Saturday, January 5, 2013

The difference a year makes

One of my favorite things I do (yep, I'm generalizing that much) is keep a five year journal. Since I've had it for more than a year now, every day when I write in it, I can see what I did on the same day last year. Cool, yeah?

A year ago today, I found a way to increase my daily movement for the first time.

It wasn't really part of a resolution -- I'd tried calorie counting the previous November and started to try to get in shape then, but it just didn't work out.

Then, in January, inspired by many other bloggers' resolutions and successes, I decided to start trying again. I started actually, really counting calories and watching what I ate January third.

January fifth, I ate my lunch at my desk and used my break to walk for half an hour. In the realm of fitness, if marathons and triathlons and iron mans, it was a tiny, tiny accomplishment. But it was a start.

If you've been around for a while already, you might remember a few posts about my walks at lunch time, because I kept it up. It was the PERFECT way for me to start. It was easy, not too big of a step out of my comfort zone, and -- as little as the change was -- it made a HUGE difference -- I lost weight, I felt better about myself, I loved having a break in my day to get my mind off work. It was so good for me in so many ways.

Last week, I went running while it was snowing. The snowflakes were huge and falling super slowly and it was wonderful and trippy. It was, by far, my best running experience ever. And, maybe, one of the coolest things I've ever done independently, for myself, because I could and because I wanted to.

If I hadn't started a year ago, just by walking at lunch time, I'd never be where I am today.

I get really tired of seeing the "lose 10 pounds in four weeks!" kind of ads. And, if I'm being honest, I get tired of seeing people who've experienced a lot of success a lot faster than me, even if they did it the healthy way. I'm really bad at comparing myself to others.

So today, I'm not going to post numbers of how far I've run or how fast or how much I've lost. Soon, I will be posting the training plans I've followed, what I tend to wear for running in cold weather, and my playlist (if anyone is interested?).

I still have a ways to go. I've been stuck at the same weight for 6ish months, maybe more? and some of my jeans I bought since I've lost weight are feeling a little snug again. I'd like to get rid of those last few pounds, I could always eat better, and I'm definitely still working on running farther and faster.

But let me tell you -- I feel like I have come so, so far from that first day when I walked on my lunch break. 

I run now. Regularly. To better myself, to beat my old records, for the heck of it, and for fun

I'm pounds from where I was last January 5, and, if you count all the distance I've walked, run, volleyballed and zumbaed, I'm miles and miles from where I was.

A lot of people have their minds on goals and on fitness this time of year, myself included. I've come a long way, but I'm still not where I want to be, and I'm still working slowly toward getting there.

I hope -- if you're trying to get healthier, if fitness is a goal you've set for yourself this year -- I hope you'll see each small change as a huge success. Because it is. Each time you change something small, it prepares you for the next change.

And you know what? You should be investing in yourself. Because you are wonderful and amazing and deserve to be the best you. 

And because, even if each change you make seems miniscule -- when they all add up, who knows where you'll be one year from now?


I'm sending lots of love and positive vibes to everyone with a goal -- fitness related and otherwise -- this January. May you all feel encouraged, may you beat the bad days, may you find ways to make the small changes that turn into big changes.



Tristan Schlegel said...

Love this! I've been working out consistently 6 days a week for 5 years. When you make that first move to want to be healthier and you stick with it, it feels so great.

I'm not great at comparing myself to others either. One summer, I lost 30 whole pounds. It felt awesome, but I've been stuck at this same weight since that summer. And I'm still not where I want to be! It's hard to be consistently doing something and not getting quite what you want at it. But keep going! Isn't running in the snow the coolest! I don't know if you've tried this yet, but in the summer, wake up before the sun, and run towards it. Running with the sunrise is one of my favorite things ever! :) Good job, girl!

Genna said...

I haven't been following you for a year, but the months I have been your story has been really inspiring. I'm in the midst of wrestling with myself on how best to get in shape and stories like yours really help me. Have a good weekend :)

Holly said...

This post is SO wonderful!! And it's so true. You shouldn't focus solely on numbers. I have tried countless times to lose weight and it just doesn't seem to work as well for me as others. But I started the Couch to 5K last year and ran 6 races by the end of the year because of it--I had never run more than a half a mile in my LIFE before that, so it was a major accomplishment! And this year I am training for a half marathon. Things like that, events to work towards, that's what makes working out and getting fit worth it :) Congrats on keeping up with your small changes, they are going to be HUGE soon!

Suze said...

This is really inspirational! I have been feeling kind of defeated, but look what a difference a year makes. Thank you.

Melissa (Freeing Imperfections) said...

Amen, sista! Oh, Abbey, this is such honesty right from your heart. THIS is the kind of honesty I'm sure you've been dying to write. Love it!

I can relate to you in so many ways. I am hard on myself more often than not. I bash myself for not being really in shape and super-super fit. But we always have to remember that we can't compare our beginning to someone else's middle or end. Yes, there will ALWAYS be someone more fit and more successful than you. And yes, that makes me angry at times too. It's so terribly hard not to compare, especially when half the blogs out there are about out successes.

I'm really glad to see you happy about your success, no matter how "small" we may make it out to be. YOU can see your progress and that's all that matters.

I also applaud you for your run in the snow. Isn't it a great feeling - running just because you can and you WANT to? I ran in the snow the other day and I felt SO empowered. It's like saying, "I know I don't have to do this, but I'm going to because I'm capable and willing." Ah, that's accomplishment right there.

okay, well, I hope you enjoyed my book of a comment. But really - I LOVE this post.

Jordan said...

Loved reading this so much! Looking forward to your posts on training, workout attire,and YES - share the playlist! Thanks for the inspiration.

Melissa said...

Love this post! Awesome that you stuck w/ it! I get so annoyed by people's posts about losing weight really fast - first of all, it might start off that way for some but then it slows, which is good & normal. Secondly, it's not good to lose weight so rapidly! I cut sweets/bad carbs/starches for 34 days straight (started over again Jan 2 LOL) & another girl did the same & lost 7 pounds her first WEEK. I lost 5 pounds in the 34 days doing the exact same thing. I've never lost it fast. I also hate when people post they lost "ONLY" 2 pounds in a week - um - that is an excellent rate of weightloss, actually! Haha. ;)

Anyway, way to go!

Kate said...

Looove this. And I think YOU are wonderful and amazing and deserve the best too. :)

This post just put me in such a good mood.

Sassy Ms Ginger said...

Way to kick ass lady! I am from South Dakota, and love to run in generally inclement conditions :) Running in the rain is another favorite. I really am trying to keep walking despite baby adding 3 minutes to my mile time hehe. Happy New Year!

Katie said...

Girl this is inspiring! YOU are inspiring! I'm so glad to be following along with your journey and I'm so glad to be able to call you a friend.

Amanda said...

Eeeek! I looove this post. I love to hear you say that you started out small just by walking and now you've come so far. I love that you aren't focusing so much on numbers and pounds, but on progress. As women we can get sooo caught up in our bodies but you have such a healthy perspective! that seriously is so inspiring for me. I'm trying to lose weight but the guy friends I have in Asia are athletes and I find it super intimidating. But this post makes me feel confident to start at exactly where I am! Thanks for sharing this! This is why I started blogging- to make connections with people in America and feel inspired!

Shauna said...

What a fun idea! I think I'm going to copy this idea!

Sara said...

This is awesome! Seriously girl, so freaking inspiring. I totally want to step out of my comfort zone and do this for myself. I can't wait to read more about this. You're awesome!

Katie said...

AMEN to being bummed about other people losing weight. I'm the same way. I'm even worse when they don't do it in a healthy way. I literally know 7 people who recently got weight loss surgery and are dropping the pounds like it's nobody's business. And then they complain about not being able to eat enough. Maybe I'm a bad person, but THAT basically makes me go crazy. I've worked my ass off for 3 years to lose weight the healthy way and they bitch and moan about how they "can't possibly eat 500 calories a day". Bite me. Anyways.

...end rant. :)


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