Tuesday, March 08, 2011

How Do You Measure Success?

As a writer, I would have quit long ago if I had measured success by publication. Instead I measured it (most of the time) as having finished a new story, having submitted, receiving requests and/or feedback. I measured it in counting the number of manuscripts I had written. There were many things to celebrate beyond selling. Good thing.

In December I decided enough was enough and I began a new battle - with Writer's Butt. I have always struggled with weight, and several years ago I lost some weight and kept it off for the better part of three years. But then it came back - and I added 30 more.

It's been a positive change since December, but if I left the success of it solely to the results on the scale I'd probably be very frustrated by now. I am down almost 14 lbs since then, but only 2 of those pounds have been in the last month. I plateau a lot. I go down, but then fluctuate up. Stepping on the scale keeps me accountable. It is a reminder each and every day to be diligent. To not miss a workout, to pause before I succumb to an extra helping. But it is not my only measurement of success and I think that is why I'm able to remain determined and motivated.

The other yardstick is fitness level. I like sports. Problem is being active without really watching the food doesn't work to take off the pounds. Anyway I have enjoyed our workout program - we are Power 90 (Tony Horton) converts with an eye to trying the P90X next. We're in the last phases of that program which means everything has kicked up a notch. Since starting the program my hip pain that plagued me daily is gone. I have more energy. My posture is better. I know I'm getting stronger because when we started Phase 3-4 I couldn't do a single decline pushup. Our last sculpt workout I did 8. I couldn't do ANY straight leg dips (I'd been bending my legs through phase 1-2) and now I can do a half dozen before switching. But the real evidence happened last night.

Our schedule went hinky which meant our regular workout time evaporated. While I was cleaning up the kitchen my husband hit the treadmill. I wasn't going to. I didn't have a spare moment until 8:30 when the kids went to bed - and I hate working out late. But I thought no, I'm not going to miss a day. So I changed and went down to the treadmill for a walk/run.

And I did something I haven't done for years. I ran. And not just running intervals, taking walk breaks. I warmed up for 3 min, ran for 20 straight, and cooled down for 2 more before stretching.

I will admit, I cried. I had no idea my fitness level had improved that much. Only weeks ago, running 2 minutes before going to a walk was a challenge.

Lately my scale hasn't been moving very quickly. But that doesn't mean my health hasn't improved. It clearly has, and that's really, really important. Because that is what will keep me going when the scale refuses to budge. 


  1. I share your struggles, Donna. Our work as writers is very sedentary, and I won't deny it. I love junk food.

    Great to hear your workouts are paying off! I am trying to get back on the treadmill as well, after a very slow winter with a sore knee that kept me from doing much. I hope it doesn't flare up again.

  2. Heidi Hamburg10:13 a.m.

    Running wenty minutes straight and no hip pain- you are SO ready for spring!

  3. Inspiring! I can't imagine working out at night but to be honest, what did I do after 8:30 last night? Nothing I couldn't have missed, that's for sure!

  4. Lori - our usual workout time is 4:30 - right after dh gets home and before dinner. I don't like working out at night either, but it's better than not working out at all. :-)