Before I get into the nitty gritty of the session I spoke at, I need to give a big shout out to Tina. In person, she is just as sweet and authentic as she is on her blog, and she also has some pretty stellar organizational skills. She did an incredible job putting together our presentation, and putting together a group of people – me, Janetha, and Lisa – with completely different perspectives on numbers and how we use them to reach our goals. (Can you tell I like this girl?) Moving along…
The Numbers Game
Numbers are and always have been really important to me throughout my healthiness journey. Because my main goal was to lose weight, I used numbers to track my weight on the scale and to track my food (PointsPlus). As I moved along, I started using numbers to track miles for training, and now that my goal is weight maintenance, I still use the scale and count points most of the time.
As I talked about in a previous post, I’ve worked hard on changing my mentality so that I no longer look at counting points as something standing in the way of me being a “normal” person. Weighing myself weekly/monthly (and sometimes daily) does not make me crazy (any crazier than normal, anyway) and it helps me stay in check and be able to respond when things get out of control.
Tina, Janeetha, and Lisa all use numbers in different ways than I do, but you’ll have to check out their blogs to find out just how they use them to their benefit.
I think there were a few important key points in our presentation. The first is that everyone’s journey is unique and there is no magic formula to what the “right way” to use numbers is. Through experimenting and trying things that work and don’t work, we all find our own ways to use numbers based on what works specifically for us. Just because the scale works for me does not mean that everyone should weigh themselves weekly/monthly, because some people attach too much emotion to the scale and don’t benefit from using it like I do.
The second big takeaway is that it’s really important to be flexible in the way that we use numbers. Just because something worked for me last week or last month or even yesterday doesn’t mean it’s going to work right now. I use the scale as a way to check in on an almost daily basis, and when the number is above where I need/want it to be, I go back to counting points pretty strictly until I’m back at a number I’m comfortable with. This changes from day to day and week to week, and you know, I’m finally OK with it.
The final, and perhaps biggest takeaway, is that you have to set goals based on you and where you are now, and not what other people are doing. Let me leave you with this little (true) story that I told during the presentation that helped me put it all in perspective.
The day before my first half marathon, I was at work and actually feeling pretty excited about the race. I g-chatted my friend Sydney it went something like this:
- Me: Eee! I’m so excited! I can’t believe it’s tomorrow.
- Sydney: Wow! I can’t believe you’re running a marathon.
- Me: It’s not a FULL marathon, it’s just a half.
- Sydney: But still! What are you doing today?
- Me: Umm.. working? What do you mean?
- Sydney: I don’t know how one prepares for these things. I thought you might be home.
- Me: Doing what?
- Sydney: Resting your legs?
As bloggers and readers in the healthy living community, its so easy to get swept up in what everyone else is doing and downplay our own accomplishments because someone else is doing more. But here’s the thing – everyone starts somewhere, and inevitably, someone will ALWAYS be doing more than me.
What about you? What kinds of numbers do you use to reach your goals? Have you found something that really works or doesn’t work for you? Do you have trouble with comparing yourself to others?
PS: An update on the Washingtonian – apparently the 20th wasn’t correct! It will arrive at Washingtonian offices on Wednesday, be on newstands on Thursday and should be at all stores by Friday. Eee!! So soon! It’s going to be SO weird to see myself in print…