My Year of Sweat 365-day challenge is now complete, and while I have shared the valuable lessons learned, I have not yet tallied the more tangible successes. i.e. What is it that I have gained and lost along the way?
I’m guessing most people are interested in the physical changes, although – it’s funny – I’m not nearly as concerned about the numbers anymore. (Count that as a huge gain in psychological wellness!). But for the sake of the actual stats, I have officially lost 2 dress sizes and 20 lbs.
I’ve gained a lot of muscle, so if I had to guess, I’d say I’ve lost more than 25 lbs of fat and gained about 5 lbs of muscle to net out the 20 lbs total I’m down. I can’t confirm these numbers until I do a proper body mass analysis test and my BMI scale is in Vegas. The last time I checked BMI, in September, I was down 5%.
The other important factoid here is that the net 20 lbs that I’m down has stayed off for approximately 6 months. Even during Thanksgiving (x2 = Canada and U.S.) and Christmas.
And, remarkably, even though I’ve eaten my weight in Christmas cookies – I haven’t gained a pound. It’s like magic. Or voodoo. Or just daily exercise. Take your pick.
The week before Christmas I had a dental appointment at which I had to update my patient profile card. When I was settled in the chair, the hygienist reviewed my form and asked what, if anything, had changed. I told her my medication had changed. I was no longer taking any pills for my blood pressure. She looked at me with wide eyes and said, “I thought once you were on those you were on for life“.
I responded, well, evidently so did my doctor, but I decided to prove him wrong.
That’s right friends, one year into this journey I no longer require medication to regulate my blood pressure! This may be the single biggest loss I’ve incurred. And also counts as a giant gain (i.e my good health!).
LOST: 1 daily dose of blood pressure medication.
Other things I’ve lost:
- Negative attitude; Not completely, mind you, but I’ve come a long way.
- An “I can’t” mindset; I now approach really challenging things with a “how can I get there?” way of thinking.
- Fear of failure; Again, not 100%, but still so much progress in this area.
- A big dose of unhealthy ego; The loss of my fear of failure was a major driver in fixing some of my ego issues.
What else did I lose? My anger. My constant [and harsh] judgment of body. My avoidance of mirrors. And also my stupid fear of having my picture taken. Or, God forbid, posted on Facebook [tagging me, of course], making sure all my friends and family could see it too.
These are things I’m so grateful to have lost, and hope to never find again.
As I think about all I’ve gained this year, the list is dizzying. If I had known that simple act of exercising would provide such an embarrassment of riches… well, woulda, coulda, shoulda… No point second guessing why I started so late in life. I’d rather just reflect on all the good this has brought.
The Monday before Christmas, after finishing up last-minute Christmas shopping, my husband, son and I grabbed some dinner out. (We were at 48 hours with no power at this point.) While we awaited our food, my son and I started talking about My Year of Sweat.
He asked me how I felt about everything, with the end in sight. We talked in big picture terms. I explained how much more energetic I feel now, how much better I sleep, how much bigger my goals are.
He responded with, “Mom, you just look so much happier now.”
I nearly cried.
My boy was proud of me for my accomplishments, but more than anything, he was just happy that I was finally happy.
I found happiness. Count this as my biggest gain.
Other things I’ve found on this journey:
- Confidence; The real kind, not the mask I wore in the past.
- Energy; I now find excuses to go up to the second floor or down to the basement rather than pile stuff on the staircase so that I can take them in one trip!
- Optimism; My life is far from perfect, but I find myself looking at the future with a huge sense of excitement. I will always worry and stress, but I’m doing it a lot less these days.
- Self-love; For the first time in a long time (maybe ever) I can honestly say I look in the mirror and see someone who is good, beautiful, capable, accomplished and deserving.
And what else did I find? Joy. Silliness (*see matching pajama pic above). Adventure. And friendship.
Specifically a renewed friendship with the Russian Princess. She and I have been friends a long, long time — I’m thinking around 15 years or so — but with her move to Denver and life in general, we weren’t in touch much.
Whenever we saw each other, we picked up where we had left off, but it didn’t seem we did that often enough.
As I’ve mentioned about a bazillion times, this whole crazy journey started with our amazing trip to BLR Fitness Ridge.
And she has cheered me on every step of the way since then.
How all this sweat managed to make us closer, I’m not sure, but it has.
And for this I am exceptionally grateful.
This past year has brought many challenges and many achievements. I became a runner. I climbed the second highest mountain in Southern California. I fought through prolonged bouts of illness to complete my daily workouts. And I got healthy and off prescription medication!
I have seen what I am capable of. And also learned what I can’t do just yet.
And for those things I can’t do, I have found workarounds and ways to adapt. I still try. Trying rocks.
My Year of Sweat may have come to an end, but my new outlook on life has just begun. I’m excited. I’m motivated. But above all this, I’m damned proud of myself.
I didn’t just talk about this. I did it.
I invested in myself. And that wee little investment yielded the best ROI ever: a new me.
Several of you have asked me what’s next for me, and for the blog. I’m not 100% sure, to be honest. I know it’s important for me to continue to set goals for myself.
I don’t expect them to be declared in the form of a New Years Resolutions, rather as a set of new challenges. A new list of ways to push myself, stretch and grow in 2014.
I can’t wait to share them with you.