Monday, July 6, 2015

Do numbers really matter?

After training for the marathon last year, I realized that endurance training was my cause for weight gain. It could have been muscle or fat but whatever it was, the scale was tipping a higher number after the race than it was before I embarked on my 26.2 journey.

Today I received a scale from iHealth and decided to give it a whirl. I've definitely put on weight since last year, but what does that really mean and does it matter?

From the day I began recording metrics in 2013 until now I've lost a total of 31.2 pounds. I had already been running for about 4 months at that point so my guess is that my starting weight was at least an additional 10 pounds heavier. So for the last year my total weight loss has fluctuated between 40-55 pounds. Sounds impressive even though sometimes I may forget and its still weird for me to go back and look at old pictures of myself. THAT was the body that got me here. THAT was the person who had the courage to try something new and learn to love running/triathlon. THAT was the place where my journey began.

So back to the numbers, there are so many to consider and at the end of the day how do we decide what matters most? Yes, the pounds lost is nice but that is only one measure of success. I'd like to think that dress size might be another indicator but the truth is that for me it hasn't changed dramatically (1-2 dress sizes smaller depending on the brand/fit). What about inches lost? 2" in the waist, 4" in the hips, 4" in the chest, 3" from each arm. All gone. We may not see it in the day to day. The changes are gradual, but they're there.

Those still aren't the numbers that really matter to me. When I started running it wasn't to reach a certain weight, it wasn't to fit into a particular size, and I certainly wasn't giving myself a goal as to how many inches should be shed from different parts of my body. I wanted to be stronger. I wanted to be healthier. I wanted to prove to myself that I was capable of more than I had imagined. And so, these are the numbers that truly matter to me:

100+: the number of races I have completed
40: the number of bike miles I've ridden in one day
26: the number of minutes I was able to knock off of my Olympic triathlon distance time
18: the number of minutes I have cut from my 5k time since my very first race in 2012
14: the number of minutes I shaved off of my Sprint triathlon time from 2 months ago until now
12: the number of consecutive months I promised myself I would run after I completed my first 5k
3: the number of triathlons I've done in one weekend
2: the number of full marathons I've already completed and also the number of marathons I will complete this fall
1: I only have one body and I've dedicated myself to making it the best version of itself possible

Is it a little bit disheartening to look at a BMI chart and see that my weight puts me into the "obese" category? Yeah. Is it a victory that I'm no longer considered "extremely obese"? Perhaps. Will I ever get to the "normal weight" range? Probably not. But like I said, weight is only one indicator and I refuse to let THAT number define me.

1 comment:

  1. Well, numbers do matter, but what matters most is whether you loved what you did or not. Life is short, and we have to make the most out of it.