivity, because it allowed me to have a positive attitude about treating my sleep apnea, instead of feeling shame about it and burying my head in the sand and refusing to treat it.
- I started to realize that training for health and training for athleticism are NOT one and the same. I used to think that they were.
- I became pretty fluent and solid with many of the habits I was tracking, so I decided not to continue tracking the ones that already felt solid and habitual. I switched from my spreadsheet over to an app on my phone for tracking a handful of habits at a time.
- I became more settled into what body positivity means to me, and why I choose to take care of my body. Much like loving another person, it is the action that matters more than the feeling, to me. I don’t need to actually FEEL positive all the time; I just need to do my best to care for myself in any given moment.
- I took as good care of myself as I could while injured. That looked different from the ways I took care of myself when not injured. It meant seeking out help with a doctors appointment, seeking out an alternate form of treatment for depression, and changing my routine from lifting to swimming. It meant seeking out a therapist and trying something new. I examined some of the many feelings brought up by my injury.
- I feel like I am killing it in the patience department, which is amazing to me because when I first started my habit journey, I would have classified myself as an impatient person who gave up easily if things were difficult. I mean, look at this! I sound so fucking patient and wise now 😀 😀 When the first day of swimming went horribly, I took my own advice and stuck it out. And I’m so glad I did, because swimming has turned out to be a great experience for me.
- I established a swimming routine and improved my cardiovascular endurance by a lot! I now can swim over a mile and a half in one session!
- I worked through something that was challenging for me: encountering a scale several times per week in the locker room, which hadn’t been an issue for me when I worked out at home. I tried one approach, and then when I didn’t like the results, I tried something else.
- I dealt with some challenges to my weight-neutral perspective, including back pain that came up when I had to stop lifting due to injury. Instead of panicking and going on a diet, I took a calm approach and didn’t make any rash decisions out of fear. I think that’s pretty amazing!
- I worked through the emotional needs that lifting met for me, in addition to the physical needs. Thanks to my injury, I learned that I still had some work to do about my body image and the ableist views that are sometimes propagated by the body positive fitness world (all well-meaning!).
- After almost two and a half decades, I pinpointed and changed my habit of mindlessly eating at nighttime. I did some other intuitive eating exploration as well, figuring out what I actually WANT to eat.
- I took excellent care of myself even during several traumatic months (My pet ran away, and my mother-in-law died of cancer, and I feel a lot of fear after the election).
- I am asking myself some hard questions. I still don’t have answers.
- I easily and naturally talked to my kid about medical issues (my sleep apnea, my mother-in-law’s cancer) in a morally neutral way. This is a big deal because back in my extreme dieting days, I believed the people who were very judgmental about those who had medical conditions and illnesses. I am glad to have internalized a different belief enough to talk to my kid about it on the fly.
- I learned some important lessons from my injury about humility, and not assuming I know what is best for everyone, since I don’t always know what is best for myself either. I became more clear on what my motivations and priorities are for fitness, unclouded by fears and needs for validation.
- I feel much more secure and calm about my marriage.
- I became more aware of the needs I meet with negative self-talk. I internalized that I do not deserve to be so hard on myself.
- I developed a healthier and more mature attitude towards doing things I don’t always want to do.
- I modeled some really healthy behaviors and values for my kid.
Looking back, I feel really proud of what I accomplished this year. It didn’t seem like I did much of anything until I actually went back and read all my older posts. What I feel most proud of is keeping up a consistent self-care routine during a very challenging year. My family had a lot of challenges: my husband got injured, I got injured, we lost our pet, we had a terminal illness and death in the family. I feel so proud that I took excellent care of myself so that I could face these challenges well. Honestly, the self-care felt like the easiest part and I know that is because of the habit-based approach.
So…..to give credit where credit is due, I feel very proud of myself this year. I’m excited to see what year 3 brings!
Like this blog?
You can follow via email (on the right side of the screen if you are viewing on a desktop, or closer to the bottom (after the comments) if you are mobile.
You can also follow me on Facebook.