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Progress, not perfection

So how am I going to measure my progress as I move forward in the current pursuit of health and wellness? (Oh, okay, and weight loss.) Well, this is the hard part.

The bathroom scale provides information, but all too often the number I see is all tied up with judgment and guilt and shame. Sometimes the number is 'good,' and I feel like I deserve a reward. Sometimes it's 'bad,' and I feel like giving up. In either case – good or bad – I go off the rails. This is not, of course, the fault of the bathroom scale. It's completely my attitude upon seeing that number.

Knowing what I know about my relationship with it, then, I clearly need to find a different way to measure progress. At the same time, I'd like to know what that number is. But only occasionally. (Okay, I'd really like to know what it is two or three times a day. But that's counterintuitive to the process.)

So here's the deal: I'm going to weigh myself on the 25th of each month. I weighed myself Christmas Day and right that minute started figuring out what my plan was going to be, in spite of Christmas dinner. I began tracking my food and exercise on the 26th. My daily goals are pretty simple:


  • 1598 calories/day (according to LoseIt! I should lose a pound a week at this level. I'd originally thought to keep calories at 1500, but I'm going to try 1600-ish the first month)
  • Limit (but don't eliminate) sugar. I can't knock it out completely, but I can save it for Mondays (see below)
  • Drink more water. I don't know if the old rule of six to eight glasses a day is still necessary, but I get way less than that. And, like chicken soup in a car wreck, it can't hurt. Right?


  • Monday - Free day (no intentional exercise, eat whatever, don't log anything)
  • Tuesday - Walk outdoors or elliptical, yoga
  • Wednesday - Walk outdoors or elliptical, dumbbells
  • Thursday - Walk outdoors or elliptical
  • Friday - Walk outdoors or elliptical, yoga
  • Saturday - Walk outdoors or elliptical, dumbbells
  • Sunday - Walk outdoors or elliptical

I will measure my progress between weigh-ins by noting whether I've completed each day successfully or not. Have I eaten at or below 1600-ish calories? Have I done the workout(s) I said I would do?

So far, so good. The dumbbell and yoga workouts have been short and sweet. I have an all-or-nothing personality, and am deliberately taking this slowly so I don't burn out. I also have NO desire to end up sweating for two hours a day, as I did 20 years ago. (I'm also, um, 20 years older than I was then, and it's, um, harder to sweat for two hours a day.)

With the 25th of the month being weigh-in day, I'll be weighing myself on my birthday when May rolls around. Already I'm thinking I'll be 20 pounds lighter by then. And already I'm wishing it would be 30 or 40 or even 50. Ten pounds a month, that's possible, isn't it?

See what happens when I start projecting into the future? That's why ODAAT is So. Damned. Important. And why perfection is so over-rated.


Diandra said…
Sounds like a good approach. Instead of concentrating on numbers, I try to concentrate on whether the things I eat are good for my body and whether I got my daily exercise, enough sleep and water. Once that is established, I will try to figure out what to do next.

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