12.31.2010

The Year in Review

Here we are at the end of another year. I barely get used to writing 2010, and now it's 2011. It is at this time of the year where people assess what went well, what didn't, and what changes might or should be made for the "new" year. Resolutions are made (to be broken) and the cycle continues. I am not immune to the reflection and earlier today when I was logging recent workouts online I decided to see where exactly I was a year ago.

Frankly, I was initially disappointed. The total poundage lost for 2010 was a mere 25 pounds. I was astounded. A full year of work, and that is all I have to show for it? Yes, I'm down at least two sizes and am in significantly better shape, but only 25 pounds?

So I went through 2010 month-by-month, looking at the workouts that I've logged and realized it hasn't really, truly been a year of work. I started off great -- typical January, no? Then February hit, and I went back to work at the IRS. Which meant I was working nights, and I continued to, at least a couple times a week, substitute teach during the day. The schedule was brutal on my body and something had to give. That ended up being regular workouts of any significance, and my eating also wasn't as good as it could have been. The fact that I only gained about 5 or so pounds between mid-February and July was amazing, because not only was I working like a fool but I also had quite a bit of travel during that period. I always put on weight when I travel and sing -- I think it is all the eating out.

So, take away 5 months from the period where I was really working to lose weight. 25 pounds in 7 months? Ok. Still not spectacular, but not horrid, either.

The period of mid-November to the end of the year also didn't really see any weight loss, unless you count the weight gained and lost during "that time of the month." But it was the holidays. Food -- good food -- and sweets abounded. I baked for Christmas gifts, made chocolate-covered pretzels, went to parties and gatherings. I kept my weight stable during a time when the "average" person usually gains 5-10. That is an accomplishment in itself that I have to give myself credit for.

Now we're up to basically 6.5 months where weight loss wasn't practical, if I'm going to be honest with myself. Which means I lost 25 pounds in 5.5 months. That I can deal with more easily!

Also in reviewing my year in workouts, I noted it wasn't until July when I started changing things up. Experts say that can be key to encouraging continued weight loss, that too much of the same workout causes your body to become accustomed to the exertion and the exercise becomes less effective. That is why many folks see a decrease in weight lost after the same workout regimen over the period of several months. In July I added Zumba classes to my regimen, and a few weeks later, weights. This changed up the regular elliptical workouts, and forced my body to exert itself in new ways.

Which brings me to another important point. Muscle weighs more than fat. I know I have gained muscle tone and mass while losing fat. That will make the scale tell a tale that might not be completely accurate.

Prior to these reflections today, I'd already made the decision I was going to do something "new" in 2011: take regular measurements. I'm going to set up an Excel spreadsheet with key measurements, and the first Saturday of every month (isn't it handy that January 1 is a Saturday?) I'm going to take these measurements and record them. This way, even if the scale isn't dropping as much or as quickly as I might like it to, I can see that my body is indeed changing and improving.

And hopefully this time next year, my reflections will be more impressive. :-)

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