Thinking Out Loud #14: Progress

Thinking-Out-Loud2

Time for thinking out loud!

If you follow me on tumblr then you know I did a Spring Cleaning Clean Eating Challenge for this month, where I was only allowed 2 total treats and basically cut out all processed foods.

clean eating challenge Spring Cleaning Goals

Well, I am in the final week now. This past week, though, was tough for me emotionally.

First, I have been lifting since I got to college, so about 3 years now and I haven’t seen a lot of progress. Most of that is due to a poor diet and not challenging myself enough because I’m afraid of dropping the weights on my head, but I assumed that after 3 years I would see at least a little more progress than I see now.

Second, some people I know have been talking about their progress and I’m over here like, “I go to the gym every day. I cut out all junk food. Why are my abs not popping?”

Third, I pulled a muscle in my shoulder last Friday and it was still hurting on Monday, so I went to the clinic where both the nurse and the doctor repeatedly told me that I did not need to be lifting. “It’s great you’re lifting weights and want to be strong,” he kept saying, “but you don’t need to be lifting anything more than 8-10 pounds. Something you can do an easy 20 reps with.” He said that at least 3 times before I left. Yeah, right.

So I was feeling kind terrible. My progress photos essentially look the same to me.

August, 2014

August, 2014

April 1, 2015

April 1, 2015 

Realistically I know I’ve lost about 7-8 pounds since August, so there is a small difference.

But also, I can run a lot more now. When the weather is nice I can run at least 5 miles outside. I can choreograph songs for Zumba. I can dance better. I can lift a little bit more. My quads and biceps are popping and more cut now than they were in August, and definitely more than they were a year ago. I’m also pretty sure I’ve lost at least 4% body fat. I’m not an expert with the calipers, but I come pretty close.

It’s important to step back when you’re feeling down and look at how far you’ve come. Not only can I run more and lift more, but I am also eating better. I can get 7-8 hours of sleep and function fine now, whereas before I needed 9-10 because I was eating so poorly my body wasn’t getting the nourishment it needed to function properly. I can eat unsweetened applesauce and taste it’s natural sweetness. Wheat bread tastes like cake now because I’ve cut out almost all added and processed sugars.

I actually had a peanut butter pie for a treat last week and didn’t really like it. There was too much sugar. It was weird. It tasted like nothing.

I may not have a six pack, but I have a body that is constantly working hard and improving. And I have made physical progress. I have more quad and calf and bicep definition. It actually looks like I have muscles in my arms now.

Physical progress is slow, especially once your body is at a good weight. When you have a lot to lose it drops off quickly, but gets harder the less you have to lose.

The next time you’re worried you haven’t made any progress, take a step back, because you’ve probably made more than you realize.

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